Service No : IC23672
Place of birth : Amritsar (Punjab)
Service : Army
Last Rank : 2nd Lt
Unit : 9 Horse
Arm/Regt : The Armoured Corps
Martyrdom : December 5, 1971
2nd Lt Swaranjit Singh Gill hailed from Amritsar in Punjab and was born in the year 1949. Son of Sardar GS Gill, he had a younger brother KS Gill as his sibling. 2nd Lt Swaranjit always nursed the desire of serving in the Armed Forces since his younger days and eventually donned the Army uniform at the age of 20 years. He was commissioned into 9 Horse, an Armoured Regiment of the Armoured Corps.
9 Horse , also known as Deccan Horse was one of the oldest and most decorated armoured regiments of the Indian Army. During the 1965 war, the regiment with its Sherman tanks saw fierce action in the Khemkaran Sector. It was one of the main units responsible for creating the 'Patton Graveyard' of Pakistani tanks. The regiment won 24 decorations and the battle honours "Asal Uttar" and "Punjab 1965". During 1971, the Deccan Horse was operating T-54 tanks and was once again called to be at the forefront of the war when the balloon went up. At that time 2nd Lt SS Gill had recently joined the unit, but had soon gained confidence in varous tank operations.
Indo Pak War (Battle of Chhamb) : 04/05 Dec 1971
During 1971 war, 2nd Lt SS Gill's 9 Horse Regt was deployed in the western sector to thwart the advance of Pakistani forces. The Regiment was part of 10 Division of 15 Corps deployed in the Chhamb sector of J & K. In 1965, the Pakistanis had succeeded in capturing Chhamb with a surprise attack and in 1971 too, it was their one of the main objectives. 10 Division, under Major General Jaswant Singh, was deployed for the offensive and was fairly well-equipped, having four infantry brigades, two regiments of armour (9 Horse and 72 Armoured Regiment), two Engineer regiments, six regiments of artillery (two medium, three field and one light), besides elements of air defence and the usual ancillary units.
'A" Squadron of 9 Horse was functioning under the operational control of 191 Infantry Brigade, responsible for the Defence of Chhamb Sector, West of Munawar Tawi under the command of Brig RK Jasbir Singh. B" Squadron was operating under 68 Inf Bde which was Corps reserve under the command of Brig Tom Morlin. The 'C" Squadron of 9 Horse was operating under 52 Inf Bde, responsible for the Defence of Jaurian Sector, East of Munawar Tawi under the command of Brig KK Nayyer. On 4 December, the enemy forces attacked many Indian positions with armour and infantry in Chhamb sector. On the Dewa-Ghopar axis, in the North, six Pakistani tanks were knocked out , however, by midday, Mandiala North had fallen. That day several localities South and South-West of Chhamb were also overrun or ordered to withdraw. By the evening of 04 December, ‘B’ Squadron 72 Armoured Regiment which had been placed under Command 9H was deployed West of Tawi; two Troops on the Phagla ridge (5 SIKH) facing West and North-West, and the Squadron Headquarters with Two Troops in reserve at Chak Pandit. Tank Troop of ‘B’ Sqn 9H at Phagla rejoined the Sqn Hq at Mandiala South.
2nd Lt Swaranjit Singh Gill's brother Shri KS Gill and sister-in-law Smt Preeti Gill have converted their ancestral house into a cultural centre, named after the Majha region of Punjab. Located in the heart of Amritsar, Majha house was built on land given to the parents of 2nd Lt. Swaranjit Singh Gill. While the three-bedroom single-story house has been turned into a residency for writers and artists, the annexe at Majha House has been developed as a vibrant space for discussion, readings, performance and film screenings.