The Victoria Cross Winners
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories. It is first in the order of wear in the United Kingdom honours system, and takes precedence over all other orders, decorations, and medals, except the George Cross, with which it shares precedence. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The VC is usually presented to the recipient or to their next of kin by the British monarch at an investiture held at Buckingham Palace.
The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,357 times to 1,354 individual recipients. Only 14 medals, ten to members of the British Army, and four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War. The traditional explanation of the source of the gunmetal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol. Recent research has thrown doubt on this story, suggesting a variety of origins for the material actually making up the medals themselves. Research has established that the gunmetal for many of the medals came from Chinese cannons that may have been captured from the Russians in 1855.
>On 10 April 1921 near Haidari Kach, North West Frontier, India, Sepoy Ishar Singh was No. 1 of a Lewis gun section. Early in the fighting he was severely wounded, all the officers and havildars of his company became casualties and his Lewis gun was seized. He recovered the gun and went into action again although his wound was bleeding profusely, but when ordered to have it dressed, he went instead to help the medical officer, carrying water to the wounded, taking a rifle and helping to keep down enemy fire and acting as a shield while the medical officer was dressing a wound. It was nearly three hours before he submitted to being evacuated. Later achieved rank of Captain.
Captain Ishar Singh was the first Sikh soldier to win a Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour in the British Empire. Instituted in 1856 and given until March, 1943, the Victoria Cross was made from guns captured by the British at Sebastopol during the Crimean War. The right to receive the VC was extended to Indian soldiers only in 1911.
Sikh Regiment, Indian Army Campaign Second World War
On 11/12 March 1944 on the Maungdaw-Buthidaung Road, Burma (now Myanmar), Naik Nand Singh , commanding a leading section of the attack, was ordered to recapture a position gained by the enemy. He led his section up a very steep knife-edged ridge under very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and although wounded in the thigh,captured the first trench. He then crawled forward alone and, wounded again in the face and shoulder, nevertheless captured the second and third trenches.
On 2 March 1945 on the road between Kamye and Myingyan, Burma (now Myanmar), where the Japanese were strongly positioned, Naik Gian Singh who was in charge of the leading section of his platoon, went on alone firing his tommy gun, and rushed the enemy foxholes. In spite of being wounded in the arm he went on, hurling grenades. He attacked and killed the crew of a cleverly concealed anti-tank gun, and then led his men down a lane clearing all enemy positions. He went on leading his section until the action had been satisfactorily completed
On 16/17 February 1945 at Kanlan Ywathit, Burma (now yanmar), Jemadar Prakash Singh was commanding a platoon which took the main weight of fierce enemy attacks. He was wounded in both ankles and relieved of his command, but when his second-in-command was also wounded, he crawled back and took command again, directing operations and encouraging his men. Being again wounded in both legs, he continued to direct the defence, dragging himself from place to place by his hands. When wounded a third time and dying, he lay shouting the Sikh battle-cry, so inspiring his company that the enemy were finally driven off. Killed In the above action.
Kamaljeet Singh Judge
On 18 March 1945 near Meiktila, Burma (now Myanmar), Lieutenant Karamjeet Singh Judge, a platoon commander of a company ordered to capture a cotton mill, dominated the battlefield by his numerous acts of gallantry. After eliminating ten enemy bunkers he directed one tank to within 20 yards of another and asked the tank commander to cease fire while he went in to mop up. While doing so he was mortally wounded. Killed In the above action.
Born 12 April 1919, Kheri village, Bhiwani tehsil, Haryana, son of Jorawar Singh
On 25 October 1944 at Kennedy Peak in the Tiddim area, Burma (now Myanmar), two platoons were ordered to attack a particularly strong enemy position. The platoon commanded by Subadar Ram Sarup Singh attained its objective, completely routing the enemy, and although the subadar was wounded in both legs he insisted on carrying on. Later, the enemy’s fierce counter-attack was only halted by Subadar Ram Sarup Singh’s dashing counter-charge in which he killed four of the enemy himself. He was again wounded, in the thigh, but continued to lead his men, killing two more of the enemy, until he was mortally wounded. Killed In the above action.