Karam Singh

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Lance Naik Karam Singh.jpg

Lance Naik Karam Singh, was born on 15 September 1915 in Barnala, Punjab . He is a Indian military war hero who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra India's highest wartime military award in 1948.

Karam Singh retired from Indian Army as Honorary Captain. He is survived by his wife Gurdial Kaur.

Military career

He was enrolled in the 1st batallion of Sikh Regiment on 15 September 1941. Karam Singh fought for India in World War II and was awarded Military Medal on 14 March 1944. Karam Singh earned his Param Vir Chakra for his gallant action in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

Battle Background: In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, India and Pakistan held battles for securing position in the Tithwal sector. India captured Tithwal on 23 May 1948[1] but subsequently lost hold of the position because of strong counter-attack by the Pakistani troops. Between May and October 1948, the two troops were engaged in multiple battles to secure Tithwal. Company Havildar Major Piru Singh Shekhawat showed extreme bravery in a battle near River Krishnaganga between 17/18 July 1948 and was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Heroic Performance: In October 1948, Pakistan troops launched an attack with the objective of capturing Richhmar Gali to the south of Tithwal and occupy Nastachur Pass to the east of Tithwal. Lance Naik Karam Singh was commanding a forward outpost in the Richhmar Gali area when the enemy launched the attack. During the initial attacks, all the bunkers in the platoon area were destroyed by enemy's heavy shelling. The communication to the command was also destroyed and hence Karam Singh was unable to update his position or ask for reinforcements. Although wounded, he brought back two injured comrades to the frontline with the help of a third mate to the main company position and defended Richhmar Gali.

Twice wounded by the fifth enemy attack, Lance Naik Karam Singh refused evacuation and continued to hold on to the first-line trenches. When the enemy soldiers secured a position close to the frontline, Karam Singh jumped out of his trench and bayoneted the two intruders to death. This bold action so demoralised the enemy that they broke off the attack. In all the outpost was attacked eight times on that day and the Sikhs repulsed the enemy every time. For his outstanding role in the battle of Tithwal, he was honoured with the highest wartime gallantry medal, Param Vir Chakra. Karam Singh was the second recipient of the Param Vir Chakra.

Indian Army celebrates the Battles of Tithwal each year - Liberation of Tithwal on 23 May[1] and Battle of Tithwal (Richmar Gali)[2]

Citation

The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:[3] LANCE NAIK KARAM SINGH 1 SIKH (NO-22356)

Tithwal in Jammu and Kashmir was captured on 23 May 1948. After that date, the enemy made numerous attempts to recapture Richmar Gali, and thence Tithwal. On 13 October 1948, coinciding with Id, the enemy decided to launch a brigade attack to retake Richmar Gali, and bypassing Tithwal, advance into the Srinagar Valley . Lance Naik Karam Singh was commanding a section at Richmar Gali.

The enemy commenced its attack with heavy shelling of guns and mortars. The fire was so accurate that not a single bunker in the platoon locality was left unscathed.

Communication trenches caved in. Bravely, Lance Naik karam Singh went from bunker to bunker, giving succor to the wounded and urging the men to fight.

The enemy launched eight separate attacks that day. In one such attack, the enemy managed to obtain a foothold in the platoon locality. Immediately, Lance Naik Karam Singh, who was severely wounded by then, with a few men, hurled himself in a counter-attack and evicted the enemy after a close quarter encounter which accounted for many enemy dead, having been dispatched by the bayonet.

Lance Naik Karam Singh proved himself to be a dauntless leader of men in crisis. Nothing could subdue him and no amount of fire or hardship could break his spirit.