Hoshiar Singh Rathi

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Brigadier Hoshiar Singh

Brigadier Hoshiar Singh (b:1916-d:27.11.1962) is the hero of Indo-China war of 1962, during which he sacrificed his life, fighting against the Chinese invading troops.

Early life

He was born in village Sankhol, near Bahadurgarh, in a Rathee Jat family. This village was part of Rohtak district in undivided Punjab. Now it is part of Jhajjar district of Haryana.

Career in Army

He joined the Rajputana Rifles as a recruit in October 1934 when he was barely 18 years old. He was promoted to the rank of Jamadar in December 1940. As a Junior Commissioned Officer [when known as VCO] he served with distinction in the Middle East with 4th Battalion [Outram's] . The Rajputana Rifles and won the IOM, IDSM and CROIX DE GUERRE [French Decoration] for bravery on the Battle field. He was twice mentioned in despatches for meritorious service. In 1941 he was selected for a commission and passed out from the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.

Indo China war

When the Chinese began their massive invasion of NEFA and the situation over there was precarious,the forty six yeas old Brigadier Hoshiar Singh was selected at a short notice to take over the command of 62 Infantry Brigade at Seila on 28 (29) October 1962. Under his able leadership, the Brigade held up the enemy's advance for three days. It was only on receipt of orders from higher headquarters, that he reluctantly pulled out his Brigade and started the withdrawal. In the meantime,the Chinese had declared an unilateral ceasefire and the Brigadier and his party were withdrawing they were treacherously ambushed by the Chinese on 27 November 1962 and the gallant Brigadier fell to a Chinese bullet.

Honour

After his martyrdom, the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, along with then Chief Minister of Punjab, Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon, personally went to Sankhol village to pay homage to the departed martyr and convey their condolences to his parents.

There is a stadium in Bahadurgarh in his name.

Brigadier Hoshiar Singh

Ram Sarup Joon[1] writes ....Brigadier Hoshiar Singh, IOM, IDSM Rathi, Village Sankhol, District Jhajjar joined the Rajputana Rifles as a recruit in October 1934 when he was barely 18 years old. He was promoted to the rank of Jamadar in December 1940. As a Junior Commissioned Officer [when known as VCO] he served with distinction in the Middle East with 4th Battalion [Outram's] . The Rajputana Rifles and won the IOM, IDSM and CROIX DE GUERRE [French Decoration] for bravery on the Battle field. He was twice mentioned in despatches for meritorious service. In 1941 he was selected for a commission and passed out from the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.

Personal Account by Brigadier [then Jamadar] Hoshiar Singh of his escape from Mezze:

Colonel JONES sent for me at about 1900 hrs. 19th June and told me that he had a special job for me. After giving me a peg of whisky he explained the whole situation as he wanted a verbal message to be sent to the Brigade. The Brigade Major preferred a written


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message and wrote down the whole situation, avoiding words which might give information to the enemy, as he thought that my escape was impossible . Two other Officers and 2/Lt Cordwell were to accompany me. The three of us equipped ourselves with a water bottle and a revolver and decided to leave the perimeter as soon as it was dark.


At 2045 hrs after saying goodbye to all we got outside the perimeter through a hole in the wall and crept into adjoining garden. I decided to swim across a stream which ran along side the western perimeter wall. A tank was just on our left and when it was busy in firing at the wall, we got into an outer garden. Creeping along the garden wall we got into the village itself. There were not many enemy in the village, but the tanks, armoured cars and infantry were patrolling in the streets and bigger lanes.

After crossing the main street we got on the roof of a low house and jumped down into a narrow lane. Unfortunately as I got down I hurt my right leg and for some time it seemed as if I would be unable to walk. But leaning on my companions, we turned our course towards the woods. All the time we kept along the walls, but before reaching a garden wall an enemy post was encountered and the sentry fired a rifle from about 20 yards. None of us were hit and we ran back. we tried another way and this was safe.Having got over the wall into a garden we quenched our thirst and thought ourselves a bit safer. It was now 2200 hrs. we could hear tremendous firing behind us and could actually see a counter attack on the 2/1st Punjab Company on the hill. The three of us felt almost happy. at 2325 hrs we left the garden and struck into the open, making steady progress along the hills. Nothing important happened until we reached the area where we expected to meet the Royal Fusiliers Company at 0330 hours. 2/Lieut Cordwell called out 'Fusiliers', 'Fusiliers' but nobody replied. We decided to continue our march to Brigade Headquarters, still two miles further on. Fortunately,


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on our way we found a truck and reported to the staff captain at 0300 hrs.

The Brigadier arrived and took immediate steps to send help to the besieged garrison.

The Indian Order of Merit [2nd Class] :

Extracts from citation for the above award to Brigadier [then Jemadar] Hoshiar Singh :

"This Viceroy's Commissioned Officer was conspicuous for his gallantry and devotion to duty when acting as Intelligence Jemadar during operations from 7th Feb 1941 to 27 Mar 1941. Apart from a fierce battle fought at such a high altitude in military history his normal duties of guiding the battalion during many moves by and night which duties he carried out calmly and confidently he did invaluable work in collecting scattered portions of the battalion during a night attack on 7th/8th Feb, and in observing and reporting on the situation,

He established an Observation Post after the capture of 'B' Company's objective and remained there in observation returning with valuable information only after 'B' Company had been forced to withdraw.

Jemadar Hoshiar Singh again manned an Observation Post during an attack on the 15th Mar 1941 and maintained his position and continued to send valuable information even though his O.P received a direct hit from an Artillery shell. During an attack on the 16th March 1041, he was again conspiccous in his efforts to ascertain the situation, and his services were invaluable in guiding the battalion when it withdrew from its position.

His calm, confident bearing and disregard for personal danger under fire were outstanding throughout


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and were a great encouragement to all who saw him."

Brigadier Hoshiar Singh and Chinese War: When the Chinese began their massive invasion of NEFA and the situation over there was precarious,the forty six yeas old Brigadier Hoshiar Singh was selected at a short notice to take over the command of 62 Infantry Brigade at Seila on 28 (29) October 1962. Under his able leadership, the Brigade held up the enemy's advance for three days. It was only on receipt of orders from higher headquarters, that he reluctantly pulled out his Brigade and started the withdrawal. In the meantime,the Chinese had declared an unilateral ceasefire and the Brigadier and his party were withdrawing they were treacherously ambushed by the Chinese on 27 November 1962 and the gallant Brigadier fell to a Chinese bullet.

References

  1. Ram Sarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter XIII, pp. 236-239

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