Hony Captain(Retd) Agan Singh Rai, VC, Indian Airforce

Hony Captain(Retd) Agan Singh Rai, VC

In Burma on 24th June 1944, after fierce fighting, the enemy, with greatly superior forces, captured two posts, known as Water Picquet and Mortar Bluff. The posts were mutually supporting and their possession by the enemy threatened our communications.

On 26th June, a company of 5 Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) was ordered to recapture these positions. After a preliminary artillery concentration, the company went into the attack but on reaching a false crest, about 80 yards from its objective, it was pinned down by heavy and accurate fire, causing many casualties. Naik Rai led his section under withering fire and charged the position, killing three of the crew of four. Inspired by this cool act of bravery, the section surged forward and routed the whole garrison.

This position was now under intense fire from a gun in the jungle and from Water Picquet. Naik Rai advanced towards the gun. Intense fire reduced the section to three, but they pressed on to their objective. Arriving at close range, Naik Rai killed three of the gun crew and his men killed the other two. The party then returned to Mortar Bluff for the final assault.

In the subsequent advance heavy machine gun fire and showers of grenades from an isolated bunker caused further casualties. With indomitable courage, Naik Agan Singh Rai advanced alone with a grenade in one hand and his Thompson sub-machine gun in the other. Through heavy fire he reached the enemy position and killed the four occupants of the bunker. The enemy, demoralized by this NCO's calm display of courage and contempt for danger, fled and this position, too, was captured.

Naik Rai's magnificent display of initiative, outstanding bravery and gallant leadership so inspired the company that, in spite of heavy casualties, the result of action was never in doubt.