Service No: IC-14608
Date of Birth : May 5,1937
Birth Place: Sonipat, Haryana
Last Rank : Colonel
Unit : 3 Grenadiers
Arm/Regt : The Grenadiers
Operation: 1971 Cactus Lily
Awards: Param Vir Chakra
Date of Demise : Dec 6 ,1998
Col Hoshiar Singh was born on 5th May 1937 in a village of Sisana on Rohtak-Sonipat road. His father Chaudhary Hira Singh, was a respectable farmer and mother, Mathuri Devi, a kind-hearted housewife. Col Hoshiar Singh married Dhanno Devi while he was still studying in the 7th standard and had three sons. He completed his schooling in his hometown and after studying for one year at the Jat College in Rohtak, he joined the Indian Army.
On 30th June 1963, Col Hoshiar Singh was commissioned in the 3rd Grenadiers Regiment and was first posted in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). As a young officer he also participated in Indo-Pak war of 1965, but it was 1971 war where he proved his mettle and won the revered Param Vir Chakra.
Indo Pak War :15-16 Dec 1971
During the Indo-Pak war of 1971, the Grenadiers regiment was spearheading the Shakargarh area under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel V.P.Airy. On 15th December, Col Hoshiar Singh’s( Major at that time) regiment, the 3rd Grenadiers was assigned the task of establishing a bridgehead across the Basantar River in the Shakargarh Sector. Although this was not an easy task, as the river had deep minefields on both sides and was heavily guarded by the Pakistani army. Major Singh was the commanding officer of the C Company (left forward) which was instructed to capture the locality of Jarpal, held under Pakistani control.
As it was a heavily fortified enemy position, the company came under intense shelling and crossfire from medium machine guns. Undeterred, he led his troops and engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand fight. The enemy responded with three counterattacks on 16 December 1971, two of them supported by Armour. Despite the heavy bombardment and tank fire, the then Major Hoshiar Singh went from trench to trench, motivating his troops and encouraging his men to fight. Inspired by his courage and leadership, his company countered all the attacks and brought on heavy casualties on the enemy.
On 17 December 1971, the enemy made yet another attack with a battalion backed by heavy artillery fire. Major Hoshiar Singh was seriously wounded by the enemy fire, but unflinching, he went from trench to trench motivating his men. As he was encouraging his men, an enemy shell landed near the medium machine gun post injuring the crew and rendering it useless. Major Hoshiar Singh, realizing the importance of machine-gun fire, immediately rushed to the machine-gun pit and though seriously wounded himself, manned the gun inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.
The attack was successfully combated and the enemy retreated leaving behind 85 dead including their Commanding Officer and three other officers. Though seriously wounded, Major Hoshiar Singh refused to be evacuated till the ceasefire. Major Hoshiar Singh was awarded the nation’s highest gallantry award, “Param Vir Chakra” for his absolute bravery and steadfast devotion in the line of duty.
He retired from the army as Colonel and left for his heavenly abode on 6th December 1998. His bravery in the face of the enemy went above and beyond the call of duty and was an embodiment of a true soldier.
The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:
On 15th December 1971, a battalion of the Grenadiers was given the task of establishing a bridgehead across the Basantar River in the Shakargarh Sector. Major Hoshiar Singh, who was commanding the left forward company, was ordered to capture the enemy locality at Jarpal. This was a well-fortified position and was held in strength by the enemy. During the assault, his company came under intense shelling and effective crossfire from enemy medium machine guns. Undeterred, he led the charge and captured the objective after a fierce hand-t-hand fight. The enemy reacted and put in three counter-attacks on 16 December, two of them supported by armor. Major Hoshiar Singh, unmindful of the heavy shelling and tank fire, went from trench to trench, motivating his command and encouraging his men to stand fast and fight. Inspired by his courage and dauntless leadership his company repulsed all the attacks inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Again, on 17 December, the enemy made another attack with a battalion supported by heavy artillery fire. Though seriously wounded by enemy shelling, Major Hoshiar Singh again went from trench to trench moving about in the open with utter disregard for his personal safety when an enemy shell landed near the MMG post injuring the crew and rendering it inoperative. Major Hoshiar Singh, realizing the importance of the machine gun fire, immediately rushed to the machine gun pit and, though seriously wounded himself, manned the gun inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The attack was successfully repulsed and the enemy retreated leaving behind 85 dead, including their Commanding Officer and three other officers. Though seriously wounded, Major Hoshiar Singh refused to be evacuated till the cease-fire.
Throughout this operation, Major Hoshiar Singh displayed most conspicuous gallantry, indomitable fighting spirit, and leadership in the highest traditions of the army.
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