Havildar Parkash Singh VC, 8th Punjab Regiment

Parkash Singh was born on 31 March 1913 in Sharikar village, in the Lyallpur District of what was then British India (now modern Pakistan) into a Jat Sikh family.  He enlisted in the 8th Punjab Regiment on 21 November 1936, seeing service on the North-West Frontier.  By 1943, Singh was a 28-year-old havildar (sergeant) serving in the Bren Gun Carrier Platoon of 5th Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army (now 5th Battalion, The Baloch Regiment, Pakistan Army).


Supplement to The London Gazette of Tuesday, the 11th of May, 1943

War Office, 13th May, 1943

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:

No. 14696 Havildar Parkash Singh, 8th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army.

On the 6th January, 1943, at Donbaik, Mayo Peninsula, Burma, when two Carriers had been put out of action, Havildar Parkash Singh drove forward in his own Carrier and rescued the two crews under very heavy fire.  At the time, the crews of the disabled Carriers had expended their ammunition and the enemy were rushing the two disabled Carriers on foot.  This N.C.O’s timely and courageous action, entirely on his own initiative, saved the lives of the crews and their weapons.

On the 19th January, 1943, in the same area, three Carriers were put out of action by an enemy anti-tank gun and lay on the open beach covered by enemy anti-tank and machine-gun fire.  One of these Carriers was carrying the survivors of another Carrier in addition to its own crew.  Havildar Parkash Singh, on seeing what had happened, went out from a safe position in his own Carrier, and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, rescued the combined crews from one disabled Carrier, together with the weapons from the Carrier. Having brought the crews o safety, he again went out in the open beach in his Carrier, still under very heavy anti-tank and machine-gun fire and with the utmost disregard to his personal safety, dismounted and connected a towing chain on to a disabled Carrier containing two wounded men.  Still under fire, he directed the towing of the disabled Carrier from under enemy fire to a place of safety.

Havildar Parkash Singh’s very gallant actions, entirely on his own initiative, were an inspiration to all ranks both British and Indian.


On 15 August 1943, Singh was commissioned as a VCO (Viceroy's Commissioned Officer), with the war-substantive rank of subedar.  Singh remained in the Indian Army after Independence, transferring to the Sikh Regiment as the 8th Punjab Regiment had been allotted to the Pakistan Army. With effect from 19 July 1948, he was selected for a short-service commission in the rank of lieutenant, with seniority from 19 July 1946, and received a regular commission in the same rank on 6 October 1952.  He was promoted, first to captain, and then to major on 19 July 1961, before finally retiring on 21 November 1968 after 32 years’ service.  He died on 23 March 1991 aged 77, whilst undergoing heart surgery in Ealing in West London.