Nand Singh VC

b. 24/09/1914 Bhatinda, Punjab, India. d. 12/12/1947 Uri, Kashmir.

Nand Singh (1914-1947) was born on 24th September 1914 in Bhatinda, Punjab, India. Little is known about his early life, until 1933 when he enlisted in the 1/11th Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army. On the outbreak of World War II, the 1/11th Sikh Regiment were heavily involved in actions in South East Asia, and by the early months of 1944, was heavily involved in the Burma Campaign.

Nand Singh VC

He was awarded the VC for his incredible actions against the Japanese on 11th-12th March 1944 in Arakan in Burma. The Japanese held a position called India Hill, which had a very steep knife-edged ridge. Singh and his platoon were ordered to capture this position. As Singh and his men approached, they were met with heavy machine gun and rifle fire which killed or injured most of them. Singh moved forward alone, even though he was injured. He then captured the first trench and killed the two Japanese occupants with his bayonet.

Following this he moved onto the second and third trenches, again sustaining injuries from the continuous heavy fire and grenades of the Japanese. Again he silenced them with his bayonet – single-handedly.  

What he achieved took a matter of minutes. When his platoon reached him, they captured the position using bayonets and grenades to kill 37 of the 40 Japanese who had held the position. Singh was wounded six times, but showed incredible bravery, determination, and even total disregard for his own life or safety. He was honoured with Britain’s highest honour – the Victoria Cross.

Following India’s independence Singh remained in the Indian Army and fought in the Indo-Pakistani War. On 12th December 1947 he led his platoon of D Company to rescue his battalion from an ambush in Uri, Kashmir. During the battle Singh was killed by machine gun fire at close range. Singh was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), for valour and steadfastness of the highest order in the Jammu & Kashmir Operation in 1947. To this day no other Indian has received both the VC and MVC.

Sadly, the Pakistanis recognised Singh because of his VC ribbon. His body was taken to Muzaffarabad where it was tied spreadeagled on a truck and paraded through the city with a loudspeaker proclaiming that this would be the fate of every Indian VC. The soldier’s body was later thrown into a garbage dump, and was never recovered. His medals are not publicly held, though replica medals are displayed at the Sikh Regiment Museum, Ramgarh, India.