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WWII Indian Army medal groups

Article about: As this is one of the core areas in my collecting interests, I thought I might share some groups (and maybe a few singles) here. The collecting of Indian Army WWII medals is especially inter

  1. #1
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default WWII Indian Army medal groups

    As this is one of the core areas in my collecting interests, I thought I might share some groups (and maybe a few singles) here.

    The collecting of Indian Army WWII medals is especially interesting, as most (~ 80%) of the campaign medals are named (using "India" in the post-1947 meaning, while Pakistan -- alas -- did not name their WWII medals so, as I'll detail below, this leads to "issues").

    I know this may be "fringe" for this forum., but I hope there is some interest.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    Hi Guys, all I can say is stand by for another treat! Ed has some wonderfull stuff.

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #3
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    IO 7480 Subadar-Major Tikajit Pun, Bahadur, O.B.I., I.D.S.M., 3/2 Gurkha Rifles

    Born 1905, West Nepal
    Enlisted 25 November 1922
    Jemadar 18 July 1937
    Subadar 1 October 1940
    Opted for British service 1 January 1948
    Lt (GCO) 1 January 1948
    Capt (GCO) 11 November 1953
    Retired 14 February 1961
    Died 29 October 1977, British Gurkha Centre, Paklihawa

    Order of British India, 2nd class -- 12 June 1947. (a "good bye" gift)

    Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire,
    2nd type
    -- For acts in Arakan (Burma), 16 May-15 August 1945 – Gazette of India, 3 August 1946, Not. No. 178-H – actually presented December 1953 (!).

    Indian Distinguished Service Medal, George VI -- "SUBDR. TIKAJIT PUN, 3-2 G. R." -- the recommendation:

    Subedar Tikajit Pun was the senior Gurkha officer of a column which was forced through a breakdown in communications and the consequent lack of rations to return across the Chindwin under particularly arduous conditions. His energy and devotion to duty were unfailing and on all occasions he set a superb example of cheerfulness in great adversity. It was largely due to his exemplary conduct that his men, despite hunger and exhaustion, regained their base as a formed body and without casualties.

    He displayed the same qualities of leadership during this difficult march as he had previously shown under fire and was throughout of the greatest assistance to his column commander.
    A nice "Chindit" award.

    I assume the other medals are familiar? Tell me if they aren't or if you want details, please.
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  5. #4
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    2446 Naik Amarbahadur Khattri, I.O.M., 1/9th Gurkha Rifles

    Indian Order of Merit, 2nd class, 1939-45

    IOM in London Gazette 21 September 1944, p. 4371. The recommendation for the IOM is shown below.

    During the operations on Monastery Hill above Cassino between 15th and 34th March 1944, this NCO showed courage and devotion of an outstanding quality. Naik Amarbahadur was acting Platoon Havildar of one of the platoons of the company which, alone, captured Hangman’s Hill on Monte Cassino on the 16th March 1944. When the company had secured Hangman’s Hill the Germans brought intense small arms, mortar and shell fire to bear on the hill top from the Monastery and adjacent ridges, which overlooked Hangman’s Hill from point blank range. After enduring this for some time, Naik Amarbahadur picked up a Bren gun, the crew of which had become casualties, and climbed to the highest pinnacle of the rock, where the best view of the enemy could be obtained but which also was completely exposed. From this position he engaged the enemy, particularly a mortar which was causing considerable damage to the company. So effectively did he do this, that the mortar was silenced. He was shortly afterwards wounded, but continued to fight on and engage machine gun posts under the Monastery wall. It was not until the situation quieted down considerably that this NCO allowed himself to be removed and have his wound dressed.
    India General Service Medal, 1936-39 - NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1936-37, NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1937-39 -- "2446 RFM. AMARBAHADUR KHATTRI, 1-9 G.R."

    1939-45 Star -- "2446 NK. AMMARBAHADUR KHATTRI, 9 G.R."

    Africa Star -- "2446 NK. AMMARBAHADUR KHATTRI, 9 G.R."

    Italy Star -- "2446 NK. AMMARBAHADUR KHATTRI, 9 G.R."

    The Defence Medal, 1939-45 -- "2446 NK. AMMARBAHADUR KHATTRI, 9 G.R."

    The War Medal, 1939-45 -- "2446 NK. AMMARBAHADUR KHATTRI, 9 G.R."
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  6. #5
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    One more for now. More . . . many more . . . too many more? . . . to come.

    I do hope some can understand how INCREDIBLY rare this group is, though.

    ME-102050 Naik Mohinder Singh, Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

    \1939-45 Star -- "ME-102050 NK. MOHINDER SINGH I.E.M.E."

    Africa Star -- "ME-102050 NK. MOHINDER SINGH I.E.M.E."

    Italy Star -- "ME-102050 NK. MOHINDER SINGH I.E.M.E."

    France and Germany Star -- "ME-102050 NK. MOHINDER SINGH I.E.M.E."

    Defence Medal -- Unnamed

    War Medal 1939-45 -- Unnamed
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  7. #6
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    I.O. 7269 Honorary Captain and Subadar Major Narbahadur Gurung, Sardar Bahadur, I.O.M., O.B.I., I.D.S.M., 2/4th Gurkha Rifles

    This is a complex group, one that has resisted research efforts in some dimensions.

    Born 1903, Sabet, dist. Gandaki, West Nepal
    Enlisted 3 December 1921
    Jemadar 6 November 1936
    Subadar 1 October 1940
    WS Subadar-Major
    retired 1946
    served in Nepal Government 1952-62
    died January 1977, Pathankot, India, just after marching in Republic Day parade in New Delhi

    Order of British India, first class, type 2, 1939-1947 - OBI2 – Northern Italy, 14 June 1945, GoI Extraordinary, 14 June 1945, Not. No. 140-H. OBI1 – Rawalpindi, India, 13 Jule 1946, GoI Extraordinary, 13 June 1946, Not. No. 150-H.

    Indian Order of Merit, 2nd class, 1939-45 - He was captured by the Germans in the “Battle of the Cauldron” on 5/6 June 1942. Interned at “P.G. 63 P.M. 3400 Italy” per his letters? (P.G. 63, Aversa? Just north of Naples.) The regimental history (3:398) records:

    On 10th January (1943) while still in Cyprus, the Battalion was rejoined by Subadar Narbahadur Gurung IDSM and Jemedar Lalkrishan Gurung, escaped prisoners of war. All escaped prisoners were entitled to leave in India, but none of them would take it – they were afraid to miss the war! Subadar Narbahadur was immediately promoted Subadar-Major, an appointment in which he served with great distinction throughout the Battalion’s long campaign in Italy.

    In 1944 Narbahadur was awarded the IOM (2nd Class) and RH Vol 3 page 499 records that he was subsequently promoted “Honorary Lieutenant for gallantry in the field.
    Other records make it clear that his IOM was awards for his escape and evasion (just how does a Gurkha "blend in" in Italy??), but the recommendation was treated as secret and was intentionally not preserved. Maybe checking the recently released escaped POW debriefs (split between London and New Delhi) will help?

    Indian Distinguished Service Medal, George VI - "JEMDR. NARBAHADUR GURUNG, 2-4 G.R." - For bravery at Black Rocks, Koti Raghza Waziristan, NWFP (gazetted as Waziristan, NWFP), action date 29 June 1937 Authy: Gof I Extraordinary 10 Dec 1937. Notn. 192-H. Inter-war IDSMs have no surviving recommendations (so far).

    India General Service Medal, 1908-35, George V, 2nd variety - NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1930-31 - "6375 L-NK. NARBAHADUR GURUNG, 2-4 G.R."

    India General Service Medal, 1936-39 - NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1937-39 - "JEMDR. NARBAHADUR GURUNG, 2-4 G.R."

    His WWII medals are, alas, unnamed. This is a common pattern for those discharged early and the absence of an Indian Independence Medal suggests he was discharged immediately at the end of the War (health?).
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  8. #7
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    IO-24563 Jemadar Rajpal Singh, M.C., 9th Royal Deccan Horse

    Enrolled 14 May 1937
    Driver MT Class I
    Armament Course – grade Q-1
    English 1st class
    F.S.C.A. from 1 October 1944 to 22 October 1945
    Discharged 11 May 1946 (medical board, exemplary character)

    M.C. action of 21/28 May 1945, Burma, London Gazette, 20 September 1945, p. 4677, teh recommendation:

    On the MAWCHI rd on 21 May 45 Jem RAJPAL SINGH was leading the tp being used in sp of the inf. Advancing, his tank was hit by a 47 mm AP shell. He was ordered by the Tp Comd to withdraw but having seen the flash he held his ground knowing he would be unable to locate it if he went back to cover. His rapid fire then forced the crew to abandon the gun. A 75 mm then opened fire and this he silenced with a direct hit. During this enaggement his tk was hit five times, one jamming the cupola and fracturing the periscope. This action enabled inf to adv and three guns were captured.

    On 28 May he was loading with a coy of 4 GR. One of his guns jammed but rather than hold up the adv he pressed on but was hit five times by the enemy guns destroying the tk and killing the crew. The Jem. escaped with severe burns.

    This Jemadars courage and steadiness has been a very fine example to all.
    As he was discharged early (due to his burns) all the medals are unnamed. The group came direct from the family with tons of photos and documents. Since I have them, I've added photos of him as a young and old man.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #8
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    Subadar Mohd. Sher, I.D.S.M., 3/1st Punjab Regiment

    Enrolled - 19 January 1924
    Jemadar - 12 March 1941 (in the context of this action?)
    Subadar - ??? (War Substantive Subadar)

    Indian Distinguished Service Medal, George VI - "JEMDR. MOHD. SHER, 3-1 PUNJAB R." - London Gazette 30 December 1941, p. 7339 (copy in file) - 151-H/1941, for Italian East Africa (only one to the regiment for that theater). WO 373/29 (copy in file) - Company Havildar Major (now Jemadar) Mohammed Sher, 3/1st Punjab Regiment, 5th Indian Infantry Brigade, 4th Indian Division:

    On 10 February 1941 during the attack on HOGS BACK this N.C.O. showed great coolness and disregard for personal safety in moving about (in his functions as Company Havildar Major) and assisting his Coy. Commander.

    On 11 Feb 1941 during the action on BRIGS PEAK Coy Hav Major MOHAMMED SHER again showed outstanding bravery and coolness. He moved freely amongst the forward sections encouraging Section commanders. When the enemy pressed home his attack Coy Hav Major MOHAMMED SHER was present in assisting the defence and freely exposed himself in throwing bombs at the enemy.

    11 March 1941 on Pt 1710 when the Coy had suffered 4 killed and 3 wounded by mortar fire, Coy Hav Major MOHAMMED SHER showed disregard for personal safety by carrying back wounded men to safety whilst under mortar fire.

    This N.C.O's name was submitted for bravery at TUMMAR WEST.
    As he went to PAkistan with Partition in 1947, his WWII medals are unnamed (while India named most of these medals, Pakistan followed British practice).

    MiD in London Gazette, 2nd supplement, 30 December 1941, p. 7354 for "Middle East" as "Subadar Mohammed Sher, 1 Punjab Regt. (no "IDSM"?) - The MiD is also shown in Qureshi's regimental history, most probably for actions at Kissoue, outside of Damascus, Syria, where he was wounded on 13 June 1941. The History also records the Award of the Croix de Guerre (for Syria).
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  10. #9
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    78105 Rifleman Asarsing Limbu, M.M., 1/7th Gurkha Rifles

    Awards of the MM to Indian soldiers are rare.

    Military Medal, George VI - "78105 RFMN. ASARSING LIMBU GR" - Award published in London Gazette 2 August 1945. WO 373/40:

    On the night of 22/23 March 1945 at MEIKTILA a strong enemy force later estimated at two Bns, with two guns attacked the battalion perimeter.

    The fiercest part of this attack, which was not only supported by the two guns at point blank range but also by MMG, LMG and mortar fire, was located in the area of the main road. No 78105 Rifleman Asarsing Limbu was defending the slit trench nearest the road and opposite our MMG post when the enemy made a sudden rush covered by very heavy fire in attempt to overrun the MMG position. Some of the enemy succeeded in penetrating the wire. Riflman Asarsing Limbi with complete disregard for danger left his slit trench and attacked them with grenades and his bayonet, killing three and driving the rest back.

    He then returned to his trench and replenished his supply of grenades. Four times he drove the enemy out and accounted for about fifteen to twenty of the enemy. Early in the morning he volunteered to go forward with a clearing party and moving well ahead killed one sniper and engaged a second whom he also killed after being wounded by a grenade. This riflemans dash and determination to kill the enemy was an example and inspiration to all.
    1939-45 Star - "78105 RFN. ASARSING LIMBU, 7 G.R."

    Burma Star - "78105 RFN. ASARSING LIMBU, 7 G.R." - Wounded B II p. 519 s.l. 504 - 78105 Asarsingh Limbu 23 March 1945, Burma IV.

    The War Medal, 1939-45 - "78105 RFN. ASARSING LIMBU, 7 G.R."
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  11. #10
    Ed_Haynes
    ?

    Default Re: WWII Indian Army medal groups

    A broken group (and I fear the WWII campaign medals are "restorations") but still nice, I think.

    24075 Sepoy Babu Singh, Vr.C., M.M., 1st Sikh Regiment

    Borm 8 April 1921, v. Natt, Sangrur Dist., Punjab
    Father Sh Mangal Singh
    Enrolled 8 April 1942

    Vir Chakra - "24075 SEP. BABU SINGH, 1 BN., SIKH R.-7 NOV 1947" - The rtecommendation is elusive, sorry.

    Military Medal, George V, type 1 - "24075. SEPOY. BABU SINGH SIKH R." - London Gazette 1 November 1945. The orginal recommendation for an immediate MM award states:

    At Abya on the night of 3-4 July 1945, Sepoy Babu Singh was a member of an isolated Platoon in Satthwagyon village, which was heavily attacked throughout the night by approximately 150 enemy. All communications with the Battalion had failed and the position of the Platoon was desperate, as by 0600 hours in the morning only ten rounds of ammunition per man remained.

    Sepoy Babu Singh volunteered to take a message to the Battalion some three miles away. To do this, with an interpreter, he divested himself of his clothes and donned a loin cloth. Then, completely submerged, the two men crawled down a nullah out of the position, and through the encircling enemy. They mingled with the local inhabitants who were being cleared by the Japanese, and openly walked past, and within two feet of two Japanese sentries. Once clear of the village, the two men ran for three miles over flooded paddy fields, bearing a written message, to the Battalion position. Thereafter, they led a relieving company back to a position where they could attack the Japanese from a flank, and so relieve the hard-pressed platoon. The gallantry and devotion to duty of these two men was instrumental in saving the Platoon, as owing to the confused situation it was not realised that the Platoon was heavily engaged.
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