Barkat Singh GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 16/12/1904 Shanni, Punjab, India. d. 18/12/1991 Mansurpur, India.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 02/05/1937 Meerut, India.

Barkat Singh (1904-1991) was born, presumably in India, on 16th December 1904, though little else is known about his early life and parentage. He enlisted with the Indian Army, and was posted to the 10th Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment, and held the rank of Naik (equivalent to a Corporal) by the time of the incident which saw him awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal.

Barkat Singh GC

On 2nd May 1937, in the Tofrek Lines, Meerut, India, when Sepoy Kanshi Ram, of the same unit as Barkat Singh, ran amok. He shot dead the guard commander and mortally wounded another sepoy of the guard, then went off with his rifle loaded and bayonet fixed, with additional rounds in his pouches and shouting “If any Hindu comes near me, I will shoot him.” He pursued Subadar Gopi Ram with the intention of killing him. On temporarily losing sight of Ram, he stood undecided for a second, looking around for him, with his rifle at the high port, ready to shoot. While in this position he was grappled by Naik Barkat Singh, who was unarmed, and who showed great promptitude and courage in seizing the sepoy and pinioning his arms until others came to overpower him.

Barkat Singh’s actions were rewarded with the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division in the New Year’s Honours List on 1st January 1938. He held the medal for less than two years, as following the creation of the George Cross, he was automatically able to exchange. Barkat Singh continued to serve in the Indian Army throughout the struggles surrounding independence for India in 1947, and into the 1950s. He rose to the rank of Jemadar (2nd Lieutenant) by the time of his retirement.

Following his retirement, he purchased a small farming property in the village of Mansurpur, India, where a road was later named after him. He remained in the village for the rest of his life, and regularly attended VC and GC Reunions in London. He died at his home in Mansurpur on 18th December 1991 (two days after his 87th birthday and he was cremated. His GC, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, Indian Independence Medal 1947 and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are proudly held in the family.