Kamal Ram

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Kamal Ram
Victoria Cross Winners NA17270.jpg
King George VI pinning the Victoria Cross on Sepoy Kamal Ram, 26 July 1944
Born(1924-12-17)17 December 1924
Bholupura, Rajputana Agency, British India
Died1 July 1982(1982-07-01) (aged 57)
Bholupura, Rajasthan, India
Allegiance British India
 India
Service/branch British Indian Army
 Indian Army
Years of service194?-1972
RankHonorary Lieutenant
Unit8th Punjab Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsVictoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross

Kamal Ram also Known as Kamal Ram Gurjar VC (17 December 1924 – 1 July 1982) was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the second-youngest Indian recipient of the award.

Life[edit]

Kamal Ram's name is inscribed on the Memorial Gates at Constitution Hill in London.

Kamal Ram was born into a Gurjar[1] family on 17 December 1924, in the village of Bholupura, Karauli district, British India (now in Rajasthan, India).[2] His father's name was Shiv Chand.[3] During the Second World War, he served in the 3rd Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment, British Indian Army (now the 3rd Battalion, Baloch Regiment, Pakistan Army). He was 19 years old, with the rank of Sepoy, when, on 12 May 1944, his battalion assaulted the formidable German defences of the Gustav Line, across the River Gari in Italy; and he performed the deeds for which he was awarded the VC. [4] The citation reads as follows:

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:–

No. 35408 Sepoy Kamal Ram, 8th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army.

In Italy, on 12 May 1944, after crossing the River Gari overnight, the Company advance was held up by heavy machine-gun fire from four posts on the front and flanks. As the capture of the position was essential to secure the bridgehead, the Company Commander called for a volunteer to get round the rear of the right post and silence it. Volunteering at once and crawling forward through the wire to a flank, Sepoy Kamal Ram attacked the post single handed and shot the first machine-gunner; a second German tried to seize his weapon but Sepoy Kamal Ram killed him with the bayonet, and then shot a German officer who, appearing from the trench with his pistol, was about to fire. Sepoy Kamal Ram, still alone, at once went on to attack the second machine-gun post which was continuing to hold up the advance, and after shooting one machine-gunner, he threw a grenade and the remaining enemy surrendered. Seeing a Havildar making a reconnaissance for an attack on the third post, Sepoy Kamal Ram joined him, and, having first covered his companion, went in and completed the destruction of this post. By his courage, initiative and disregard for personal risk, Sepoy Kamal Ram enabled his Company to charge and secure the ground vital to the establishment of the bridgehead and the completion of work on two bridges. When a platoon, pushed further forward to widen the position, was fired on from a house, Sepoy Kamal Ram, dashing towards the house, shot one German in a slit trench and captured two more. His sustained and outstanding bravery unquestionably saved a difficult situation at a critical period of the battle and enabled his Battalion to attain the essential part of their objective.

— London Gazette, 27 July 1944.[5]
King George VI is driven past cheering Indian troops on his way to a ceremony to invest Sepoy Kamal Ram with the Victoria Cross, Italy, 26 July 1944.

King George VI presented him with the medal in Italy in 1944.[6] He remained in the Indian Army post-independence, rising to the rank of Havildar (sergeant) before receiving a promotion to Jemadar (now Naib subedar) on 18 May 1960,[7] and further promotions to Subedar on 1 March 1964 and to Subedar-major on 1 January 1970.[8][9] He retired in 1972 with the rank of Honorary Lieutenant,[10] and died in 1982.

The medal[edit]

His Victoria Cross is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.india.com/viral/kamal-ram-91st-birth-anniversary-remembering-brave-indian-sepoy-and-victoria-cross-recipient-791750/amp/
  2. ^ "Kamal Ram VC".
  3. ^ Bawa 1972, pp. 84.
  4. ^ Ahmad 2006, pp. 280.
  5. ^ "No. 36627". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 July 1944. p. 3501.
  6. ^ "Sepoy Kamal Ram VC". nationalarchives.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 6 August 1960. p. 197.
  8. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 12 December 1964. p. 503.
  9. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 7 March 1970. p. 313.
  10. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 15 August 1972. p. 101.
  11. ^ "Kamal Ram VC".

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]