Bhandari Ram

10 May 2016
12 May 2016
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Bhandari Ram VC (24 July 1919 – 19 May 2002) 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.

Bhandari Ram was born in 1919 at the village of Pargna Gugeda, which was part of Bilaspur State (now Bilaspur district, Himachal Pradesh). He was 25 years old, and a Sepoy in the 16th Battalion 10th Baluch Regiment, British Indian Army (now the Baloch Regiment, Pakistan Army), fighting against the Japanese Army in the Burmese Campaign during World War II, when he performed deeds during the Third Arakan Offensive for which he was awarded the VC.

The citation reads:

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

No. 24782 Sepoy Bhandari Ram, 10th Baluch Regiment, Indian Army.

On the 22nd November, 1944, in East Mayu, Arakan, during a Company attack on a strongly held Japanese bunker position, Sepoy Bhandari Ram was in the leading section of one of the platoons. In order to reach its objective, his platoon had to climb a precipitous slope, by way of a narrow ridge with sheer sides.

When fifty yards from the top, the platoon came under heavy and accurate light machine gun fire. Three men were wounded, amongst them Sepoy Bhandari Ram, who received a burst of light machine gun fire in his left shoulder and a wound in his leg. The platoon was pinned down by the intense enemy fire.

This Sepoy then crawled up to the Japanese light machine gun, whilst in full view of the enemy, and approached to within fifteen yards of the enemy position. The enemy then hurled grenades at him, seriously wounding him in the face and chest. Undeterred, severely wounded by bullets and grenade splinters and bespattered with blood, this Sepoy, with superhuman courage and determination, crawled up to within five yards of his objective. He then threw a grenade into the position, killing the enemy gunner and two other men, and continued his crawl to the post. Inspired by his example, the Platoon rushed up and captured the position. It was only after the position had been taken that he lay down and allowed his wounds to be dressed.

By his cool courage, determination to destroy the enemy at all cost, and entire disregard for his personal safety, this young Sepoy enabled his Platoon to capture what he knew to be the key to the whole enemy position.
— London Gazette, 8 February 1945.
He continued to serve in the post-independence Indian Army, from which he retired in 1969 with the rank of Honorary Captain. He died in 2002.

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