The Battle of Saragarhi was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September 1897 between Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army and Pashtun Orakzai tribesmen. It occurred in the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). The British Indian contingent comprised 21 Sikh soldiers of the 36th Sikhs (now the 4th battalion of the Sikh Regiment), who were stationed at an army post and were attacked by around 10,000 Afghans. The Sikhs, led by Havildar Ishar Singh, chose to fight to the death, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history’s greatest last-stands. The post was recaptured two days later by another British Indian contingent. Sikh military personnel commemorate the battle every year on 12 September, as Saragarhi Day. Saragarhi was a small village in the border district of Kohat, situated on the Samana Range, in present-day Pakistan. On 20 April 1894, the 36th Sikhs of the British Indian Army was created, under the command of Colonel J. Cook. In August 1897, five companies of the 36th Sikhs under Lieutenant Colonel John Haughton were sent to the northwest frontier of British India (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and were stationed at Samana Hills, Kurag, Sangar, Sahtop Dhar and Saragarhi. The British had partially succeeded in getting control of this volatile area, but tribal Pashtuns continued to attack British personnel from time to time. Thus a series of forts, originally built by Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the Sikh Empire, were consolidated. Two of the forts were Fort Lockhart (on the Samana Range of the Hindu Kush mountains), and Fort Gulistan (Sulaiman Range), situated a few miles apart. Fort Lockhart is located at 33.5562N 70.91877E. Due to the forts not being visible to each other, Saragarhi was created midway, as a heliographic communication post. The Saragarhi post, situated on a rocky ridge, consisted of a small block house with loop-holed ramparts and a signalling tower. A general uprising by the Afghans began there in 1897, and between 27 August and 11 September many vigorous efforts by Pashtuns to capture the forts were thwarted by the 36th Sikhs. In 1897, insurgent and inimical activities had increased, and on 3 and 9 September Afridi tribesmen, allied with the Afghans, attacked Fort Gulistan. Both the attacks were repulsed, and a relief column from Fort Lockhart, on its return trip, reinforced the signalling detachment positioned at Saragarhi, increasing its strength to three non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and eighteen other ranks.