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Sikh Regiment.
Regimental Headquarters: Ramgarh Cantonment, Bihar.

The Sikh Regiment is one of the highest decorated regiments of the Indian Army, with 72 Battle Honours, 15 Theater Honours and 5 COAS Unit Citations besides 2 PVCs, 14 MVCs, 5 KCs, 67 VrCs and 1596 other gallantry awards. The history of the Regiment spans 154 years with heroic deeds of valour and courage which have few parallels if any.


Regimental Insignia: A lion, symbolic of the name Singh that all Sikhs have encircled with a sharp-edged
Quoit or Chakra.

Regimental Motto: Nischey Kar Apni Jeet Karon (I Fight For Sure To Win).

Battle Cry: Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal (He who cries God is Truth, is ever victorious).


Regimental Battalions: 2nd Battalion ,3rd Battalion, 4th Battalion, 5th Battalion, 6th Battalion, 7th Battalion
8th Battalion ,10th Battalion, 11th Battalion, 13th Battalion, 14th Battalion, 16th Battalion, 17th Battalion 18th Battalion 19th Battalion ,20th Battalion, 21st Battalion, 22nd Battalion. 9th Battalion - Disbanded in 1984

Battle Honours: Burki, OP Hill, Parbat Ali, Srinagar, Tithwal, Raja Picquet, Siramani and Punch

Honours & Awards:

2 Param Vir Chakras,
2 Ashok Chakras,
14 Maha Vir Chakras,
14 Kirti Chakras,
64 Vir Chakras,
15 Shaurya Chakras,
75 Sena Medals
25 Vishisht Seva Medals.
 
Although the Regiment's official history dates back to 1846, the biological heritage has its roots in the noble teachings and sacrifices made by the ten Gurus. The Sikh Regiment of today has imbibed the culture and chivalry of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh's erstwhile Khalsa Army. The ethos and traditions of the Regiment got formalised with the raising of 'Regiment of Ferozepore Sikhs' and Regiment of Ludhiana Sikhs' on 01 August 18446 by Captain G. Tebbs and Lieutenant Colonel P. Gordon respectively. A major portion of the substance of the Regiment traces its origins to Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Army. With a humble beginning of two battalions in 1846, today the Sikh fraternity has grown 20 battalions strong.
The battle of Saragarhi fought by 36th Sikh (now 4 Sikh) in 1897, is an epitome of Valour, Courage, Bravery and Sacrifice. Havildar Issar Singh with 21 Other Ranks made the supreme sacrifice repulsing 10,000 of the enemy. This sacrifice was recognised by the British Parliament, when it rose to pay its respects to these brave young soldiers. All 22 were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM), the then highest decoration for the Indian soldiers. This 'Kohinoor' of the Sikh Regiment is one of the ten most famous battles of the world. Even to this date, this battle forms part of the school curriculum in France. 12 September 1897, the day of the Battle of Saragarhi is celebrated as the Regimental Battle Honours Day.

Lance Naik Karam Singh, 1st Sikh, was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra for the Regiment in 1948, with Subdedar Joginder Singh, also from 1st Sikh, being the second recipient to get the Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous) for the Regiment in 1962.

Lance Naik Karam Singh was born on 15 September 1915, in Barnala, Punjab. He was enrolled in 1 Sikh on 15 September 1941. He had earned a Military Medal in World War II. During the Jammu & Kashmir operations in the summer of 1948 the Indian Army made substantial gains in the Tithwal sector. The led to the capture of Tithwal of 23 May 1948. The enemy fled in utter confusion across the Kishanganga after dumping their arms and equipment in the river. But the enemy quickly recovered from this shock. They re-organised their forces and mounted a strong counter-attack to recover the lost ground. As a result, the Indian Army could not withstand the enemy pressure and withdrew from their positions across the Kishanganga river. Finally, they settled on the Tithwal ride to take on the enemy.

The battle of Tithwal went on for months. The enemy could not, however, make a dent on the Indian defences. On October 13th, they launched a desperate attack in brigade strength to evict the Indian Army from their strongly held positions. The objective was to recapture Richhmar Gali to the south of Tithwal and to outflank the Indian Army by marching on to Nastachur Pass to the east of Tithwal. Both attempts failed. During this attack, some bitter fighting took place in the Richhmar Gali area on the night of October 13th. The attack commenced with heavy shelling of guns and mortar.

     

The fire was so devastating that nearly all bunkers in the platoon area were damaged. In this action the 1 Sikh played a very important role in beating back the enemy onslaught. Lance Naik Karam Singh was commanding a forward outpost when the enemy launched the attack. His post was attacked by the enemy in vastly superior strength. The outpost was attacked eight times and the Sikhs repulsed the enemy every time. When ammunition ran short, Lance Naik Karam Singh joined the main company position, knowing fully well that due to the heavy enemy shelling no help would be forthcoming. Although himself wounded, he brought back two injured comrades with the help of a third mate.

Ringed by enemy fire, it was almost impossible for them to break out. Ignoring all dangers, he crawled from placeto place encouraging his men to keep up the fight. Often he beat back the enemy with grenades. Twice wounded, he refused evacuation and continued to hold on to the first-line trenches. The fifth enemy attack was very intense. Two enemy soldiers came so close to his position that he could not engage them without hitting his men. Lance Naik Karam Singh, jumped out of his trench and bayoneted the two intruders to death. This bold action so demoralised the enemy that they broke off the attack. Three more enemy attacks which followed were also repulsed by Lance Naik Karam Singh and his men. Lance Naik Karam Singh was an inspiration to his comrades and a threat to the enemy. He was honoured with the highest wartime gallantry medal, Param Vir Chakra, for his outstanding role in the battle of Tithwal.

With 73 Battle Honours, the largest collection of Victoria Crosses-Param Vir Chakras and equivalent, the Saga of Saragarhi, the young soldiers of the Sikh Regiment are proud to wear the regimental colours of India's highest decorated regiment. Since it’s raising more than 150 years ago, the regiment has been in the vanguard of various actions and operations both in the pre and post-independence era in India and abroad.

The Battle of Saragarhi fought by men of 36th Sikhs in 1897, is an epitome of raw courage, sheer grit and unshakable determination. Saragarhi was a small signaling post located between Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan on the Samana Ridge in the N.W.F.P. On September 12, 1897 about 10,000 Afridis and Orakazais tribesmen swarmed towards Saragarhi, while another group cut off all links from Forts Gulistan and Lockhart.

For the next six hours the small detachment of 22 men led by Havildar Ishar Singh stood firm and repulsed all attacks. With passage of time the ranks of the Sikhs started getting thinner and their ammunition was running out. But they never faltered and continued to punish the enemy. The enemy succeeded in making a large breach in the outer wall and swarmed in, the Sikhs fought to the last man.

When the news of the battle reached London, the British Parliament rose to give a standing ovation. All the 22 men were given the posthumous award of Indian Order of Merit, Class 1, (IOM). This was the highest gallantry award given to Indian ranks in those days and was equivalent to the Victoria Cross. All dependants were given two squares of land and Rs. 500 as financial assistance and memorials were built at Ferozepore and Amritsar. The award of so many posthumous IOMs to a single group of men in one day was something unheard of and remains unparalleled in the annals of military history. After Saragarhi the tribesmen then attacked Fort Gulistan, which was held by 160 men of 36th Sikh. The fort held out until relief arrived. A group of Sikh soldiers in a daredevil attack managed to capture 3 Afghan standards ( flags). 30 IDSM's were won by the defenders of Fort Gulistan.In 1901 another battalion, composed entirely of Jat Sikhs was raised and it came to be known as 47th Sikhs (later 5 Sikh).

World War 1

During WW1 the Sikh battalions fought in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gallipoli and France. The 14th Ferozepore Sikhs were in Gallipoli in April 1915 and fought in a number of battles in the Gallipoli campaign . After Gallipoli the battalion was in the Persian Gulf region and took part in some fierce fighting on the Tigris River. The 15th Ludhiana Sikhs were in France in September 1914 and participated in fighting at Fauquissart, Festubert and Neuve Chapelle.


World War 2

 

To over come the heavy demands of manpower six new battalions of the Sikh Regiment were raised. They being 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 25th . Out of the old battalions 1st and 5th saw action in Burma and three others, 2nd, 3rd and 4th fought in the Middle East.

1st Sikh landed in Rangoon in February 1942 and took part in some fierce fighting but the Japanese had built up their strength in the area and pushed the British forces to the Indian border. The battalion was rested and refitted and was back in the war zone on the Indo-Burma border. On March 11, 1943 the battalion was the advance party along the Maungdaw-Buthidaung road. The Japanese were holding a knife-edge hill feature and putting up stiff resistance. The only way to approach the hill was by means of a narrow track. On this track leading the attack was the section commanded by Naik Nand Singh. When the section reached the crest it came under heavy machinegun fire and every man in the section was killed or wounded. Naik Nand Singh dashed forward alone, he was wounded by a grenade as he neared the first Japanese trench. He took out his bayonet and killed the two occupants. Under heavy fire Nand Singh jumped up and charged the second trench, he was again wounded by a grenade and knocked down, but he got up and hurled himself into the trench again killing two Japanese with his bayonet.

     

He then moved on to the third trench and captured it single-handed. With the capture of the third trench the enemy fire started to die away and the rest of the platoon charged the other Japanese positions, killing with bayonet and grenade thirty seven out of the forty Japanese holding it. Naik Nand Singh wounded six times in the assault literally carried the position single-handed. For his valour an immediate award of Victoria Cross was bestowed upon him. The company commander Maj. John Brough was awarded the DSO and the platoon commander Jemadar Mehr Singh the IOM. Two IDSMs were also awarded for this attack .

The battalion then moved to Imphal and took part in the famous battle at Kanglatongbi. After this battle the battalion was among the vanguard in pushing the Japanese back and recapturing Rangoon. During the Second World War the battalions of the Sikh Regiment won 27 battle honours.

India-Pakistan War 1965

Ten battalions of the Sikh Regiment saw action in the 1965 war. In a bid to seal off routes of infiltrations for the Pakistanis in J & K, 1 Sikh who were in the Tithwal sector attacked Pakistani positions . A company lead by Major Somesh Kapur captured Richhmar Ridge on 24 August 1965 and then attacked and captured the Pir Sahiba feature on the night of 25/26 August. From this feature the Indian troops could now overlook an extensive area under Pakistan control. Through out September, Pakistani troops tried hard to recapture this feature but were unsuccessful. 1 Sikh received 3 Vir Chakras ( Major Somesh Kapur and L/ Havildar Gurdev Singh and Sepoy Gurmel Singh (posth.)) for these operations . 3 Sikh were in the Keren -Kishanganga sector. A platoon of 22 men under Subedar Sunder Singh withstood attempts by Pakistanis to capture the Pharkian Ki Gali feature. In the end of September the Sikhs blew up the Shahkot Bridge.

India-Pakistan War 1971

A number of Sikh battalions fought during the 1971 war, most of them on the Western Front. 8 Sikh were in the Uri sector and 9 Sikh in the nearby Tangdhar sector. Two companies of 9 Sikh attacked and captured Thanda Pani and Kaiyan on 5 December night. The battalion then captured some more positions. At one stage they had advanced so rapidly that they went beyond artillery range. When the Sikhs came under Pakistani fire, they manhandled a medium gun over the mountains to take on the enemy by direct fire. On 14 December, 9 Sikh then cleared the heights dominating Naukot.

2 Sikh were in the Lahore sector and part of the battalion was defending the Ranian Post , which the Pakistanis seemed determined to capture. They attacked the post repeatedly on 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th December, but each time they were beaten back. At the start of the war the Pakistanis had managed to capture the village of Pulkanjri and had sited 12 BMG's and some 3.5 inch rocket launchers around it.

On December 17th and 18th, 2 Sikh attacked and recaptured the Pulkanjri village. During this attack L/Naik Shangara Singh displayed conspicuous gallantry in clearing two machinegun posts which were holding the attack up. Shangara Singh dashed through a minefield and hurled a grenade at one of the post. He then charged the second gun and leaping over the loophole he snatched the gun from its occupants. As he stood with the gun in his hands he received a fatal burst in his abdomen and fell to the ground with the gun still in his hand. He was awarded a posthumous Maha Vir Chakra. N/ Sub. Gian Singh received a posthumous Vir Chakra. The Pakistanis tried to recapture the Pulkanjri village using a company of 43 Punjab and two companies of 15 Punjab. The Sikhs stood firm and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy's 15 Punjab. In a local counter attack they captured 1 officer and 8 OR's of 43 Punjab and 4 OR's of 15 Punjab. 19 Sikh was in the Ajnala area and captured the border post Budhai Chima on the night of December 5/6.

10 Sikh was in Rajasthan along the Nayachor axis. On December 11, they were part of a brigade attack along with 2 Mahar and 10 Sikh LI to capture Parbat Ali a feature which dominated both the main road and railway line to Nayachor and it was turned into a formidable defensive position by the enemy. In a grim battle working with bayonets and going from trench to trench the feature was cleared by the morning of 13 December. 10 Sikh won 6 Vir Chakras (Major Amrik Singh, Sub.Gurcharn Singh (posth.), Naik Gurjant Singh (posth.), L/Naik Harbhajan Singh, Sep. Mohan Singh) and 3 Sena Medals along with the battle honour Parbat Ali . 4 Sikh fought in the Eastern sector on the Jessore front. The battalion cleared the village of Burinda, which then opened the road to Jessore. The battalion then continued the advance to Khulna and on December 16, attackedShyamganj and captured it. Naik Mohinder Singh won a posthumous Vir Chakra and the battalion received the battle honour Siramani .

1999 Kargil Conflict

During the Kargil Conflict of 1999, two battalions, 8 Sikh and 14 Sikh were inducted into operations. 8 Sikh were tasked to capture Tiger Hill. By 21st May, the 8 Sikh had isolated Tiger Hill from three directions, east,north and south. In order to inflict casualties the enemy positions on Tiger Hill were subjected to artillery and mortar fire. A fresh battalion, 18 Grenadiers was brought in to capture the peak with 8 Sikh holding the firm base. On the night of July 3rd, 18 Grenadiers captured the eastern slope but further advance was held up due to effective enemy fire from Helmet Top, India Gate features on the western slope.
The Regimental motto is the vow taken by Guru Gobind Singh, "Nische kar apni jeet karon" - with determination, I'll fetch triumph. The Regimental March is a hymn written by Guru Gobind Singh during the Battle of Chamkaur, "De shiva bar mohey ehai" and the battle cry is "Bole so nihal, sat sri akal".

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