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British Army News Release

Army Press Office West Midlands


HQ 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade
Room 2, Ground Floor,
Venning Barracks, Donnington, Shropshire, TF2 8LF
Telephone: 01952 673693
Email: ArmyEandC-AMC-CE-Wales-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk

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Date: 29 Nov 2018


Reference: WESTMIDS 28/18 Ref
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ARMY IN WEST MIDLANDS JOINS FORCES WITH SIKH COMMUNITY

The Commander of the Army in the West Midlands met with leaders of the Sikh community in

Smethwick yesterday (28 November) where they put pen to paper to sign the Armed Forces

Covenant, formally recognising the strong ties between the Sikh community and the Armed

Forces.

Brigadier Richard Carter, Commander HQ 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade, said:

“A diverse military is a strong military which is why we’re committed to making sure the Army in

the West Midlands better represents the society we serve. This Covenant signing is yet another

demonstration of this.

“Sikhs have a rich history with the Army, from their unsurpassed courage at the Battle of

Saragarhi over 120 years ago, to the hundreds of thousands of Sikhs who fought for Britain

during the First and Second World Wars as symbolised by the wonderful Lions of the Great War

statue in Smethwick. We look forward to working with Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick to

ensure that tradition continues.”

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170 Sikhs currently serve in the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force, with many more

around the UK serving as Reservists. The British Sikh report published last year found that 69%

of Sikhs would support their child taking a career to defend the nation.

Jatinder Singh, President of Guru Nanak Gurdwara (GNG) Smethwick, said:

"Guru Nanak Gurdwara is embarking on an ambitious vision that we hope will set us aside as a
flagship centre for inspirational community projects and innovate partnerships.

“This vision is fuelled by our desire to create a learning environment for Sikh generations in Uk to
become strong role models for supporting their community and wider society and through the
message advocated by our Gurus perform social action with humility that benefits all mankind.

“This partnership through the Armed Forces Covenant shows our clear commitment to building
relationships between our community and military personnel with their families as well as creating
opportunities for the military to understand more about the Sikh way of life so it can better impart
cultural knowledge to its personnel. The WW1 Sikh statue is one such example of this.

“We also look forward to exploring through our ambitious youth leadership programme, how we
better equip future generations of British Sikhs to serve their community and nation. And
subsequently provide opportunities for members of our congregation to find out more about
training and career opportunities in a wide variety of careers including the uniformed services.”

Captain J Singh-Sohal, a member of the GNG Smethwick's Education Board and an Army
Reservist said:

"It's so important that institutions such as our Gurdwaras engage with their Armed Forces and
create a better working relationship with one another. By signing the Armed Forces Covenant,
GNG Smethwick is committing to a strategic partnership that will provide character and
leadership development opportunities for Sikhs in the West Midlands while also educating those
who serve about our faith and practices. It codifies and gives direction to a community already
committed to serving our country, and I hope many more faith-based organisations will follow this
lead to develop pledges in support of co-operation between the wider military community and
those it works to protect."
ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Please see attached photos showing Brigadier Richard Carter, Commander HQ 11th
Signal & West Midlands Brigade, signing the Armed Forces Covenant with the President
of the Gurdwara, Mr Jatinder Singh from GNG Smethwick.

1. The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment from the nation, enshrined in law, that those
who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged due to
their service.

2. Over 1,500 businesses and organisations across the UK have already signed, making practical
pledges that have made a difference across the Armed Forces community.

3. This signing of the Armed Forces Covenant is a demonstration of the commitment to ensuring
a more diverse force. The MOD is aiming to make sure 10% of recruits come from Black,
Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds by 2020 and is making progress with BAME
personnel currently making up nearly 6% of new recruits.

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