Groundwork has begun on a monument in Wolverhampton commemorating 21 Sikh soldiers who died during one of 'the greatest last stands in history.'
The statue, which is being made by Black Country sculptor Luke Perry, will be unveiled near the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Wednesfield in September.
It commemorates the Battle of Saragarhi, which was fought in an area of what is now Pakistan, back in 1894. The conflict saw 21 soldiers from the 36th Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army defend an outpost in Saragarhi which was surrounded and attacked by tribesmen.
The 21 soldiers inside the outpost chose to fight to the death rather than surrender.
Another man, believed to be a Muslim cook who was not enrolled as a solider, also died after choosing to join the battle to defend the outpost.
Saragarhi Day is now commemorated by the Indian Army's 4th battalion of the Sikh regiment every year on September 12th - the same date the statue is due to be unveiled in Wednesfield.
Councillor Bhupinder Singh Gakhal, City of Wolverhampton Council
The statue was commissioned by Guru Nanak Gurdwara, whose members have been fundraising for the monument. The City of Wolverhampton Council also contributed £35,000 towards the memorial, after agreeing to transfer land to the Gurdwara on a 99-year lease.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “I am delighted that the council is able to support this incredible monument to the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the British Indian Army."
Sculptor Luke said he believed the statue, which will stand on a six-foot plinth and have a large metal plate depicting the hills around Saragarhi behind it, could be the best he has ever made.