Kamal Ram VC

b. 17/12/1924 Bholupura, India. d. 01/07/1982 Bholupura, India.

Kamal Ram (1924-1982) was born on 17th December 1924 in Bholupura, in the state of Jaipur, India within the Gurjar family. He was the son of Shiv Chand Harsana. Little is known of his early life, but it is known that on the outbreak of World War II, he was keen to enlist despite his very young age. He enlisted with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment as a Sepoy (Private) at the age of 18 in 1943, and by 1944, was posted with his Regiment to the advance through Italy.

Kamal Ram VC

On 12th 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.

Kamal Ram was later promoted to Subedar. He was presented with his VC by King George VI on 26th July 1944 whilst still in Italy, and his citation appeared in the London Gazette the following day. Kamal Ram returned to India, following the war, attended various VC events including the 1956 Centenary Celebrations, and later reunions of the VC and GC Association. Kamal Ram died on 1st July 1982 in Bholupura, his home village, and was cremated at Sawai Madhopur, in Rajasthan. His medal group (sadly without their ribbons) were purchased privately in 2006 by Michael Ashcroft, and are displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, with replacement ribbons.