Lance-Naik Sher Shah Awan, 16th Punjab Regiment

Sher Shah Awan was born on 14 February 1917 at Chakrala, near Mianwali in the Punjab, son of Barkhurdar Awan and his wife Makda Bibi.  Married to Mehr Bhari, he was serving as a lance-naik in the 7th Battalion of the 16th Punjab Regiment in early 1945.


Supplement to The London Gazette of Friday, the 6th of February, 1945

War Office, 8th February, 1945

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

No. 14922 Lance-Naik Sher Shah, 16th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army.

In Burma, on the night 19th-20th January, 1945, at Kyeyebyin Kaladan, Lance-Naik Sher Shah commanded the left forward section of his platoon. 

At 1930 hours a Japanese platoon attacked his post.  Realising that overwhelming numbers would probably destroy his section, he, by himself, stalked the enemy from their rear and broke up their attack by firing into their midst.  He killed the Platoon Commander and six other Japanese and, after their withdrawal, crawled back to his section post.

At 0015 hours the Japanese, who were now reinforced with a Company, started to form up for another attack.  He heard their officers giving orders, and bayonets being fixed prior to the assault.  Again he left his section post and, in spite of Japanese covering fire from small arms and mortars, crawled forward and saw Japanese officers and men grouped together.  He fired into this group and they again broke up and started to withdraw in disorder.

Whilst on his way back for the second time he was hit by a mortar bomb, which shattered his right leg.  He regained his position and, propping himself against the side of the trench, continued firing and encouraging his men.  When asked whether he was hurt, he replied that it was only slight. Some time afterwards it was discovered that his right leg was missing.

The Japanese again started forming up for another attack.  In spite of his severe wounds and considerable loss of blood, and very heavy Japanese supporting fire, Lance Naik Sher Shah again left his section post and crawled forward, firing into their midst at point blank range.  He continued firing until for the third time the Japanese attack was broken up, and until he was shot through the head, from which he subsequently died.

Twenty-three dead and four wounded Japanese, including an officer, were found in daylight, immediately in front of his position.

His initiative and indomitable courage throughout this very critical situation undoubtedly averted the over-running of his platoon, and was the deciding factor in defeating the Japanese attacks.  His supreme self-sacrifice, disregard of danger and selfless devotion to duty, were an inspiration to all his comrades throughout the Battalion.


Sher Shah is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar.