Service No : IC-5380
Place of birth : Bangalore (Kar)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Captain
Unit : 5 Fd Regt
Arm/Regt : The Regiment of Artillery
Martyrdom : November 18, 1962
Capt John Albert Dalby hailed from Bangalore in Karnataka, where his family resided at Willington street of Bangaore at that time. He belonged to an Ango-Indian family and had two sisters Leonie & Margarette and a brother Peter as his siblings. He did his schooling from St Joseph's Boys' High School at Bangalore. Eldest among four siblings, he was inclined to join the Armed Forces since his younger days and consequently joined the Joint Services Wing (JSW, subsequently known as NDA) course. He was commissioned as a second Lieutenant into 5 Field Regiment of the Regiment of Artillery, the important combat arm of the Indian Army, known for its field guns, howitzers, mortars and other weaponry.
After serving for sometime, he got married to Ms June and the couple had two daughters. Very early in his service career, Capt John Albert Dalby got the opportunity to get involved in active operations. As the war clouds gathered in NEFA(North Eastern Frontier Agency) the present day Arunachal Pradesh, Capt Dalby's unit got deployed along the Chinese border to repulse any enemy attack.
Indo-China War : 16-18 Nov 1962
During the 1962 Indo-China war, Capt Dalby's unit 5 Fd Regt was initially deployed in Tawang area. By third week of Oct 1962, India had already faced many reverses in the war and many organizational changes were made to deal with the situation. 62 Infantry Brigade under the command of Brig Hoshiar Singh was given responsibility of guarding Se-la pass and 65 Infantry Brigade was tasked to defend area around Dirang Dzong the HQs of 4 Division. Consequently 5 Fd Regt under the command of Lt Col Budhwar less its two batteries took charge by 27 Oct 1962. 5 Fd Regt was functioning under the operational control of 62 Inf Bde deployed at Se-La. 5 Fd Regt had 87 Fd Battery under Maj Brahm Sat with 25-pounders, C-Troop 34 Heavy Mortar Battery with 4.2 Inch mortars and 2 Derajat Mountain Battery with 3.7 Inch howitzers. Capt Dalby was working with 2 Derajat Battery operating the howitzers.
In order to stop the advance of the Chinese troops into Se-La flanks, varous units got deployed at strategic locations. 4 Garhwal got deployed at Nuranang ahead of Bridge 3 location. Capt Dalby along with his 2 Derajat Mountain Battery was deployed to provide the fire power with its 3.7 inch howitzers. Later the 25 pounder guns too were deployed to beef up the defenses. On 17 Nov 1962, Chinese troops attacked 4 Garhwal positions in multiple waves. Capt Dalby and his comrades responded aggressively by pounding Chinese positions with accurate firing. The initial waves of Chinese attacks did not get much success as the Indian soldiers though outnumbered fought with great courage. Thereafter the Chinese forces focused their attack on Indian artillery gun positions to blunt the Indian artillery attack. During this heavy exchange of fire Capt Dalby got seriously injured. He later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred.
Capt Dalby, during the operation showed outstanding gallantry in the face of the enemy with utter disregard to his personal safety. Capt John Albert Dalby was a valiant soldier and fine officer, who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty. Capt John Albert Dalby is survived by his daughter Mrs Cheryl M Soggee, who is now settled in Australia.