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Ministry of Defence21-November, 2005 17:12 IST
|Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, Victoria Cross passes away|
|Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, the last surviving Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious award for gallantry awarded by the British Army, died at the R & R Hospital today.
Born on 21 Nov 1920 at Patra Village, Jhajjar (Rohtak), Haryana, he joined the Regiment of Royal India Artillery. In World War II, as a 24 year old Havildar, he was deployed in the Kaladan valley in Arakan, Burma on 15/16 Dec 44 in command of a gun in an advan! ced position of his battery. His battery came under very heavy fire from Japanese guns and mortars for one and a half hours, before two companies of the Japanese attacked the position in the first of four assaults. He so inspired his comrades by personal example and his giving of encouragement that the attack was beaten off. Although he had been wounded twice by grenades, Umrao Singh managed to beat off the four attacks by his heroic action and courage. By the final attack, the other gun had been overrun and all the ammunition exhausted. Seizing the gun barrel, he closed with the enemy and fought them fearlessly hand to hand. In an attempt to save the gun, he struck down three Japanese soldiers before he finally succumbed and was knocked out. On the counter attack six hours later, Umrao Singh was found, at the side of his gun, so severely wounded that he was hardly recognizable. Around him lay 10 dead Japanese soldiers. His gun was still in working order and saw further action ! that day. His outstanding bravery, devotion to duty and his setting of a wonderful example was an inspiration to all. For this act of supreme bravery in the face of enemy, he was decorated with the Victoria Cross by the British Army.
Honorary Captain Umrao Singh's funeral will be held at his native village on 22 Nov 05 with full military honours.
(Release ID :13431)