Gabbar Singh Negi: Story of First WW1 Victoria Cross Recipient

Gabbar Singh Negi or also known as Gabar Singh Negi VC was a soldier in the British Indian Army during the First World War. A winner of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces during the British era in India.

Gabar Singh Negi: Story of First WW1 Victoria Cross Recipient
Gabar aka Gabbar Singh Negi (Victoria Cross) | TIH Archives
Gabar aka Gabbar Singh Negi, Victoria Cross (21 April 1895 – 10 March 1915) was a rifleman in the British Indian Army during the First World War and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the most elevated and renowned honour for courage in the face of enemies that can be granted to British and Commonwealth powers.

Name Gabar Singh Negi
Birth 21 April 1895, Chamba
Died 10 March 1915, Neuve-Chapelle, France
Rank Rifleman
Battles/Wars First World War: Battle of Neuve Chapelle
Years of service 1913–1915
Awards Victoria Cross

Gabar Singh Negi: Early Life & Education

Gabar Singh Negi was born on 21 April 1895 at Manjaur town close to Chamba, in the Tehri district of Uttarakhand.

The region is in the Himalayas and was a part of the first Kingdom of Garhwal, Uttarakhand.

He joined the Second Battalion of The Garhwal Rifles, a regiment of the British Indian Army, in October 1913; the workforce of the regiment was primarily from the Himalayan slope clans, and many had presented with the Gurkhas.

First World War and History of Gabar Singh Negi

A picture of First World War Indian Soldiers

On the flare-up of the First World War, the 39th Garhwal Rifles was among the regiments chosen for the Indian Expeditionary Force A, bound for the Western Front in France.

By October 1914, the regiment, as a major aspect of the seventh (Meerut) Division, was in the cutting edges during the First Battle of Ypres and later in the Pas-de-Calais part where it would stay until going into saving toward the finish of that year.

In March 1915, the seventh Division was chosen to be engaged with the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, which required an ambush on the German lines at Neuve Chapelle.

The seventh Division was to help power a hole for the Cavalry Corps to misuse. On 10 March 1915, during the fight, Negi’s second Battalion was assaulting toward the southwest of Neuve Chappelle; a cannons blast that went before the assault was not successful and the German channels were very much guarded.

File Photo of Gabar Singh Negi, Victoria Cross
A Portrait of Gabbar Singh Negi | TIH Archives

Gatherings with bombs needed to clear the channels; one such gathering included Negi. At the point when the administrator of his gathering was executed, he dominated, driving from the front as the gathering assumed responsibility for the German channels. He was later executed.

His activities on 10 March prompted him to be after death granted the Victoria Cross (VC). The VC, founded in 1856, was the most noteworthy honour for bravery that could be presented on a fighter of the British Empire.

The reference for Gabar Singh Negi’s VC read as follows:

“For most obvious grit on 10th March 1915, at Neuve Chapelle. During our assault on the German position, he was one of a pike party with bombs who entered their fundamental channel and was the primary man to go round each cross, driving back the adversary until they were in the long run compelled to give up. He was murdered during this commitment.”
—  London Gazette, 28 April 1915

Gabar Singh Negi has no known grave; his name is recorded on the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial, as Gabar Singh Negi. His name was one of those remembered for the vault of the Memorial Gates in London, revealed in 2002.

Gabar Singh Negi’s VC was sent to the India Office to be sent to his closest relative, Satoori Devi, his better half. The VC was gained by his regiment which orchestrated an imitation to be sent to Devi.

War memorial Statue of gabbar singh negi, lansdowne

A letter of sympathy from Queen Mary was additionally sent to Satoori Devi wife of Gabar Singh. The award was a wellspring of pride for Gabar Singh Negi’s widow, who might wear it until her passing in 1981.

Inheritance of Gabar Singh Negi(Victoria Cross): A legacy

Relatives of Gabar Singh have composed the Gabar Singh Negi Fair yearly at Chamba in his memory, held each 20 or 21 April since 1925, contingent upon the Hindu schedule.

His regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, has kept up a nearness since 1971.

An enlistment rally slows down and armed force groups give amusement and numerous locals, especially the young people, go to the reason due to the draw-card of the recruitment rally.

Victoria Cross Gabar Singh Negi Memorial in Chamba

Gabar Singh Negi Memorial In Chamba, Uttarakhand.

The Gabbar Singh Negi Memorial is a popular tourist attraction in Chamba. The memorial was built in 1925 in honour of Thakur Gabbar Singh Negi, who served as a rifleman in the 39th Garhwal Rifles in 1913.

During World War I, Singh and his battalion won the war in Flanders, Germany. After his death, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross(Posthumously).

 Every year, on 21 April, the Garhwal Regiment pays tribute to this brave warrior.