Jemadar Amar Singh

The Only Indian AA Gunner to win the Military Cross

India Command had one of the largest concentrations of AA Artillery in the world during 1942-1944.

The AA defences in India were second, in numbers, only to the Homeland defences of Great Britain. Of the AA formations in India and Ceylon, three of the seven AA Brigades were from Indian Artillery, viz, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Indian AA Brigades.

The AA Regiments and batteries participated in operations from Addu Attol in the Maldives to Singapore in the Far East, besides being deployed in India, Ceylon and Burma. The AA gunners acquitted themselves well during the war and won many gallantry awards but sadly enough no Indian AA Gunner from Indian Artillery won the Military Cross. Indian Artillery was awarded three Military Crosses, all in Malaya- Singapore, but the three recipients, Lieutenant John Ashcroft Hopson of 1st Indian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment and Lieutenant F. D. Webber & 2/Lt Lancelot Lester Nash of 3rd Indian Anti-Aircraft Battery, were British officers with Indian AA Regiments. No Indian gunner of Indian Anti-Aircraft Artillery was awarded the MC. It was however awarded to an Indian VCO( Viceroy Commissioned Officer) of the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery (HKSRA) in 1942.

Jemadar Amar Singh was a VCO with the 2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the HKSRA and was in command of a 40 mm AA Gun at Police Barracks, Mount Pleasant.

On 13 February 1942, this gun position was subjected to persistent and repeated bombing and machine gun attacks by Japanese aircraft throughout the day.

Jemadar Amar Singh continued to command his gun in a cool manner, never giving up any opportunity to engage the attacking Japanese aircraft and was successfully able to bring down at least one aircraft; and damaged several more.

His actions were an inspiration not only to his troop but the neighbouring units as well.

for his cat of gallantry, Jemadar Amar Singh was awarded the Military Cross.

(Reference- London Gazette dated 13 December 1945 and WO 373/47/201 of National Archives, Kew)

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