Abdul Hafiz (4th September 1925 -April 6th1944)

Memorial and Grave
Abdul Hafiz VC

Abdul Hafiz was born in Kalanaur Village in the Punjab. When he died he was only 19 years old.

He served with the 9th Jat Regiment. Jats are an ethnic group who follow a variety of religions.

The Jat battalions were structured around two companies of Hindu Jats, one company of Punjabi Muslims and one company of Musulman Rajputs, a mix requiring not only good purely military leadership to ensure the respect of all but sensitivity for different cultures and beliefs.

Abdul Hafiz was a Muslim.

In early 1944, his battalion was part of a force advancing up the Litan road, strategically important, as one of the few approaches to the Imphal plain, in N E India.

"In the early hours of the 6th April 1944, in the hills 10 miles north of Imphal, the enemy had attacked a standing patrol of four men and occupied a prominent feature overlooking a Company position. At first light a patrol was sent out and contacted the enemy, reporting that they thought approximately 40 enemy soldiers were in position. It was not known if they had dug in during the hours of darkness.

The Company Commander ordered Jemadar Abdul Hafiz to attack, with two sections from his platoon, at 0930 hours. Hafiz assembled his sections and told them that they were invincible, and the entire enemy on the hill would be killed or put to flight. He so inspired his men that from the start the attack, led by Hafiz himself, proceeded with great dash. It was up a completely bare slope with no cover, and was very steep in parts.

When they were a few yards below the crest, the enemy opened fire with machine-guns and threw grenades. There were several casualties, but Hafiz immediately ordered an assault, which he personally led, at the same time shouting the Mohammedan battle cry.

Hafiz was wounded in the leg, but seeing a machine-gun firing from a flank, which had already caused several casualties, he immediately went towards it and seizing the barrel pushed it upwards, whilst another man killed the gunner.

Hafiz then took a Bren gun from a wounded man and advanced against the enemy, firing as he went, killing several. So fierce was the attack, the men so inspired by the determination of Hafiz that the enemy, who were still in considerable numbers on the position, ran away down the opposite slope of the hill.

Regardless of machine-gun fire coming from another placement, Hafiz pursued the enemy, firing at them as they retreated. He was badly wounded in the chest and collapsed holding the Bren gun, still firing, and shouting "Re-organise on the position and I will give covering fire."

He died shortly afterwards.

The inspiring leadership and great bravery displayed by Jemadar Abdul Hafiz in spite of having been twice wounded, once mortally, so encouraged his men that the position was captured, casualties inflicted on the enemy to an extent several times the size of his own party, and enemy arms recovered on the position which included three Lewis Machine-guns, two grenade dischargers and two officers' swords. The complete disregard for his own safety and his determination to capture and hold the position at all costs was an example to all ranks, which it would be difficult to equal."

London Gazette, 27 July 1944

The attacks in and around Nungshigum Hill continued until 13th April 1944 when the hill was finally captured.

Abdul Hafiz is buried in the Imphal Indian Army War Cemetery

Abdul Hafiz VC

His widow received his VC, listed here on the investiture programme.

VC Investiture
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