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Naik Fazl Din VC
Second World War Army Indian Victoria Cross holder
Naik Fazl Din
View record on CWGC

During the fighting in Burma in March 1945, the Indian 17th Division led the advance on Meiktila. Amongst those fighting was Naik Fazl Din of the 7th Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment, a Jat Muslim from the Hoshiarpur District of Punjab who joined the army shortly after the outbreak of the war.

On 2 March, Fazl Din was commanding a section during an attack when they came under fire from several Japanese bunkers. Unhesitatingly, Fazl Din personally attacked the nearest bunker with grenades, then led his section against the other bunkers under heavy fire. He was assisting his Bren gunner when they were attacked by a Japanese officer wielding a sword. Fazl Din was mortally wounded by a sword blow but when the Japanese officer withdrew his sword, Fazl Din grabbed it from his hands and killed him with it. Despite his terrible wound, he continued to fight and encourage his men, before staggering to HQ to make a report. He died soon after. He was 24. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. He has no know grave and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Face 39.

The citation in the London Gazette of 24th May, 1945, gives the following details: "In Burma, on 2nd March, 1945, Naik Fazl Din commanded a section during a company attack on a Japanese bunkered position. His section was held up by machine-gun fire and grenades from several bunkers. Unhesitatingly he attacked the nearest position with grenades and silenced it; but as he led his men against the others, six Japanese soldiers rushed from a house near by, led by two officers wielding swords. The section Bren gunner shot one officer and another Japanese soldier, but was killed by the second officer, who next ran his sword through Naik Fazl Din. Despite this terrible wound Naik Fazl Din, seized the sword from the Japanese officer and killed him with it - he killed two more Japanese soldiers, and encouraged his section before staggering to his platoon headquarters to report. He collapsed there, and died soon after reaching the Regimental Aid Post. His action was seen by almost the whole platoon, who, inspired by his gallantry and taking advantage of the bewilderment created among the enemy by the loss of their leaders, continued the attack and destroyed the Japanese garrison. The supreme devotion to duty of this gallant N.C.O. even when fatally wounded, his presence of mind and outstanding courage, can seldom have been equalled, and reflect his unquenchable spirit."

Naik Fazl Din VC (Photo: Baloch Regimental Centre)