Service No : IC1818
Date of Birth : July 2, 1926
Place of birth : Sidhwan Khurd, (Pun)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Unit : 7 Cav
Arm/Regt : The Armoured Corps
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : December 19, 1961
Major Shivdev Singh Sidhu hailed from Sidhwan Khurd from Punjab on 2nd July 1926, Son of Shri Mohinder Singh and Smt Mehtab Kaur. He grew up there attending the village school and went to the small town of Jagraon to do his Matric. Having seen his exceptional marks in this exam his father thought that his son would take up the medical profession. He was then sent to Government College Ludhiana to get the necessary degree for further advancement. Young Shivdev did not think so!! As luck would have it a British officer and his team came to the college to give motivational lectures and recruit young men as officers in the British Army. Shivdev saw his opportunity!! He filled the required form but needed his father’s signature which he knew was not possible. Ergo he forged it!!! Unfortunately, he was underage which was a huge disappointment but the officer offered him a two year educational and training program at the King George School, Jullundur after which he could be inducted as an officer. His father reluctantly agreed.
On graduating he was commissioned in the 7th Light Cavalry. After a stint in Japan with the occupational forces he was sent with his regiment to Zojila Pass in 1948. Though he was the adjutant he was a tank commander for the day on 1st November 1948. He had with him a young artillery officer who directed artillery fire which pounded enemy positions. On one of the pages in the Visitor’s book of Matayan Rest House, he recorded that it was too much for the enemy to imagine that the Indian Army could do what they had done. Here his regiment earned battle honours and he was Mentioned in Despatches.
In 1951 he was married to a Delhi girl called Shivinder. They went on to become parents to three girls as time went by. Shivdev had found his calling. He cracked the Staff college exam and generally excelled in his career. Needless to say, he was a very popular officer. Battered and bruised by cycle polo he took to golf which became his passion. The bridge was also a pastime!! Proof of him being a voracious reader is a plethora of books on subjects ranging from military history to psychology on the bookshelf.
In 1961 the Government of India decided to liberate Goa from the Portuguese. 7th Light Cavalry was one of the units which moved there to take part in Operation Vijay. On the night of 18 December 1961, Major Shivdev Singh Sidhu with a small troop approached Fort Aguada to free the political prisoners there. As he held the surrender document he was not prepared for any action. The Portuguese in the Fort were well entrenched and were not willing to give up which resulted in them using heavy firearms to prevent any entry into the Fort premises. Caught in this firing Major Sidhu organized retaliatory action but was grievously injured while rescuing a brother officer. The life of a brilliant young officer was snuffed out on 19th December 1961.