Achievers' Index

Major Somnath Sharma

Recipient of the Old Sherwoodians' Millennium Award for Outstanding Achievement conferred during the Reunion on 14.10.2000.

Late Maj.Som Nath Sharma - India's first PVC winnerSomnath studied in Sherwood till the age of eleven after which he joined the RIMC, Dehra Dun.

In May 1941, he was selected to join the IMA, Dehra Dun from where he was commissioned as Second-Lieutenant in the 8/19 Hyderabad Regiment- now the 4 Kumaon. 

He saw action in Burma with the 51 Infantry Brigade and at the early age of 21, he was appointed D.A. & Q.M.G. at his Brigade Headquarters. He was mentioned in despatches for his gallantry and for outstanding efficiency. 

From Burma he was posted to Malaya to assist in the process of rehabilitation of the population.

Returning to India as adjutant of 4 Kumaon, he was posted to Communal-strife-torn Punjab where the army was deployed to maintain law and order.

When hostilities broke out in Kashmir in 1947, Somnath found himself handicapped with an arm in plaster. But, despite his fractured arm, he was so keen to join his regiment, that the C.O. gave in and ordered him to fly to Kashmir in command of two companies sent to protect the air-field at Srinagar.

The account of how this brave officer, despite devastating enemy fire kept the air-strip is given in the following citation:


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.

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