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Umrao Singh file photo [9336]

Umrao Singh

Given NameUmrao
Born21 Nov 1920
Died21 Nov 2005


ww2dbaseUmrao Singh was born in the poor farmer Mohar Singh Yadav the village of Palra, Rohtak district, Punjab, India. He joined the Indian Army in Nov 1939. In 1942, he was promoted to the rank of havildar, or sergeant, in the Royal Indian Artillery. During the night of 15 to 16 Dec 1944, in the Kaladan Valley in Burma, he was commanding a field gun of the 33 Mountain Battery of the Indian 30th Mountain Regiment, attached to the UK 14th Army. After receiving a 90-minute counter-battery bombardment, at least two companies of Japanese troops rushed his gun position. He picked up a Bren light machine gun, while his men wielded rifles, as they attempted to fight off the attack. Singh was wounded by two grenades during the first wave of the attack, and by the time the second wave was fought off, only Singh and two others remained. Running low in ammunition, Singh was seen using a heavy iron rod to brutally beat at least one Japanese soldier to death. Six hours later, his position was reinforced by friendly troops, and he was found on the ground, unconscious, with a serious wound to his head. Ten dead Japanese soldiers lay dead nearby. Singh was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George VI at the Buckingham Palace, London, England, United Kingdom on 15 Oct 1945. He was the only member of the Royal Artillery and Royal Indian Artillery to receive the Victoria Cross. He retired from the Indian Army in 1946. In 1947, he rejoined the Indian Army after India was granted independence, and served until 1965. He retired to his family's small 2-acre farm In 1970, he was promoted to the honorary rank of captain. He attended the VE Day celebrations in London in 1995, and was nearly turned away from the VIP tent because his name was not on the correct list; he was only admitted after Brigadier Tom Longland recognized his medal. After the celebrations, he complained to British Prime Minister John Major about the inadequate pension of £168 per year that was paid to Indian Victoria Cross holders, which might had influenced Major's eventual decision to raise the pension to £1,300 per year. On 14 May 2003, Singh attended the service of dedication of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Memorial in Westminster Abbey. He was approached several times by collectors who wished to purchase his medal, some offering substantial amounts of money, but he refused all of them; selling the medal would "stain the honor of those who fell in battle", he said. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in Jul 2005 and passed away later that year in New Delhi, India. He was cremated in his native village, and his funeral was attended by Chief Minister of the Indian state of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Army General Joginder Jaswant Singh, and Army Lieutenant General Charanjit Singh.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jan 2010

Umrao Singh Timeline

21 Nov 1920 Umrao Singh was born.
21 Nov 2005 Umrao Singh passed away.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Gregg Heilman says:
26 Jan 2010 06:58:17 AM

Umrao Singh was truly a warrior and hero in any society or war. Thank God he used his words in peace as well as he used his weapons in war. It was during a sad time in the history of mankind. I read a story of Gandhi who read about the Christian Leader Jesus Christ and His fair and equal treatment of all men and women of all societies. As a young attorney Gandhi attended a church in South Africa in South Africa believing it was a religion that would bring equality to his nation and peace to India's people. He was refused at the doors of the Church and told that "people of color" worship down town and there was "no room at this inn or church for his kind". Unfortunately Gandhi met the other kind of Christian, the kind who is a Christian in name only not in his life style. Gandhi figured this religion had nothing to offer his people, Although he read and used the Bible teachings of Christ for none violence Gandhi never went back. Umrao Singh continues to be a hero to all freedom loving peoples and to all warriors who fight for freedom, justic and liberty. GREAT STORY THANK YOU FOR PUBLISHING IT.
2. pawan kumar says:
8 Oct 2010 12:42:45 AM

i will try this job.

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"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939