On 3rd. November 1947 Maj. Sharma's Coy was ordered on a fighting patrol to Badgam Village in Srinagar (Kashmir) Valley. He reached his objective at first light on 3rd. November, 1947, and took up a position south of Badgam Village. At 1100 hours, enemy estimated strength 700 attacked his Coy position being brought to bear on the Coy position from three sides, the Coy began to sustain heavy casualties.
Maj. Sharma fully realizing the gravity of the situation and the direct threat that would result to both Srinagar and the aerodrome if the enemy attacking him was not held until reinforcements could be rushed up to close up the gap leading to Srinagar via Hum Hom, urged his Coy to fight the enemy - tenaciously with extreme bravery. In order to do this, he rushed across the open ground to his sections exposing himself to heavy and active fire.
He took a very active part in directing the fire of his sections on to the ever-advancing enemy. He exposed himself to the full fury of the enemy's fire and laid out air-strips in order to guide the aircraft on to the targets in full view of the enemy.
Realising that casualties had affected the efficiency of his light automatics, this officer, whose left hand was in plaster, personally commenced filling LMG magazines and issuing them to LMG gunners. A mortar shall landing amongst his ammunition resulted in an explosion that killed him.
Maj. Sharma's Coy held on to its position and the remnants withdrew when almost completely
surrounded. His inspiring example had resulted in the enemy being delayed for six hours and reinforcements permitted to get into position in Hum Hom to stem the tide of the enemy's advance.
His leadership, gallantry and tenacious defence was such that his men were inspired to fight the enemy outnumbered by them seven to one for six hours, one hour of which was after this gallant officer had been killed.
He has set an example of courage, with qualities unequalled in the history of the Indian Army. His last message to Brigade HQ received a few moments before he was killed was "The enemy are only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to the last man and the last round.
FIELD - MARSHALL S.H.F.J. MANEKSHAW
Field Marshall S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, M.C. affectionately known
as `Sam' was commissioned from first course to pass out of
the Indian Military college (now known as the Indian Military
Academy), Dehradun, in 1934 . He was commissioned in the 9th
Frontier Force Rifles. During the Second World War, he saw
service with his battalion in Burma and was severely injured
in action. He awarded the Military Cross for his devotion to
duty and outstanding bravery. In 1947, after independence and
the Partition of India, Sam Manekshaw was transferred to the
8th Gorkha Rifles. During his illustrious career, he has held
a number of important staff appointments. He was the Commandant of the Infantry School,
Mhow, and Defence Services Staff
College, Wellington. He was selected to command the Eastern
Command as it had a challenging task to fulfill as a result of
the Chinese aggression. He was appointed the Chief of the Army
Staff in 1968. As chief, he was the architect of the 1971 Indo
- Pak war in which he ld the Indian Army to its success.
FIELD MARSHAL SAM MANEKSHAW AS CHIEFGUEST IN THE
CENTENARY YEAR, 1969
Your Grace, the Metropolitan of India, My Lord Bishop of Lucknow, Mr. Principal, ladies and young gentlemen of Sherwood :
yesterday evening when my A.D.C. told me that I would
have to speak here, I was horrified. I thought the Principal
had asked me to come and join the celebrations ; I did not
realize he wanted me to sing for my supper ! Believe me, as I
stand here, I am terrified. Those near me can almost hear my
knees knocking and my teeth chattering. For eight years in
Sherwood, I was at the receiving end.
It is customary on these occasions for the guest speaker
to give a learned discourse or advice to young gentlemen. It
is not my fault that, although I received my early education
in Sherwood, I am not learned. Sir, I am fit neither to give
you a learned discourse nor advice, I really want to tell you
what Sherwood has done for me.
Sherwood has taken me to my present position. First and
foremost, I learned to live alone and independently. I
learned to fight - from the time I got up in the morning till
the time I went to bed. When I went down to wash I could not
find my towel, and while I was looking for my towel somebody
pinched my soap. This, my young gentlemen, happened for eight
years. I am rather disappointed as I look at you carefully (I
shall put on my glasses) to see so few scarred faces. In my
time, the guest speaker saw nothing but black eyes. I fought,
and it stood me in good stead during the war in Burma, where
we came up against the Japanese.
What else did I learn from Sherwood ? During the war in
Burma I went without food for many days. I was hungry. I withstood this and said to myself, "After all I went through 8
years of hunger in Sherwood.~ I was hungry in the morning; I
was hungry in the afternoon, hungry when I went to bed at
night. Does a similar situation prevail now ? I learnt in
school to hate my enemies. How ? ....Thanks to St. Joseph 's
next door and when we played them on the Flats. From the corner of my eye I see His Grace, the Metropolitan, and the Bishop
frowning. " You sowe should your neighbour,~ is what they
say. So we should, though I can almost hear the boys say,
"except St. Joseph's."
Sir, it is a great privilege and a great honour to be able
to come back to Sherwood after thirty years, to come back as a
chief guest, to come back to address you boys who will grow up
to be fine gentlemen. I thank you very much for having given
me this privilege. I am sorry I cannot tell you anything about
Mr. Binns, I have heard a great deal about him, but he was here after my time. May I hope that some day, some of you,
will join the armed forces to rise to high positions.
Gleanings from `The Sherwoodian Times'
It is with a great sense of satisfaction that we note that
the first Field-Marshal in the Indian army was Sam Manekshaw,
a tremendous honour for the school indeed.
Not much can be gleaned about this future leader of men
from old Sherwoodian' magazine. We know that he had two
brothers, Jehangir and Jemi, who also studied in Sherwood.
They came to us from Mussoorie.
He seemed to be more literary than sporting and we give
here a delightful poem which gives early warning of that
famous humour that is so characteristic of him (and which
sometimes got him into trouble ! ).
He and his two brothers seemed to have a penchant for
Maths. This talent is referred to in the poem `The Naughty
" Now Manekshaw S. we are to add
Who, no doubt, is a jolly lad,
He's keen on Mathematics, too,
Our Trig. sums for us he does do."
Jemi in Sherwood `Seniors'
"J. Manek's working hard, too:
To church he never comes.
`Tis thought he doth stay behind
To work out Algy sums."
We follow the fortunes of Sam's meteoric rise from this
first report. "We are constantly hearing of the success of
many Old Boys of whom we would especially mention Sam Manekshaw who passed out with the first batch from Indian Military Academy in March.
Later we read of him cutting his teeth on his first job :
" Congratulations to S.H.F.J. Manekshaw on passing out among
the first batch of cadets from
the I.M.A, Dehradun. He has been temporaily attached to the
2nd Battalion, Royal Scouts, at Lahore before eventually joining a unit in the Indian Army."
In 1946, there is a passing reference to his having been
wounded in the war (IInd World War). In addition, he also
picked up an M.C. for gallantry and leadership on the Burma
front. He became the centre of news in the December 1962 magazine which reads like a fanfare of trumpets, "We congratu
late Maj. Gen. S. Manekshaw (1923-1930) on his promotion to
the rank of Lt. General. He has been in charge of the Defence
Services Staff College, Wellington, for the last three years.
He has a distinguished fighting record and is reputed to be
an authority on modern strategy and tactical planning.
He won the M.C. on the Burma Front during World War II. He
was the Directorof Military operations at Army Headquarters
during the Kashmir fighting 1947-1948.
Later he served as Director of Military Training at Army
Headquarters. In 1985 he was appointed Commandment of the
Militery School at Mhow. Generaal Manekshaw was commissioned
Lt-General Manekshaw M.C. (1923 - 1930) who is at present
commanding a corps in the Eastern Sector is being appointed
G.O.C in Central Western Command."
Students of the college who were here at the time of the
Centenary Celebrations (1969) can count themselves fortunate
in having General Manekshaw as Chief Guest. His speech, short
and witty, captured the collective hearts of the school be
cause he touched lightly on those ingredients that are an
intrinsic part of college life. We give it below, leaving it
to serve as a conclusion to the brief story of a man whom
Sherwood is very proud to own as one of her sons !