Police Awards From the Collection of John Tamplin

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Date of Auction: 2nd April 2003

Sold for £380

Estimate: £350 - £400

An Indian Police Medal for Gallantry awarded to Constable Ghulum Murtaza Nawabkhan, Nawabshah District Police, Sind

Indian Police Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue, For Gallantry (Ghulum Murtaza Nawabkhan, Constable Buckle No. 135, Sind) nearly very fine £350-400

Footnote

I.P.M. (for Gallantry) Gazette of India 29 June 1946. The following joint citation also covered the award of the King’s Police Medal for Gallantry to Totekhan Bachagul (deceased), a Bar to the I.P.M. to Mahomed Saleh Mirzakhan Dahraj, and a further I.P.M. to Lachman Singh Jangisingh:

‘A gang of desperate Hur outlaws, who were well-armed with shotguns, rifles and a sten-gun, committed a series of dacoities in the south of the district of Nawabshah on the night of 31st December 1945. The gang was followed up by a combined force of Sind Police Rifles and District Police and, after nearly 48 hours, a small party of four armed policemen established contact with the outlaws at about 6.15 p.m. on the banks of the Nasrat Canal about 22 miles north of Nawabshaw. In a brief engagement which followed, three out of the four policemen were seriously wounded, but a small force of the Sind Police Rifles, which was following up in support of the tracking party, soon arrived on the scene and attacked the outlaws who by this time had taken up a very strong position in a deep watercourse with trees, scrub-jungle and broken ground on three sides and open fields on the fourth. The initial attack gradually pressed the outlaws back into the wooded country immediately east of the Nasrat Canal, but they resisted stoutly and succeeded in inflicting further casualties on our forces.

‘The Mounted Wing Commander who was now in command of the operation, realising that the light was failing and that his forces were not adequate to keep the dacoits hemmed in after dark, pressed the attack with the utmost vigour and forced them to retreat still further. It was quite impossible to bring effective fire to bear on them from any position outside the watercourse, which was very narrow and permitted of movement in single-file only. When the attack was thus held up, Lance-Naik Totekhan regardless of his personal safety, dashed forward under extremely heavy fire from the outlaws and rushed up the bank of the watercourse in close proximity to the position which they were holding. As he reached the top of the bank, he was shot dead at point-blank range with a burst of sten-gun fire. It was no doubt a singularly courageous act.

‘During the course of the battle, Inspector Mahomed Saleh, who in 1943 had lost a leg in a previous encounter with Hurs, mounted his horse and rode round in full view and within close range of the position which the outlaws had taken up, encouraging and cheering on his men. He also undertook to check the cordon formed round the outlaws and finally crept up under fire to report to the Mounted Wing Commander of the Sind Police Rifles. The calm and collected manner in which he acted throughout the action excited great admiration from all ranks.

‘Constable Ghulam Murtaza, together with two of his comrades and a mounted constable who was with the tracking party, immediately closed with the dacoits and engaged them at close range, thereby saving the tracking party from being exterminated. The outlaws immediately took cover in a narrow and deep watercourse in wooded and broken country east of the canal. In the encounter Constable Ghulam Murtaza was disabled by a rifle bullet which fractured his right thigh.

‘When the outlaws took cover in a narrow and deep watercourse, it was impossible to bring effective fire to bear on them. Lachman Singh was ordered to enter the watercourse and engage the outlaws at close quarters. He dauntlessly did so under heavy fire. He was wounded by a rifle bullet which fractured his right arm.’

There were also five Commendations for Brave Conduct given on the same occasion