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Sikh Battle Standards at Lichfield Cathedral


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Waheguru ji ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh !!

Sikh Battle Standards at Lichfield Cathedral

I recently went to Lichfield Cathedral (Staffordshire UK) to see the Sikh Battle Standards captured by the British during the Anglo Sikh Wars.

I thought I would share some of the pictures I took with the Cyber Sangat .

Lichfield Cathedral was dedicated in AD 700 to house the remains of St. Chad , the site is a pilgrimage centre as it is the site of martyrdoms during the Roman period.

The present sandstone building was built in 1195. The cathedral is the only English medieval cathedral with 3 spires and is an amazing building.

The cathedral houses the battle standards and memorials of the Staffordshire Regiment. It has a dedicated monument to the Anglo - Sikh Wars, Sikh Battle Standards captured during the Battle of Ferozepur on 21st December 1845 are displayed here.

The inscriptions on this monument read:

‘The Sikh colours on this memorial were taken by H.M.’s 80th Regiment at the Battles of Ferozeshah and Sobraon. The capture of the Black Standard at Ferozeshah cost the lives of some of those commemorated.’

‘To the memory of the brave officers and men of the 80th Regiment of foot soldiers and Staffordshire volunteers who fell during the Sutlej campaign of 1845 and 1847 by their surviving comrades’

‘To the memory of the brave officers and men of the 80th Regiment of foot or Staffordshire volunteers whose names are recorded on this tablet and who fell in the actions of Moodkee, Buddewal, Allewal, Feerozshah and Sobraon including those who subsequently died from the effects of their wounds when serving with the army of the Sutlej in India.’

The monument has three battle standards - all 3 are of triangular shape , the flag pole or staff is in the form of a spear and about 6 foot high, this would indicate that the standard was meant to be held not planted in the ground. The standards are about 7 foot long , they are 'battle scarred' and are not in very good condition.

Two of the standards are of Red silk with green floral borders , they are topped with a spear and have a tassle and ribbons draped from the top .

In this picture you can see an example of the same type of standard from the collection of Lord Dalhousie - you can see the floral patterns and the 'Sun-Burst' motif on one and a 'Durga' figure on the other.

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The central standard on the monument is an Akaali standard, it is of a Black (perhaps Blue/Black) colour with a border that appears to have a yellow tinge. It also has a spear head with a tassle and long ribbons around the top draping down - like the blue 'Dastar' on a modern Kesri Nishan Sahibs. The material felt like fine silk - like a silk dupatta. The monument makes reference to the hard fighting needed to capture this standard.

The memorial remembers the English dead - no mention is made of the Sikh dead --- The monument is quite sad from a Sikh perspective as it marks the end of Sikh Raj in Punjab -- it was quite a poignant moment thinking of all those brave Sikhs who fought to save those standards -- however my wife said something which lifted the mood - she said despite the fact the Standards are captured - they are still standing aloft in a Christian Cathedral - little did those 19th century soldiers know that the Black country would become a centre for Punjabi migration and that Nishan Sahibs would be flying proud on the streets of Walsall,Wolverhampton, Smethwick and all over the Black Country ! something to think about.

The day we visited Lichfield was a typical midlands/Black country day - rainy and dark so some of the pictures are dark, also it was very dark in the Cathedral - plus I'm no David Bailey when it comes to taking pictures !

Here are the Pictures ;

Lichfield Cathedral

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The Anglo Sikh Monument

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The Standards

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The Akali Standard

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This detail from a lithograph of Solykoff's picture of Maharaja Sher Singh shows the Standard with the 'Durga' figure

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This painting by John Dunlop shows the capture of Sikh Standards at Multan 1849

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The cathedral houses the priceless St Chad Gospels - among the oldest books in the world - they were scribed by a monk from Lindisfarne - on vellum (calf skin ) in AD 730 - it contains the gospels of Matthew,Mark and part of Luke in Latin. It is kept in a special temperature controlled display case - perhaps the SGPC could take note !

Chad Gospels - ( St Matthew - 25/6 - 25/22 - Keep Awake ! - Parable of the Talents - " nocte clamor factus est ecce sponsus venit exite obiam ei ..." )

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Icon of St Chad

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Interior of the Cathedral

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Hope you enjoyed the pictures !

Gurfateh !

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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That is not the actual flag! The real flag was auctioned off on ebay! That is a fake made by the Manchester United! That is why it is red and has weird drawings on it. I was there when they made it right infront of me but I was too busy being quiet and acting like James Bond 007. Now that this has surfaced on the internet I decided to break the silence and come forth with my true and hard (to believe) facts.

Go Chelsea!

Fateh Singh

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