First Sikh to guard the Queen

HIS beard and light blue turban may mean he stands out from the other soldiers on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace, but one Suffolk-based soldier says it is a “privilege” to be the first Sikh to have the honour.

Elliot Furniss

HIS beard and light blue turban may mean he stands out from the other soldiers on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace, but one Suffolk-based soldier says it is a “privilege” to be the first Sikh to have the honour.

Standing guard outside Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle is not an opportunity that comes along very often for soldiers outside the Guards of Household Division.

But Lance Corporal Sarvjit Singh of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham Airfield, leapt at the chance when it presented itself earlier this year.


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L-Cpl Singh, who was born in India but moved to the UK in 2000, is the first to wear his turban on public duties as he protects the Crown Jewels.

Along with fellow Sikh, Signaller Simranjit Singh of 21 Signal Regiment, the 28-year-old has made military history by parading outside the historic buildings over the past few weeks.

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Turbans, long hair and beards are considered a mandatory religious uniform for all Sikhs, according to the Rehat Maryada, the Sikh instruction for living.

And L-Cpl Singh, who serves in 3 Regiment Army Air Corps with his brother Ardash, is allowed to maintain his religious practices as he parades in his “blues” dress uniform.

He said that when he told his team mates at Battisford Cricket Club that he would be staying in London for the summer and would have to miss some matches, they had initially been disappointed but were soon filled with pride after learning of his groundbreaking honour.

He said: “It's a brilliant experience, especially for me to be the first Sikh to have the honour. People take pictures and put them on the internet and they say it's good to see a Sikh on parade and on Queen's guard. Without any hesitation I put my name forward.

“It's a privilege - history-making stuff. When I told my cricket club they were disappointed but when they knew I was the first (Sikh) to do this they were happy and told me to get some pictures.

“My family back in India are very proud of what I have done in coming from another country and establishing myself, especially my father.”

L-Cpl Singh, who has a degree in economics and political science, is engaged to his fianc�e Monika and the couple plan to marry on October 14 before he heads back out to Afghanistan in January, where he has previously spent six months.

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