Recently I found out about these two men, and as the theatre is a rather forgotten one by many, I thought my readers would find them interesting.
Both men were from the 6 Rajputana Rifles;
The citation for the immediate award of the Military Medal, states:
“During operations on the Toungoo-Wawchi Road, on the 1st July 1945 on the “Nevis” feature, No.22638 Lance Naik Karam Ellahi’s Company Position was heavily attacked by approximately 40 Japanese supported by a Motor Machine Gun and Light Machine Guns. The enemy’s attack was concentrated on the forward edge of the perimeter, which was covered by a section of Motor Machine Guns. The guns had only been put into position, and trenches had been dug, when the enemy attacked. These guns were in a completely exposed position and the enemy attempted to encircle one of the Motor Machine Guns and the Gun Crews were killed. On seeing this Lance Naik Karam Ellahi picked up a Bren gun, doubled forward under intense fire disregarding a grenade wound on his head, took up a position between the Motor Machine Guns and gave effective covering fire whilst reserves took over the Motor Machine Guns. When the Motor Machine Guns had almost run out of ammunition this non commissioned officer returned under heavy enemy fire and brought up reserve ammunition. Through the initiative and personal disregard for danger he prevented the gun from falling into enemy hands. The outstanding example set by this non commissioned officer was of the highest order and an inspiration to all ranks.”
Khuda Dad, a Punjabi Musalman from the village of Havelian, in the district of Hazara, on the North West Frontier of India, served during the Second World War, as a Rifleman (No.28826) with the 3rd Battalion, the 6th Rajputana Rifles. After service on garrison duty in India, this unit arrived in Burma in September 1944, and it was during the action at Sadwingyi on 30th December 1944, that Rifleman Khuda Dad performed the act of bravery which led to the award of his Military Medal.
The recommendation reads as follows: “At Sadwingyi, on 30th December 1944, Rifleman Khuda Dad was a member of the leading section of a platoon due to launch an attack on the enemy position. At ‘H’ hour, as the leading section rose to the attack a mortar bomb landed in the midst of them killing one man and wounding five others. Rifleman Khuda Dad, realising that his wounded comrades were lying in the open, under enemy fire, seized his section’s Bren gun, the Bren No.1 being amongst those wounded and alone charged the enemy position. He eventually took up his position within twenty yards of the enemy and covered the evacuation of his wounded comrades with his Bren gun and by throwing hand grenades into the enemy position. His complete disregard for his own safety and his selfless devotion to duty was of the highest order.”
So there you go, two stories of exceptional bravery, in a very nearly forgotten theatre (at least often overlooked theatre in comparison to the European theatre).