A Sikh soldier today (June 9) becomes the first to wear a turban instead of a bearskin hat during the Trooping the Colour.
Guardsman, Charanpreet Singh Lall, 22, from Leicester, will march among 1,000 soldiers taking part in the ceremony to mark the Queen’s birthday.
His turban will be black to match his comrades’ headgear and will feature the Coldstream Guards’ ceremonial cap star.
Charanpreet’s proud parents and sister will be among the crowds lining Horse Guards Parade for the ceremony.
Gdsm Lall, who came to the UK from India as a boy, said, according to The Sun:
Being the first turban-wearing Sikh to troop the colour and be part of the escort is a high honour.
Lall, who joined up in 2016, continued:
I hope people will look on this as a change in history.
I hope more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, will be encouraged to join the Army.
As reported by the BBC, Charanpreet spoke of his honour to be taking part in the historic event:
I’m quite proud and I know that a lot of other people are proud of me as well.
For myself, being the first turban-wearing Sikh to troop the colour and to be part of the escort it is a really high honour for myself, and hopefully for everyone else as well.
My mum was crying on the day I passed out so I wonder what is going to happen to her when she sees me in this.
The Pioneer Sergeant has existed since the 1700s and the tradition began when every British infantry company had one ‘pioneer’ who would march in front of the regiment.
According to Forces Network, the pioneer sergeant also acted as the blacksmith for the unit, and as a result, he was allowed a beard to protect his face from the heat of the forge.
Nowadays, the Pioneer Sergeant is usually responsible for carpentry, joinery and similar types of work and in modern parades, will still wear traditional aprons and axes, in place of their bayonet.
As always though, there are exceptions to the rule – other Army personnel can sport a beard in certain circumstances.
Soldiers can grow a beard for medical reasons, for example in the case of a temporary skin irritation, or for religious reasons – in the Sikh religion it is prohibited to cut your hair.
Members of the Special Forces may also wear beards when behind enemy lines or on covert intelligence operations.
Trooping the Colour originated from the preparations for battle when colours, or flags, were carried, or ‘trooped’, down the ranks.
Also making history is a Guards veteran whose final Trooping the Colour parade marks the end of a four decade Army career.
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