18 September 2023

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Naik Gian Singh,
4th Bn, 15th Punjab Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • Sainya Seva Medal
  • Indian Independence Medal ( 1947 )
  • 1939-45 Star
  • Burma Star
  • War Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • India Service Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee ( 1977 )

The Victoria Cross and accompanying campaign medals awarded to Naik ( later Hon Subadar Major ) Gian Singh, 4th Bn, 15th Punjab Regiment, was included in the well known television programme 'Antiques Roadshow' on the 18th September 2023 held in Pollok Park Glasgow.

The VC medal group was brought to the programme by Gian Singh's son who lives in the city. Although the programme's medal expert Mark Smith valued the group at around a quarter of a million pounds, the son of Gian Singh stated he would never sell it and therefore it would be returned to its bank vault.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 22 May 1945 ], Kamye-Myingyan Road, Burma, 2 March 1945, Naik Gian Singh, 4th Battalion, 15th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army.

In Burma, on 2nd March 1945, the Japanese were holding a strong position astride the Kamye-Myingyan road. Two Companies of the 15th Punjab Regiment carried out successfully a wide encircling movement and established themselves on some high ground about one and a half miles in the rear of this enemy position. As all water supply points were within the enemy position it was vital that he should be dislodged.

The attack on to the first objective was successful and one platoon was ordered to attack a village to the right. This platoon's attack, with the aid of tanks, advanced slowly under very heavy enemy fire. Naik Gian Singh was in command of the leading section.

The enemy were well concealed in foxholes along cactus hedges and Naik Gian Singh soon observed enemy some twenty yards ahead.

Ordering his Light Machine Gunner to cover him, he, alone, rushed the enemy foxholes, firing his Tommy gun. He was met by a hail of fire and wounded in the arm. In spite of this he continued his advance alone, hurling grenades. He killed several Japanese including four in one of the enemy main weapon pits.

By this time a troop of tanks moved up in support of this platoon and came under fire from a cleverly concealed enemy anti-tank gun.

Naik Gian Singh quickly saw the danger to the tanks and, ignoring the danger to himself and in spite of his wounds, again rushed forward, killed the crew and captured the gun single-handed. His section followed him and he then led them down a lane of cactus hedges, clearing all enemy positions which were being firmly held. Some twenty enemy bodies were found in this area, the majority of which fell to Naik Gian Singh and his section.

After this action, the Company reformed to take the enemy positions to the rear. Naik Gian Singh was ordered to the Regimental Aid Post but, in spite of his wounds, requested permission to lead his section until the whole action had been completed. This was granted.

There is no doubt that these acts of supreme gallantry saved Naik Gian Singh's platoon many casualties and enabled the whole operation to be carried out successfully with severe losses to the enemy. The magnificent gallantry of this Naik throughout, his devotion to duty and leadership, although wounded, could not have been surpassed.

Gian Singh was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 16th October 1945.


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Iain Stewart, 18 September 2023