Education

Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is the premier Operational Gallantry award given for ‘most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy’.

It may be awarded to all ranks of the services and civilians and can be awarded posthumously.

On this page we list in chronological order the Muslims we are aware of who have been awarded the Victoria Cross.

Victoria Cross Photo MoD / MOD

Sepoy Khudadad Khan129th Duke of Connaught’s Own Baluchis, British Indian Army

Ypres, Belgium – October 1914, World War 1

The newly formed 129th Baluchis were sent to Belgium to assist Allied Forces in what had become very intense and difficult fighting. In the village of Gheluvelt, the Baluchis were attacked by a German contingent, and the outnumbered Baluchis suffered heavy casualties. Sepoy Khudadad Khan’s machine-gun team were responsible for stopping the German advance, and maintained their positions despite bombardment. Khan was the sole survivor and was left for dead, before managing overnight to return to his base alive. The Germans were held up long enough for British and Indian reinforcements to arrive.

Naik Shahamad Khan – 89th Punjabis, British Indian Army

Tigris Front, Mesopotamia – 12th  & 13th April 1916, World War 1

Naik Shahamad Khan was in charge of a machine-gun post, 150-yards from the enemy position, protecting a gap in the New Line at Beit Ayeesa.

Shahamad’s position came under heavy fire for three hours, and suffered from multiple counterattacks from the enemy. Shahamad Khan and his two belt-fillers were the only ones from his troop remaining, as they continued to defend the New Line. They manned the gap until told to retire, having successfully defended their post.

Jemadar Mir Dast – 55th Coke’s Rifles, British Indian Army

Ypres, Belgium – 26 April 1915, World War 1

Jemadar Mir Dast led his troops during an attack on enemy forces. When the British Officers had all been killed or incapacitated, Mir Dast rallied the remaining soldiers and led them to successfully complete their mission. Mir Dast was also awarded for his feats of gallantry, which saw him carry eight wounded British and Indian Officers to safety while exposed to heavy fire.

Jemadar Abdul Hafiz – 9th Jat Regiment, British Indian Army

10 miles north of Imphal, Burma – 6th April 1944, World War 2

Jemadar Hafiz led a charge up a steep slope with two sections of troops. He was mortally wounded in the chest by machine-gun fire, but managed to kill more of the enemy.

He died as a result of his injuries, and reportedly inspired his troops to victory with his final words.

Lance Naik Sher Shah – 7th Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment, British Indian Army

Formerly Kyeyebyin, Kaladan, Burma – 19th/20th January 1945, World War 2

Lance Naik Sher Shah was commanding a left-forward section of his platoon, when they came under attack from much larger numbers of Japanese soldiers. He singlehandedly broke up two of the attacks, by crawling in amongst the enemy and repelling them from point-blank range.

His leg was hit by a bullet and shattered, and although he carried on fighting, he was finally shot by the enemy and killed.

Naik Fazal Din – 10th Baluch Regiment, British Indian Army

Burma – 2nd March 1945, World War 2

Naik Fazal Din was leading his section in an attack on a heavily fortified Japanese bunker position. Under heavy fire from machine guns and grenades, Fazal Din used his grenades on one of the bunkers, destroying it.

Fazal Din and the soldiers with him were suddenly ambushed by Japanese officers with swords. Fazal Din was mortally hurt by a stab wound through the chest, but managed to kill his attacker, and then inspire his troops to overwhelm the base. Fazal Din managed to submit a report from platoon headquarters, before finally succumbing to his fatal injuries.

Sepoy Ali Haider – 16th Battalion, Frontier Force Rifles, British Indian Army

Fusignano, Italy – 9th April 1945, World War 2

Sepoy Ali Haider’s battalion was tasked with crossing the Senio River under heavy and accurate enemy fire. Only he and two other soldiers survived the crossing. The remainder of the company was held up.

Ali Haider used his own initiative to single-handedly charge a fortified enemy position, being seriously wounded in the process. Suffering further injuries, Ali Haider then attacked another enemy position successfully. His actions enabled the rest of the company to complete their mission and form the bridgehead.

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