Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Honored Allies Wednesday: Chhelu Ram (Indian)

"This N.C.O. displayed most conspicuous bravery, determination, and devotion to duty during the attack by the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade on the DJEBEL GARCI feature on the night of the 19th/20th April, 1943.  He was with one of the two leading Companies, and during the advance to the Battalion's second objective, the forward troops were held up by an enemy machine-gun position on some high ground.  Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram armed with a "Tommy" gun immediately rushed forward through the intense machine-gun and mortar fire and single-handed silenced the post, killing its three or four occupants and thus enabling the advance to continue.  When the leading Companies were approaching their third objective the enemy brought down intense machine-gun and mortar fire on them which mortally wounded the Company Commander.  Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram went to the officer's assistance in a completely exposed position and attended to him, during which he himself was seriously wounded.  He then took command of his own Company and elements of the other leading Company and quickly reorganized them.  Almost immediately the enemy put in a heavy counter-attack and our troops began to run short of ammunition.  During the fierce hand-to-hand fighting which followed, this N.C.O.'s bravery and determination were beyond praise.  Rushing from point to point, wherever the fighting was heaviest, he rallied the men and drove back the enemy with the cry of " Jats and Mohammedans", there must be no withdrawal!  We will advance! Advance!" He then advanced ahead of the two Companies.  Inspired by his fine example, the counter-attack on this vital ground was driven back with bayonets, stones and rocks.  During this fighting Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram was again wounded, this time mortally.  He refused, however, to be-carried back and continued to command and inspire his men until finally losing consciousness.  A few minutes later he died from the effects of his wounds.  His magnificent action, leadership, and utter contempt for danger were an inspiration to his men and were the chief contribution to the holding of what was essentially vital ground." 

From the Company Havildar-Major's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on July 27, 1943.

Another heroic ally!
Brian & Mel

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