A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the Indian Army for the Burma Campaign 1944-45

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Date of Auction: 22nd July 2016

Sold for £1,900

Estimate: £600 - £800

A scarce Second World War Burma operations M.M. awarded to Dafadar Badan Singh, ‘C’ Squadron, 16th Light Cavalry, Indian Armoured Corps, who won an immediate award for knocking out an enemy tank at Pyawbe in April 1945 and killing nine of the enemy

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (A-1451 Dfr. Badan Singh, I.A.C.), officially impressed naming, edge bruise and contact marks to obverse, very fine £600-800

Footnote

Just 37 M.Ms were awarded to the Indian Armoured Corps in the 1939-45 War, 22 of them for Burma and three of them to the 16th Light Cavalry.

M.M.
London Gazette 20 September 1945. The original recommendation - for an immediate award - states:

‘At 1430 hours on 10 April 1945, on the outskirts of Yamethin, an armoured car patrol was moving into the town from the north-west. The leading armoured car was under the command of war substantive Dafadar Badan Singh. The patrol engaged soem enemy infantry in dug-in positions, when suddenly from a flank, behind cover about 200 yards away, an enemy medium tank appeared and fired with its gun at Dafadar Badan Singh’s car. These shells were close misses. Realising the position, Dafadar Badan Singh immediately closed the range by advancing towards the tank and shot at it with his 37mm. gun. His first shell, which was High Explosive, blinded the enemy’s vision. His next shell, which was Armour Piercing, penetrated the enemy tank causing it to explode. The tank having been knocked-out, its crew and some infantry behind the tank broke and were engaged by Dafadar Badan Singh with his co-axial automatic. He killed nine.

By his extremely bold and quick action, taken with no regard for his personal safety, he masked and destroyed an enemy weapon which constituted a great danger to his own troop. The moral effect of the tank’s destruction turned what might have been a serious situation into a decisive success and enabled the recce. of Yameethin to be continued unhampered.’

Badan Singh was a Hindu Jat from the village of Noorpur in Hapur district, Meerut. The 16th Light Cavalry (I.A.C.), equipped with Humber Mark IV armoured cars, arrived at the Irrawaddy bridgehead in time for the advance of February 1945. Thereafter, its cars were in action daily, probing and skirmishing ahead of 17th Indian Division, and the Shermans of Probyn’s and the Deccan Horse.

Badan Singh received the riband of his M.M. from the C.-in-C. India at Rangoon on 31 July 1945, followed by the Medal itself at a Regimental Reunion Parade in March 1947.