Service No: IC-12
Date of Birth: Feb 06,1913
Place of Birth : Gujranwala, Punjab
Last Rank : Lieutenant
Last Unit : 1 Sikh
Arm/Regt : The Sikh Regiment
Operation: J&K Ops
Date of Martyrdom : Oct 27, 1947
Lieutenant Dewan Ranjith Rai was born in Gujranwala in Punjab on 6th February 1913. He studied at Bishop Cotton School at Shimla. Dewan Rai attended the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.
On 1st February 1935 he was commissioned and was attached to British Army regiment for a year which was stationed in India. Ranjith was appointed to the Indian Army and he was posted to 5th battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment on the 24th February 1936. On May 4th he was promoted to Lieutenant, and was promoted as captain on 4th of February 1942 and by April 1944 he was serving as a temporary Major on Recruiting Staff.
Indo-Pak war 1947
Lt Dewan Ranjith Rai was commanding the 1st battalion of sikh Regiment in Gurgaon making arrangements for the refugees, when Kashmir was invaded by Pakistan , two companies of his troops were airlifted in 30 Dakota aircraft. He led his troops to guard the Baramulla-Srinagar highway near Pattan, where superior pakistani tribal were moving towards Srinagar after looting, raping and burning people of all religions in Baramulla. Ranjith Rai successfully protected the Srinagar Airfield by giving a way for more Indian troops to land who expelled the Pakistan tribal troops.
Lt Dewan Ranjith Rai lost his life while leading and defending Pattan. And he was the first offcer to fight the battle after the independence on 27th October 1947. Dewan Ranjith Rai was first officer to be awarded the Mahavir Chakra. He died on 27th October 1947 in a paddy field near Pattan.
Dewan Ranjith Rai’s next five generation have also served the Indian Army.
The citation to Maha Vir Chakra awards reads:
Lieutenant Colonel Dewan Ranjit Rai was the Commanding Officer of 1 Sikh. Immediately on landing at Srinagar, on 27 October 1947, he appreciated that it was imperative to hold and oppose the raiders as far away as possible from the vital city of Sri nagar and its adjacent airfield.
As very little time was at his disposal, he personally conducted reconnaissance and operations at such personal risk that he was eventually killed. By his complete disregard of personal danger and his determined and inspired leadership, the raiders were stopped sufficiently far away to enable a build-up for the eventual decisive defeat. The officer gave his life in a successful endeavour to save Srinagar by displaying courage of the highest order.
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