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Capt Umrao Singh VC

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  • Ravi Chaudhary
    Capt Umrao Singh VC Last surviving Indian Victoria Cross holder Thursday, 24 November 2005 *
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 4, 2009
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      Capt Umrao Singh VC

      Last surviving Indian Victoria Cross holder

      Thursday, 24 November 2005

      •  

      Umrao Singh, soldier: born Paka, India 21 November 1920; VC 1945; married (two sons, one daughter); died Delhi 21 November 2005.

      Umrao Singh was the only non-commissioned officer from either the Royal Artillery or the Indian Artillery to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War. He won the award for single-handedly beating back repeated attacks by the Japanese in a crucial coastal sector in Burma, even engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. He was also the last surviving Indian VC holder.

      On 15/16 December 1944, Havildar (sergeant) Singh of 33 Mountain Battery - part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army - was a field gun detachment commander whose position in the strategically located Kaladan Valley in the thickly forested Arakan region came under sustained attack by the Japanese 28th Army's 75mm guns and mortars. After nearly two hours of punishing bombardment, Singh's position was attacked by two Japanese companies confident that most, if not all, opposition had been pulverised.

      Twice wounded by grenades during the first assault, Singh fought off the enemy with the detachment's Bren light-machine gun whilst directing his surviving crew-members' rifle fire with devastating effect. In the renewed Japanese assault, all but two of Singh's crew died, but they somehow managed to repulse the attack.

      When the third assault followed, Singh's dwindling reserves of small-arms ammunition was exhausted and all his comrades lay around him, dead or badly wounded. Singh met the Japanese onslaught head-on with nothing but a hand spike, a long steel rod used to thrust shells into artillery field guns.

      He fatally struck down three of the enemy before falling under a rain of blows. "They found him lying face down on the dead Japanese soldiers with his fingers still tightly clutched around the hand-spike", said Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who served with Singh during the Burma campaign. When the smoke cleared, 10 dead Japanese soldiers were found scattered around the prone Singh. Miraculously, after six hours of incessant fighting, the 24-year-old had managed to save his gun; it was pressed into action soon after and helped retain the critical sliver of territory, considerably delaying the Japanese advance further east into British-India.

      Singh's citation for the Victoria Cross, which he received from King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 15 October 1945, read: "Havildar Umrao Singh set a supreme example of gallantry and devotion to duty."

      Half a century later, Singh fought another equally vital, albeit less blood-spattered, battle when he complained to the British prime minister John Major at the 1995 VE Day celebrations at Hyde Park about the paltry pension of £168 annually paid to Indian VC holders. "I don't think the prime minister speaks Hindi, but when I talked to him he just said yes to everything," Singh said after their meeting.

      Subsequently, the British government raised to £1,300 the yearly pension for Singh and nine other surviving winners of the VC, an award that was barred for Indian soldiers until 1912. Thereafter, through the two world wars till independence in 1947, 40 Indian soldiers got the VC.

      Umrao Singh was born in 1920 into a poor farming family in Paka village in Rohtak district, some 50km north of Delhi. Like his Jat ancestors, who trace their lineage to Central Asia's warring tribes that migrated to northern India thousands of years ago, he was commissioned into the Royal Indian Artillery in the early 1940s.

      In 1942 Singh was promoted to havildar in the 33 Mountain Battery Brigade, which eventually became part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army poised for a right-flank offensive against Lt-Gen Sakurai Seizo's 28th Japanese Army along Burma's western coastline between the Irrawaddy river and the Bay of Bengal. The offensive that was launched down the Kaladan Valley on 12 December 1944 was met with fierce and unprecedented Japanese resistance with Singh's batteries facing the worst.

      After recovering from his injuries Singh was promoted to subadar or sergeant major and retired from the British Indian army in 1946. But after independence a year later, he signed up for duty once again before eventually retiring in 1965. He was made an honorary captain in 1970.

      Singh returned home to his village - where he was known as VC Sahib - to farm his small two-acre plot from which he eked out a bare living. A friend who knew about Singh's VC and his penury-ridden state suggested he sell his medal after one was auctioned in London for £20,000. An indignant Singh said selling his medal for money would "sully" the izzat (honour) of his fallen comrades.

      Kuldip Singh

    • Singh - Jat
      I salute him but sometimes feel that the Jat, Sikhs and others fought as mercenaries because they were fighting some one else s war.   ... From: Ravi
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 4, 2009
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        I salute him but sometimes feel that the Jat, Sikhs and others fought as mercenaries because they were fighting some one else's war.  

        --- On Wed, 2/4/09, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...> wrote:
        From: Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...>
        Subject: [JatHistory] Capt Umrao Singh VC
        To: JatHistory@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 10:59 PM

        Capt Umrao Singh VC

        Last surviving Indian Victoria Cross holder

        Thursday, 24 November 2005

        •  
        Umrao Singh, soldier: born Paka, India 21 November 1920; VC 1945; married (two sons, one daughter); died Delhi 21 November 2005.
        Umrao Singh was the only non-commissioned officer from either the Royal Artillery or the Indian Artillery to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War. He won the award for single-handedly beating back repeated attacks by the Japanese in a crucial coastal sector in Burma, even engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. He was also the last surviving Indian VC holder.
        On 15/16 December 1944, Havildar (sergeant) Singh of 33 Mountain Battery - part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army - was a field gun detachment commander whose position in the strategically located Kaladan Valley in the thickly forested Arakan region came under sustained attack by the Japanese 28th Army's 75mm guns and mortars. After nearly two hours of punishing bombardment, Singh's position was attacked by two Japanese companies confident that most, if not all, opposition had been pulverised.
        Twice wounded by grenades during the first assault, Singh fought off the enemy with the detachment's Bren light-machine gun whilst directing his surviving crew-members' rifle fire with devastating effect. In the renewed Japanese assault, all but two of Singh's crew died, but they somehow managed to repulse the attack.
        When the third assault followed, Singh's dwindling reserves of small-arms ammunition was exhausted and all his comrades lay around him, dead or badly wounded. Singh met the Japanese onslaught head-on with nothing but a hand spike, a long steel rod used to thrust shells into artillery field guns..
        He fatally struck down three of the enemy before falling under a rain of blows. "They found him lying face down on the dead Japanese soldiers with his fingers still tightly clutched around the hand-spike", said Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who served with Singh during the Burma campaign. When the smoke cleared, 10 dead Japanese soldiers were found scattered around the prone Singh. Miraculously, after six hours of incessant fighting, the 24-year-old had managed to save his gun; it was pressed into action soon after and helped retain the critical sliver of territory, considerably delaying the Japanese advance further east into British-India.
        Singh's citation for the Victoria Cross, which he received from King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 15 October 1945, read: "Havildar Umrao Singh set a supreme example of gallantry and devotion to duty."
        Half a century later, Singh fought another equally vital, albeit less blood-spattered, battle when he complained to the British prime minister John Major at the 1995 VE Day celebrations at Hyde Park about the paltry pension of £168 annually paid to Indian VC holders. "I don't think the prime minister speaks Hindi, but when I talked to him he just said yes to everything," Singh said after their meeting.
        Subsequently, the British government raised to £1,300 the yearly pension for Singh and nine other surviving winners of the VC, an award that was barred for Indian soldiers until 1912. Thereafter, through the two world wars till independence in 1947, 40 Indian soldiers got the VC.
        Umrao Singh was born in 1920 into a poor farming family in Paka village in Rohtak district, some 50km north of Delhi. Like his Jat ancestors, who trace their lineage to Central Asia's warring tribes that migrated to northern India thousands of years ago, he was commissioned into the Royal Indian Artillery in the early 1940s.
        In 1942 Singh was promoted to havildar in the 33 Mountain Battery Brigade, which eventually became part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army poised for a right-flank offensive against Lt-Gen Sakurai Seizo's 28th Japanese Army along Burma's western coastline between the Irrawaddy river and the Bay of Bengal. The offensive that was launched down the Kaladan Valley on 12 December 1944 was met with fierce and unprecedented Japanese resistance with Singh's batteries facing the worst.
        After recovering from his injuries Singh was promoted to subadar or sergeant major and retired from the British Indian army in 1946. But after independence a year later, he signed up for duty once again before eventually retiring in 1965. He was made an honorary captain in 1970.
        Singh returned home to his village - where he was known as VC Sahib - to farm his small two-acre plot from which he eked out a bare living. A friend who knew about Singh's VC and his penury-ridden state suggested he sell his medal after one was auctioned in London for £20,000. An indignant Singh said selling his medal for money would "sully" the izzat (honour) of his fallen comrades.
        Kuldip Singh

      • Ajay Singh
        A great and proud soldier. Whether Saraghiri or any other battle in history Jat soldier always deliver but it s pain to see the poor condition of Jat soldires
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 5, 2009
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          A great and proud soldier. Whether Saraghiri or any other battle in history Jat soldier always deliver but it's pain to see the poor condition of Jat soldires or officers who were and are always sidelined due to their honety, courage and starightforwardness. My god bless this gret Jat soul. if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy one and more financial returns.

          On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 5:59 PM, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...> wrote:

          Capt Umrao Singh VC

          Last surviving Indian Victoria Cross holder

          Thursday, 24 November 2005

          •  

          Umrao Singh, soldier: born Paka, India 21 November 1920; VC 1945; married (two sons, one daughter); died Delhi 21 November 2005.

          Umrao Singh was the only non-commissioned officer from either the Royal Artillery or the Indian Artillery to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War. He won the award for single-handedly beating back repeated attacks by the Japanese in a crucial coastal sector in Burma, even engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. He was also the last surviving Indian VC holder.

          On 15/16 December 1944, Havildar (sergeant) Singh of 33 Mountain Battery - part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army - was a field gun detachment commander whose position in the strategically located Kaladan Valley in the thickly forested Arakan region came under sustained attack by the Japanese 28th Army's 75mm guns and mortars. After nearly two hours of punishing bombardment, Singh's position was attacked by two Japanese companies confident that most, if not all, opposition had been pulverised.

          Twice wounded by grenades during the first assault, Singh fought off the enemy with the detachment's Bren light-machine gun whilst directing his surviving crew-members' rifle fire with devastating effect. In the renewed Japanese assault, all but two of Singh's crew died, but they somehow managed to repulse the attack.

          When the third assault followed, Singh's dwindling reserves of small-arms ammunition was exhausted and all his comrades lay around him, dead or badly wounded. Singh met the Japanese onslaught head-on with nothing but a hand spike, a long steel rod used to thrust shells into artillery field guns.

          He fatally struck down three of the enemy before falling under a rain of blows. "They found him lying face down on the dead Japanese soldiers with his fingers still tightly clutched around the hand-spike", said Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who served with Singh during the Burma campaign. When the smoke cleared, 10 dead Japanese soldiers were found scattered around the prone Singh. Miraculously, after six hours of incessant fighting, the 24-year-old had managed to save his gun; it was pressed into action soon after and helped retain the critical sliver of territory, considerably delaying the Japanese advance further east into British-India.

          Singh's citation for the Victoria Cross, which he received from King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 15 October 1945, read: "Havildar Umrao Singh set a supreme example of gallantry and devotion to duty."

          Half a century later, Singh fought another equally vital, albeit less blood-spattered, battle when he complained to the British prime minister John Major at the 1995 VE Day celebrations at Hyde Park about the paltry pension of £168 annually paid to Indian VC holders. "I don't think the prime minister speaks Hindi, but when I talked to him he just said yes to everything," Singh said after their meeting.

          Subsequently, the British government raised to £1,300 the yearly pension for Singh and nine other surviving winners of the VC, an award that was barred for Indian soldiers until 1912. Thereafter, through the two world wars till independence in 1947, 40 Indian soldiers got the VC.

          Umrao Singh was born in 1920 into a poor farming family in Paka village in Rohtak district, some 50km north of Delhi. Like his Jat ancestors, who trace their lineage to Central Asia's warring tribes that migrated to northern India thousands of years ago, he was commissioned into the Royal Indian Artillery in the early 1940s.

          In 1942 Singh was promoted to havildar in the 33 Mountain Battery Brigade, which eventually became part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army poised for a right-flank offensive against Lt-Gen Sakurai Seizo's 28th Japanese Army along Burma's western coastline between the Irrawaddy river and the Bay of Bengal. The offensive that was launched down the Kaladan Valley on 12 December 1944 was met with fierce and unprecedented Japanese resistance with Singh's batteries facing the worst.

          After recovering from his injuries Singh was promoted to subadar or sergeant major and retired from the British Indian army in 1946. But after independence a year later, he signed up for duty once again before eventually retiring in 1965. He was made an honorary captain in 1970.

          Singh returned home to his village - where he was known as VC Sahib - to farm his small two-acre plot from which he eked out a bare living. A friend who knew about Singh's VC and his penury-ridden state suggested he sell his medal after one was auctioned in London for £20,000. An indignant Singh said selling his medal for money would "sully" the izzat (honour) of his fallen comrades.

          Kuldip Singh


        • Ravi Chaudhary
          ... fought as mercenaries because they were fighting some one else s war.   ... Everyone who joins the armed forces is fighting someone else s war.
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 5, 2009
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            --- In JatHistory@yahoogroups.com, Singh - Jat <jatrajput@...> wrote:
            >
            > I salute him but sometimes feel that the Jat, Sikhs and others
            fought as mercenaries because they were fighting some one else's war.  
            >
            > --- On Wed, 2/4/09, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...> wrote:
            > \
            \


            Everyone who joins the armed forces is fighting "someone else's" war.

            Armies are professional. People join for a career, as a job, Benefits
            income.

            The aura can be patriotic.

            The Jat history and ethos suggests, that they took easily to pride in
            the nation, sacrifice for the nation, and sacrifice the community.

            There was always a higher ideal.

            If you have the occasion to talk to any retirees, you will see this
            ethos in action.

            Umrao Singh, and his colleagues were an inspiration to many who
            followed them. Success was not only to measured in whether people
            joined the army, but in how they looked upon their young, and the
            opportunities they provided to the young, - education, better careers etc.

            Many returnees from the forces, though they had served as simple foot
            soldiers, went on the establish school networks across the country-
            Jagdev Singh Siddhanti being one such from the 1st war.


            In other words, they did what they could,and far more than was expected.

            Best regards

            Ravi Chaudhary
          • Ravi Chaudhary
            ... if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy one and more financial returns. Thanks Ajay That is the message from him, to all of
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 5, 2009
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              --- In JatHistory@yahoogroups.com, Ajay Singh <asingh71@...> wrote:


              "if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy
              one and more financial returns."


              Thanks Ajay

              That is the message from him, to all of us.


              We can do better.


              Today the call and opportunity is for new careers, new fields.

              Fields that were traditionally ( in the last 150 years or so),
              considered to be not for simple Jat farmers.

              Today this stereotype has been destroyed.


              The society of today and tomorrow is not agriculture based, and we
              must move ahead.

              Education, leads us to new field of opportunity, where there are fresh
              worlds to conquer, and new peaks to climb.

              Ravi
            • Ajay Singh
              Sme story from another English newspaper. Indian newspaper are totally and least bother about this news as they are more ineterested in Satyam, Shah Ruk
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 5, 2009
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                Sme story from another English newspaper. Indian newspaper are totally and least bother about this news as they are more ineterested in Satyam, Shah Ruk etc..and all the fraud doing people.I am glad and feel good that someone care for this great jat soldeir and value his simplicity and honesty.Great salute to him.

                Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, VC

                 

                Last Updated: 1:30AM GMT 22 Nov 2005

                Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, who died yesterday aged 85, won the Victoria Cross in Burma during the Second World War; and 50 years later he complained to John Major about the poor pensions enjoyed by holders of the VC.

                As a havildar on December 15/16 1944, Singh was in charge of one gun in the Kaladan Valley when it came under heavy fire from Japanese 74 mm guns. After an hour and a half of pounding, his section, consisting of two guns, was attacked by two Japanese companies.

                Under his inspired leadership it beat off the attack. Though twice wounded by grenades in the first attack, Singh held off the second by skilful control of the section's small arms' fire. At one point, with the attackers no more than five yards away, he manned a Bren gun himself and fired over the shield of his fieldpiece. Once again the Japanese were driven back, and the third and fourth attacks were beaten off, with the enemy suffering heavy casualties.

                When the final attack came, with his ammunition gone, the other gun over-run and all but two of his section badly wounded or dead, Singh closed with the enemy in furious hand-to-hand fighting. He struck down three Japanese in a desperate effort to save his gun, but was finally overwhelmed and knocked senseless.

                Six hours later, when a counter-attack regained the position, Singh was found exhausted beside the gun, almost unrecognisable because of his seven wounds, with 10 dead Japanese lying around him. But the gun was still in working order.

                The citation declared: "By his personal example and magnificent bravery Havildar Umrao Singh set a supreme example of gallantry and devotion to duty." Singh was invested with the Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on October 15 1945.

                John Major mentioned Singh when he told an otherwise glum Conservative Party conference that the VC holders' pension was to be significantly increased.

                The news came as a surprise in the Punjabi village of Palra, where Singh stood to attention before his fellow villagers, slapping his bare feet to attention and announcing with a salute: "For John Major, Prime Minister of Britain." The increase from £100 to £1,300 a year (the equivalent to the pension's value in 1960) made him one of the richest men around, and he was glad that he and his wife Vilma could now "live in style", which had not been possible on a VC's £100 a year and amry pension. He had met John Major at the VE Day celebrations at Hyde Park earlier in 1995 when plans for an increase were already under discussion. "I don't think the prime minister speaks Hindi, but when I talked to him he just said yes to everything," Singh recalled.

                Grinning broadly as he drank Indian rum he explained: "All the Indian VCs are uneducated, and we didn't know how to complain. I felt it was my duty to tell this to the prime minister."

                But while grateful for the service rendered, he pointed out that there was another task which needed attention: "Why does the bank in India convert my pension at 34 rupees to the pound when I should get 50? Why are VCs in India being cheated? I want John Major to sort it out."

                Umrao Singh was a Hindu Jat born on November 21 October 1920 at Palra, near Rhotak in the Punjab. He went to the local primary school and joined the Royal Indian Artillery two months after the outbreak of war.

                Singh was promoted to havildar in 1942, retired in late 1946, and then joined the independent India's Army in 1948. He became subadar major in 1965 and retired as an honorary captain in 1970.

                Returning to his village, where he was known as "VC Singh", he ran a two-acre smallholding which he inherited from his father. He owned a cart and a single buffalo while living on his Indian Army pension and living in a small mud brick-built house.

                When a friend told him he could sell his VC for thousands of pounds he refused to part with it, saying that such an act would dishonour his comrades who fell in battle when he won his medal.

                When the VE Day celebrations were held in Hyde Park in 1995 he was brought to Britain by the Indian Army, to find himself turned away from the royal enclosure because he did not have an invitation.

                But a brigadier, who was helping to organise the event, recognised his medal and obtained entrance for him.

                The last of the Subcontinent's VC holders from the Second World War, apart from four who served in Gurkha regiments, Singh kept himself fit by walking six miles a day. He retained such an upstanding figure that when he was presented to the centenarian Queen Mother in 1999, she drew herself up straight saying; "What an example."

                After the death 18 months ago of his wife, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, Umrao Singh was severely affected. But he said that he would be kept busy with his family and grandchildren.



                On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 9:57 AM, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...> wrote:

                --- In JatHistory@yahoogroups.com, Ajay Singh <asingh71@...> wrote:

                "if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy
                one and more financial returns."

                Thanks Ajay

                That is the message from him, to all of us.

                We can do better.

                Today the call and opportunity is for new careers, new fields.

                Fields that were traditionally ( in the last 150 years or so),
                considered to be not for simple Jat farmers.

                Today this stereotype has been destroyed.

                The society of today and tomorrow is not agriculture based, and we
                must move ahead.

                Education, leads us to new field of opportunity, where there are fresh
                worlds to conquer, and new peaks to climb.

                Ravi


              • Ajay Singh
                ALL these articles show and prove that in a similar fashion we may have lost our history ? On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 9:57 AM, Ravi Chaudhary
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 5, 2009
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                  ALL these articles show and prove that in a similar fashion we may have lost our history ?

                  On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 9:57 AM, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...> wrote:

                  --- In JatHistory@yahoogroups.com, Ajay Singh <asingh71@...> wrote:

                  "if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy
                  one and more financial returns."

                  Thanks Ajay

                  That is the message from him, to all of us.

                  We can do better.

                  Today the call and opportunity is for new careers, new fields.

                  Fields that were traditionally ( in the last 150 years or so),
                  considered to be not for simple Jat farmers.

                  Today this stereotype has been destroyed.

                  The society of today and tomorrow is not agriculture based, and we
                  must move ahead.

                  Education, leads us to new field of opportunity, where there are fresh
                  worlds to conquer, and new peaks to climb.

                  Ravi


                • rajender123 rana
                  dear all, many jats got v c s.capt umrao singh was a ahir and he is no more.i happen to meet him twice .he died a few years back. To:
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 6, 2009
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                    dear all,
                               many jats got v c's.capt umrao singh was a ahir and he is no more.i happen to meet him twice .he died  a few years back.




                    To: JatHistory@yahoogroups.com
                    From: asingh71@...
                    Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009 09:51:21 -0500
                    Subject: Re: [JatHistory] Capt Umrao Singh VC


                    A great and proud soldier. Whether Saraghiri or any other battle in history Jat soldier always deliver but it's pain to see the poor condition of Jat soldires or officers who were and are always sidelined due to their honety, courage and starightforwardness . My god bless this gret Jat soul. if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy one and more financial returns.

                    On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 5:59 PM, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                    Capt Umrao Singh VC

                    Last surviving Indian Victoria Cross holder

                    Thursday, 24 November 2005
                    •  

                    Umrao Singh, soldier: born Paka, India 21 November 1920; VC 1945; married (two sons, one daughter); died Delhi 21 November 2005.
                    Umrao Singh was the only non-commissioned officer from either the Royal Artillery or the Indian Artillery to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War. He won the award for single-handedly beating back repeated attacks by the Japanese in a crucial coastal sector in Burma, even engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. He was also the last surviving Indian VC holder.
                    On 15/16 December 1944, Havildar (sergeant) Singh of 33 Mountain Battery - part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army - was a field gun detachment commander whose position in the strategically located Kaladan Valley in the thickly forested Arakan region came under sustained attack by the Japanese 28th Army's 75mm guns and mortars. After nearly two hours of punishing bombardment, Singh's position was attacked by two Japanese companies confident that most, if not all, opposition had been pulverised.
                    Twice wounded by grenades during the first assault, Singh fought off the enemy with the detachment's Bren light-machine gun whilst directing his surviving crew-members' rifle fire with devastating effect. In the renewed Japanese assault, all but two of Singh's crew died, but they somehow managed to repulse the attack.
                    When the third assault followed, Singh's dwindling reserves of small-arms ammunition was exhausted and all his comrades lay around him, dead or badly wounded. Singh met the Japanese onslaught head-on with nothing but a hand spike, a long steel rod used to thrust shells into artillery field guns.
                    He fatally struck down three of the enemy before falling under a rain of blows. "They found him lying face down on the dead Japanese soldiers with his fingers still tightly clutched around the hand-spike", said Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who served with Singh during the Burma campaign. When the smoke cleared, 10 dead Japanese soldiers were found scattered around the prone Singh. Miraculously, after six hours of incessant fighting, the 24-year-old had managed to save his gun; it was pressed into action soon after and helped retain the critical sliver of territory, considerably delaying the Japanese advance further east into British-India.
                    Singh's citation for the Victoria Cross, which he received from King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 15 October 1945, read: "Havildar Umrao Singh set a supreme example of gallantry and devotion to duty."
                    Half a century later, Singh fought another equally vital, albeit less blood-spattered, battle when he complained to the British prime minister John Major at the 1995 VE Day celebrations at Hyde Park about the paltry pension of £168 annually paid to Indian VC holders. "I don't think the prime minister speaks Hindi, but when I talked to him he just said yes to everything," Singh said after their meeting.
                    Subsequently, the British government raised to £1,300 the yearly pension for Singh and nine other surviving winners of the VC, an award that was barred for Indian soldiers until 1912. Thereafter, through the two world wars till independence in 1947, 40 Indian soldiers got the VC.
                    Umrao Singh was born in 1920 into a poor farming family in Paka village in Rohtak district, some 50km north of Delhi. Like his Jat ancestors, who trace their lineage to Central Asia's warring tribes that migrated to northern India thousands of years ago, he was commissioned into the Royal Indian Artillery in the early 1940s.
                    In 1942 Singh was promoted to havildar in the 33 Mountain Battery Brigade, which eventually became part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army poised for a right-flank offensive against Lt-Gen Sakurai Seizo's 28th Japanese Army along Burma's western coastline between the Irrawaddy river and the Bay of Bengal. The offensive that was launched down the Kaladan Valley on 12 December 1944 was met with fierce and unprecedented Japanese resistance with Singh's batteries facing the worst.
                    After recovering from his injuries Singh was promoted to subadar or sergeant major and retired from the British Indian army in 1946. But after independence a year later, he signed up for duty once again before eventually retiring in 1965. He was made an honorary captain in 1970.
                    Singh returned home to his village - where he was known as VC Sahib - to farm his small two-acre plot from which he eked out a bare living. A friend who knew about Singh's VC and his penury-ridden state suggested he sell his medal after one was auctioned in London for £20,000. An indignant Singh said selling his medal for money would "sully" the izzat (honour) of his fallen comrades.
                    Kuldip Singh






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                  • Ajay Singh
                    You are right sir. He was a very brave Ahir. God bless his soul.Thanks for correcting us and the original author of the article. On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 11:41
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 9, 2009
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                      You are right sir. He was a very brave Ahir. God bless his soul.Thanks for correcting us and the original author of the article.

                      On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 11:41 AM, rajender123 rana <rajender123@...> wrote:

                      dear all,
                                 many jats got v c's.capt umrao singh was a ahir and he is no more.i happen to meet him twice .he died  a few years back.




                      To: JatHistory@yahoogroups.com
                      From: asingh71@...
                      Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009 09:51:21 -0500
                      Subject: Re: [JatHistory] Capt Umrao Singh VC


                      A great and proud soldier. Whether Saraghiri or any other battle in history Jat soldier always deliver but it's pain to see the poor condition of Jat soldires or officers who were and are always sidelined due to their honety, courage and starightforwardness. My god bless this gret Jat soul. if we can do so good in Farming and Army, other professions are easy one and more financial returns.

                      On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 5:59 PM, Ravi Chaudhary <ravichaudhary2000@...> wrote:

                      Capt Umrao Singh VC

                      Last surviving Indian Victoria Cross holder

                      Thursday, 24 November 2005
                      •  

                      Umrao Singh, soldier: born Paka, India 21 November 1920; VC 1945; married (two sons, one daughter); died Delhi 21 November 2005.
                      Umrao Singh was the only non-commissioned officer from either the Royal Artillery or the Indian Artillery to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War. He won the award for single-handedly beating back repeated attacks by the Japanese in a crucial coastal sector in Burma, even engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. He was also the last surviving Indian VC holder.
                      On 15/16 December 1944, Havildar (sergeant) Singh of 33 Mountain Battery - part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army - was a field gun detachment commander whose position in the strategically located Kaladan Valley in the thickly forested Arakan region came under sustained attack by the Japanese 28th Army's 75mm guns and mortars. After nearly two hours of punishing bombardment, Singh's position was attacked by two Japanese companies confident that most, if not all, opposition had been pulverised.
                      Twice wounded by grenades during the first assault, Singh fought off the enemy with the detachment's Bren light-machine gun whilst directing his surviving crew-members' rifle fire with devastating effect. In the renewed Japanese assault, all but two of Singh's crew died, but they somehow managed to repulse the attack.
                      When the third assault followed, Singh's dwindling reserves of small-arms ammunition was exhausted and all his comrades lay around him, dead or badly wounded. Singh met the Japanese onslaught head-on with nothing but a hand spike, a long steel rod used to thrust shells into artillery field guns.
                      He fatally struck down three of the enemy before falling under a rain of blows. "They found him lying face down on the dead Japanese soldiers with his fingers still tightly clutched around the hand-spike", said Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who served with Singh during the Burma campaign. When the smoke cleared, 10 dead Japanese soldiers were found scattered around the prone Singh. Miraculously, after six hours of incessant fighting, the 24-year-old had managed to save his gun; it was pressed into action soon after and helped retain the critical sliver of territory, considerably delaying the Japanese advance further east into British-India.
                      Singh's citation for the Victoria Cross, which he received from King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 15 October 1945, read: "Havildar Umrao Singh set a supreme example of gallantry and devotion to duty."
                      Half a century later, Singh fought another equally vital, albeit less blood-spattered, battle when he complained to the British prime minister John Major at the 1995 VE Day celebrations at Hyde Park about the paltry pension of £168 annually paid to Indian VC holders. "I don't think the prime minister speaks Hindi, but when I talked to him he just said yes to everything," Singh said after their meeting.
                      Subsequently, the British government raised to £1,300 the yearly pension for Singh and nine other surviving winners of the VC, an award that was barred for Indian soldiers until 1912. Thereafter, through the two world wars till independence in 1947, 40 Indian soldiers got the VC.
                      Umrao Singh was born in 1920 into a poor farming family in Paka village in Rohtak district, some 50km north of Delhi. Like his Jat ancestors, who trace their lineage to Central Asia's warring tribes that migrated to northern India thousands of years ago, he was commissioned into the Royal Indian Artillery in the early 1940s.
                      In 1942 Singh was promoted to havildar in the 33 Mountain Battery Brigade, which eventually became part of Viscount Slim's 14th Army poised for a right-flank offensive against Lt-Gen Sakurai Seizo's 28th Japanese Army along Burma's western coastline between the Irrawaddy river and the Bay of Bengal. The offensive that was launched down the Kaladan Valley on 12 December 1944 was met with fierce and unprecedented Japanese resistance with Singh's batteries facing the worst.
                      After recovering from his injuries Singh was promoted to subadar or sergeant major and retired from the British Indian army in 1946. But after independence a year later, he signed up for duty once again before eventually retiring in 1965. He was made an honorary captain in 1970.
                      Singh returned home to his village - where he was known as VC Sahib - to farm his small two-acre plot from which he eked out a bare living. A friend who knew about Singh's VC and his penury-ridden state suggested he sell his medal after one was auctioned in London for £20,000. An indignant Singh said selling his medal for money would "sully" the izzat (honour) of his fallen comrades.
                      Kuldip Singh






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