Badlu Singh VC

b. 11/1876 Dhakla, Haryana, India. d. 23/09/1918 Palestine.

Badlu Singh (1876-1918) was born in November 1876 in Dhakla Village, near Jhaijar, Rohtak District, Punjab, India. He enrolled in the 14th (Murray’s Jat) Lancers on 10th September 1895. The Lancers had been raised by General Murray of the United Province Police in 1858, and on the outbreak of war were entirely composed of Hindu Jats.


Badlu Singh was promoted to Lance Dafadar on 16th October 1908, Dafadar on 1st August 1909, Jemadar on 5th January 1915, and, finally, Ressaidar on 9th January 1917. He served on the North-West Frontier from 18th September to 25th October 1915 and during this time would have taken part in a small Mohmand war. He was involved in the charge at Hafiz Kor, which led to the award of the VC to Shoesmith Charles Hull. The 14th Lancers were later in France from 16th May 1916 to 18th March 1918. They had previously supplied reinforcements to the 6th Cavalry Division until the end of the war.

On 23rd September 1918 on the west bank of the River Jordan, Palestine, when his squadron was charging a strong enemy position, Risaldar Badlu Singh realised that heavy casualties were being inflicted from a small hill occupied by machine-guns and 200 infantry. Without any hesitation he collected six other ranks and with entire disregard of danger he charged and captured the position. He was mortally wounded on the very top of the hill when capturing one of the machine-guns single handed, but all the guns and infantry had surrendered to him before he died.

In accordance with his Hindu beliefs, Badlu Singh was cremated on the site of his death. His posthumous VC was presented to his son, Chotan Singh, in India in 1919, possibly from the hands of the Viceroy. Badlu Singh’s widow, two sons and a daughter survived him. His name was commemorated in the Indian Army listings on the panels of the Heliopolis Memorial at the Heliopolis War Cemetery, Port Tewfik, Cairo, Egypt.  An Indian Army Order dated 8th July 1920 noted that Chotan Singh was awarded a special grant of land of the annual cash value of 400 rupees.

Badlu Singh’s VC was sold at Sotheby’s on 26th January 1972 and bought by Spink’s for £1,550. It was sold again on 28th November 1995 and the notional price was between £18,000-£22,000. It was purchased by Michael Ashcroft for the hammer price of £32,000 and is now part of the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London. His two campaign medals from World War I are missing.