Soldiers and army professionals are often less talked about in the Independent India. The mention of those who served in the British rule is fairly diminished. One such brave soldier was Sepoy Kamal Ram, who served the 3rd Battalion during the Second World War. Kamal Ram who was born on December 17, 1924.
Born to a Gurjar family in Rajasthan, Kamal was sent to the forces at a very young age. At the young age of 19, he, as part of the battalion, assaulted the formidable German defenses of Gustav Line in Italy.
On 12th May 1944, yHis Company had successfully crossed the River Gari but their advance was held up by heavy fire from German machine-gun posts.
In response to his Company Commander’s request for a volunteer to silence a specific machine-gun post, The brave kamal Ram single-handedly silenced the officers at flanks and succeeded in doing so. He showed sheer bravery, killing one German officer with a Bayonet and shooting another. This behavior with very minimal training at such a young age was a surprise for the empire.
Sepoy Ram attacked and successfully captured the post after killing the crew.
He then proceeded to attack and capture two more machine-gun posts and in the process killed several of the enemies and forced the rest to surrender.
He went on to receive the Victoria Cross for his achievements. Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration in the British Empire. Till date, 1358 Victoria Cross have been awarded.
Sepoy kamal Ram receiving Victorian Cross:
Sepoy Kamal Ram, (the youngest VC recipient of India-later Major) and his 3/8 Punjabis were ‘missing’ at the time of the arrival of the NEWS! [then Colonel, after securing Point 63 Kamal Ram had been injured during Bastiola offensive, recovered soon and re-joined the 3/8 Punjab].
They were somewhere in the extensive line of communication. So the Major had only a few days before King’s arrival and however he had to ‘present’ Kamal Ram in the Ceremony. Messages had been despatched in every possible way and directions to ‘get’ him since everyone was eager to find Kamal! But it wasn’t untill the evening before the ‘D-Day’. The Major ‘worked a lot’ in that evening teaching his ‘boy’ since Kamal was unversed in the rituals!
He was the second youngest Indian to receive this award and won it at the rank of Sepoy. After the 1944 war, he was promoted to the rank of Subedar.
He was presented with this award by King George VI in Italy. His award still lays in display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum in London. The Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum holds the largest collection of these Victorian Crosses with 210 of them in the display as of 2010.