The 75th Anniversary of VE day on 8 May 2020 is about remembering the huge sacrifices made by ALL nationalities and faiths who bravely went to war, bringing peace and hope to us all and of course to those who still serve today.
The commemorations this week for the WW2 generation and also those in recent years in recognising WW1 has inspired me and my family to look into our history and that of the Sikh community, where I come from.
Inspired by history
My journey began with a visit to the SOAS' Brunei Gallery to see its Empire, Faith and War: The Sikhs and World War One exhibition in 2014.
Where I discovered that while the Sikh community was 1% of the British Indian population, it made up 20% of the British Empire’s Indian Army. I also got to see the first Sikh Victoria Cross from April 1921.
WW2 and the plaque on the wall
Talking through our family history after the visit, we discovered an old photo of those who served in WWII. Its details state 382.sec. B. Wing I. T. B / K.G.Vs. I. B. S & M / ROORKEE and it was taken on 17 May 1941. But due to picture's condition, it has been difficult to identify members of our family.
Further research has since revealed recollections from our Grandfather, who reported having sadly lost two brothers in the WW2 and we're continuing our research to find out who they were.
Sergeant Lakhvinder Singh Ubhi
Our conversations and research led us to learn more about the life and more recent military service of my Uncle, Sergeant Lakhvinder Singh Ubhi.
Lakhvinder Singh Ubhi was born in 1955 in a village called Nakuru in Kenya. When he was just 11, his father moved his family to London. Lakhvinder joined the British army aged 19 and quickly progressed to Sergeant. He also became an army physical fitness trainer.
Lakhvinder was a fearless and ambitious climber, and sadly lost his life during an expedition in 1990, leaving behind a wife and two daughters. His memory will also be in my family's thoughts on VE Day as we pay tribute to those who've dedicated their lives to military service.
We may never find out whether our Grandfather's brothers served and died in WW2, but as a family we are proud of our Uncle, Father & Husband Sergeant Lakhvinder Singh Ubhi who served in the British Army from 1975 to 1990 and those like him who continue the service of the Sikhs in the British Army.
With thanks to Karen Ubhi (Lakhvinder Singh Ubhi) & Herjoyt Ubhi for sharing their story.