150 Years and countingDate: Saturday, 03 June, 2006
Earlier this year, the bagpipes were playing, drums were beating, and the elders of a Scots clan gathered well into the small hours. It could have been a scene set anywhere in the land of the brave but it wasn‘t. Instead of the rolling hills and soaring mountains of the Scottish highlands the setting was the biggest military cantonment in Asia situated in Bhatinda in the Punjab.
The drums and pipes were of the 3rd battalion of the Sikh regiment marking 150 years of the founding of the legendary Rattray‘s Sikhs. No fewer than 17 descendants of the founder of the battalion, Captain Thomas Rattray, travelled from Britain to take part in the celebrations, whilst the Sikh Brigades Association was represented by ASHT Director, Harbinder Singh with MDSCT Trustee, Saranjit Singh.
With the distinct chequered tartan frontispiece worn over the turbans the Rattrays Sikhs have a unique and distinct identity of their own. Having first seen action during the Mutiny of 1857, the battalion served throughout the World Wars and even today remain a front line infantry battalion of the Indian Army. The history of the Rattray Sikhs will be the subject of the Trust’s 6th ‘Portraits of Courage Lecture’ at the Imperial War Museum on 20th September 2006.