Badlu Singh (1876-1918), the Hero of Palestine War was born in November 1876 in Dhakla Village, in Jhajjar district which was earlier part of old Rohtak.
Team Haryana First
The Haryana Government marks 23rd September as the Shaheedi Diwas in the state with an official holiday on that day to remember those who served the country.
Most of the people associated this day with the first freedom struggle in 1857.
However, only few know that on September 23, the iconic battle of Maggiddo was fiercely fought that freed Palestine from Ottoman Empire. The Egyptian Expeditionary Force that undertook this campaign was overwhelmingly an Indian force with a sprinkling of the British, Australian-NewZealander etc. Haryanvis, at 40%, were the largest ethnic group of this force.
Risaldar Badlu Singh (Dhankhar) not only played a major role in battle against Turks but also laid down his life in the course of the battle. He was awarded the highest and most prestigious Victoria Cross (VC) for his rare bravery.
Profile- The Hero of Palestine
Badlu Singh (1876-1918) was born in November 1876 in Dhakla Village, in Jhajjar district which was earlier part of old Rohtak.
He enrolled in the 14th (Murray’s) Jat Lancers on 10th September 1895. The Lancers had been raised by General Murray of the United Province Police in 1858, and on the outbreak of war were entirely composed of Hindu Jats.
Badlu Singh was promoted to Lance Dafadar on 16th October 1908, Dafadar on 1st August 1909, Jemadar on 5th January 1915, and, finally, Ressaidar on 9th January 1917.
He served on the North-West Frontier from 18th September to 25th October 1915 and during this time would have taken part in a small Mohmand war where the famous charge of the 14th (Murray’s) Jat Lancers at Hafiz Kor, led to the award of the VC to Captain Shoesmith Charles Hull.
The Battle of Khes Samariveh
According to ‘Sepoys Blitzkrieg’ book written by Col Yogander Singh, on 23rd September 1918 (WW1) Squadron 14 (Murray’s) Jat Lancers was ordered to advance along the west bank of the River Jordan, Palestine, with an aim to intercept and destroy a large Turkish Army column trying to escape. Near the crossing of Makhdet Abu Naz, the squadron came under intense enemy fire by 200 Turks supported by 25 machine guns, who were well entrenched at a small hill next to village Khes Samariveh. Risaldar Badlu Singh along with Daffedar Dharm Singh, Daffedar Rati Ram, Sowar Hukm Singh, Jitu Singh, Bhagwan Singh and Dhan Singh (all Jhajjar Tehsil) charged and captured the position and took surrender of 200 enemy. Each one of these braves was awarded gallantry awards. Daffedar Dharm Singh got Indian Order of Merit Class 1, while others got Indian Order of Merit Class 2.
His citation reads, “For the most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the morning of the 23rd September, 1918, when his squadron charged a strong enemy position on the west bank of the Jordan between the river and Khes Samariveh village. On nearing the position Ressaldar Badlu Singh realised that the squadron was suffering casualties from a small hill on the left front occupied by machine guns and 200 infantry. Without the slightest hesitation he collected six other ranks and with the greatest dash and an entire disregard of danger charged and captured the position, thereby saving very heavy casualties to the squadron. He was mortally wounded on the very top of the hill when capturing one of the machine guns single-handed, but the guns and infantry had surrendered before he died. His valous and initiative were of the highest order.”
His Victoria Cross (Posthumous) was presented to his son, Chotan Singh, who was also awarded a special grant of land of the annual cash value of 400 rupees. Sold by his family Badlu Singh’s ‘Victoria Cross’ is now part of display at Ashcroft Gallery, London.
Badlu Singh was cremated on the site of his death. His name is commemorated in the Indian Army listings on the panels of the Heliopolis Memorial at the Heliopolis War Cemetery, Port Tewfik, Cairo, Egypt.