Richpal Ram (August 20th, 1899 - February 12th, 1941)

Memorial and Grave
Richpal Ram

Richhpal Ram came from Barda in Haryana, serving as a Subedar in the 6th Rajputana Rifles. He was awarded a posthumous VC for the following outstanding acts of courage at Keren, Eritrea.

Keren was the scene of the most decisive battle of the war in East Africa in February and March 1941.

Guarding the entrance from the western plains to the Eritrean plateau, the only road passing through a deep gorge with precipitous and well fortified mountains on either side, Keren formed a perfect defensive position.

On these heights the Italians concentrated some 23,000 riflemen, together with a large number of well sited guns and mortars.

"During the assault on enemy positions on the night of 7th-8th February, 1941, Subadar Richpal Ram, who was second-in-command of a leading company, insisted on accompanying the forward platoon and led its attack on the first objective with great dash and gallantry.His company commander being then wounded, he assumed command of the company, and led the attack of the remaining two platoons to the final objective. In face of heavy fire, some thirty men with this officer at their head rushed the objective with the bayonet and captured it. The party was completely isolated, but under the inspiring leadership of Subadar Richpal Ram, it beat back six enemy counter-attacks between midnight and 0430 hours. By now, ammunition had run out, and this officer extricated his command and fought his way back to his battalion with a handful of survivors through the surrounding enemy.

Again, in the attack on the same position on 12th February, this officer led the attack of his company. He pressed on fearlessly and determinedly in the face of heavy and accurate fire, and by his personal example inspired his company with his resolute spirit until his right foot was blown off. He then suffered further wounds from which he died. While lying wounded he continued to wave his men on, and his final words were, "We'll capture the objective." The heroism, determination and devotion to duty shown by this officer were beyond praise, and provided an inspiration to all who saw him."

London Gazette 4th, July 1941

He is commemorated on the Keren Cremation Memorial

Keren Cremation Memorial

There is a drawing of Richpal Ram in action here.

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