Service No: 00101B
Date of Birth: 14 Sep 1928
Birth Place: Rewari district, Haryana
Last Rank: Commodore
Service Years: 1951 - 1982
Operation: Cactus Lily
Awards: Maha Vir Chakra
Date of Demise : 22 Jan 2010
Commodore Babru Bhan Yadav was the first Indian naval officer, who was awarded the famed Maha Vir Chakra. He received the award in 1972 for his astounding bravery and actions in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. He passed away after a brief illness on 22nd January 2010 at the age of 82.
Cmde Babru Bhan Yadav was born on 14th September 1928 in the village Bharawas in the Rewari district of Haryana. Cmde Yadav belonged to a military family wherein his father and brother also served in the Armed Forces. Cmde Yadav’s father, Major Bhagwan Singh Yadav participated in the world wars and was awarded the MBE and his elder brother MS Yadav, served as a Colonel in the Indian Army.
Cmde Yadav passed his intermediate examinations from the Banaras Hindu University and received his B.Sc from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi in 1947. He was excellent in swimming but had never seen the seas till the age of 20. At the age of 22 he applied to join the Navy under the Direct Entry Graduate scheme.In 1949, Cmde Yadav was selected by the naval selection board and subsequently in September, was sent to Dartmouth to join the 1949 class of the famous Benbow division. He served on board HMS Devonshire in two training cruises as a Midshipman. Finally on 1st January, 1951, he was commissioned in to the Indian Navy.
In 1954, he went back to UK and joined HMS Vernon to specialise in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). He served as the squadron TAS officer in INS Brahmaputra, and in the 1960s was the Fleet TAS officer of the Western Fleet. Cmde Yadav as Lt Cdr underwent the Staff course at Defence Services Staff College ,Wellington from May 1963 to November 1963.
Indo-Pak War : Dec 1971
In 1971, Cmde Yadav was serving as the Squadron Commander of the 25th missile squadron based in Mumbai. In preparation for the impending war, Cmde Yadav had worked up his squadron in dummy attacks simulated against a port. Finally on 2nd December he took command of three Missile Boat Task Force, INS Nipat, INS Nirghat and INS Veer.
Subsequently, with the onset of the war, the missile boats attacked Karachi on 4th December, 1971. The task force of Osa Class Boats sank three Pakistani ships. The mission was code-named Operation Trident. During this mission, Cmde Yadav was fearless and pushed through despite facing a threat of air, surface and submarine attack. He displayed strategic approach and great leadership during the attack deep into the enemy harbour. His outstanding bravery and astute leadership resulted in the success of Op Trident and changed the course of the war in India’s favour.
Cmde Yadav (commander at the time) was promoted to Captain and then Commodore after. He served in the National Cadet Corps as the state Director of National Cadet Corps (NCC) in Chandigarh for Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, before retiring from the Navy in 1982. After his retirement, he served briefly in the Merchant Navy and died of natural causes at the age of 82.
Cmde Yadav’s bravery is the stuff of legend and he is undoubtedly an iconic figure of the Indian Navy. Cmde Yadav is one of the most respected officers of the Indian Navy and the nation will always remember him as one of its greatest soldiers.
The citation for the Maha Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:
Cdr Babru Bhan Yadav was the squadron commander of a division of ships, which formed part of the task group of the Western Fleet ordered to carry out an offensive sweep on the enemy coast off Karachi on the night of 4 December 1971. Notwithstanding the threat of enemy air, surface and submarine attack, the officer led his division of ships deep into enemy waters and encountered two groups of large enemy warships. Despite the heavy fire from enemy destroyers and at great risk to his ships and personnel, Commander Yadav led his squadron towards the enemy in a swift and determined attack. As a result, two enemy destroyers and one minesweeper were sunk.
In this operation, Commander Yadav displayed conspicuous gallantry and leadership of a high order in the best traditions of the Indian Navy.
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