Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 - 21 June 2013)

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Date of Auction: 19th - 21st June 2013

Sold for £3,800

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

An M.S.M., Great War and Third Afghan War group of three awarded to Jemadar Lala, V.C., 41st Dogras, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross for his ‘magnificent courage’ in rescuing two wounded officers at El Orah, Mesopotamia, in January 1916 - so, too, with the 1st Class of the Russian Cross of St. George

British War Medal 1914-20 (501 L.-Nk. Lala, 41-Dogras); India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, Afghanistan N.W.F. 1919 (501 Hav. Lala, 41-Dogras); Indian Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (501 Havr. Lala, 3-17 Dogra R.), generally very fine (3) £4000-5000


Lala was born at Parol, Hamirpur District, in April 1876, and entered the Indian Army in February 1901. Gaining advancement to Lance-Naik in the 41st Dogras, he saw action out in France in 1914, where he suffered from trench feet and was invalided to the famous hospital for Indian troops in Brighton, Sussex. Embarked thence for Egypt, he served on guard duties on the Suez Canal, following which he was ordered with his regiment to Mesopotamia, where he won the V.C. for the following deeds at El Orah on 21 January 1916:

‘For most conspicuous bravery. Finding a British officer of another regiment lying close to the enemy, he dragged him into a temporary shelter, which he himself had made, and in which he had already bandaged four wounded men. After bandaging his wounds he heard calls from the Adjutant of his own regiment, who was lying in the open severely wounded. The enemy were not more than one hundred yards distant, and it seemed certain death to go out in that direction, but Lance-Naik Lala insisted on going out to his Adjutant, and offered to crawl back with him on his back at once. When this was not permitted, he stripped off his own clothing to keep the wounded officer warmer, and stayed with him till just before dark, when he returned to the shelter. After dark he carried the first wounded officer back to the main trenches, and then, returning with a stretcher, carried back his Adjutant. He set a magnificent example of courage and devotion to his officers’ (London Gazette 13 May 1916 refers).

Lala, who was also awarded the 1st Class of the Russian Cross of St. George (AO 1065 of 1917 refers), saw further action as a Havildar in 41st Dogras in the Third Afghan War, and was later awarded the M.S.M. in the re-numbered 3-17 Dogras, in addition to gaining advancement to Jemadar. Lala died at Parol Village in March 1927.

Sold with a file of research.