Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw is, without a doubt, the most popular and colourful military leader in India: magnificently mustachioed, charming and decisive.
Photo of Sam from his younger days niyogibooksindia
When he served as a captain with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment in Burma in 1942, he witnessed action on the Burma Front as part of the 17th Division of the 14th Army.
While leading his battalion as a Company Commander against the invading Japanese, a raging battle on the Sittang Bridge near Sittang River in Myanmar kept both the sides on their toes. The young company commander, got wounded at Sittang Bridge on February 22, 1942, when as a result of machine gun blast nine bullets riddled the stomach of Captain Manekshaw while engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
When the Divisonal Commander Major General, Sir Richard Cowens, heard of Sam’s bravery, he rushed to the battle site, took off his own Military Cross and pinned it on Sam’s chest as he was not expected to live more and the Military Cross is not awarded posthumously. Despite nine bullets in his lungs, liver, and kidney, he recovered and sailed back to India is one of the last ships just before the Japanese overran Burma.
Without doubt India’s finest war-time chief, he was also a noble warrior who looked upon his enemies with respect. He also asked the officers not to misbehave with Pakistani women.
During his later part of his life, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw settled down with his wife in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. At the age of 94, he died of complications from pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.
1914: Sam Manekshaw was born. 1932: Became one of the 40 cadets to be selected in the first ever batch of Indian Military Academy (IMA). 1934: Passed out of IMA and was made Second Lieutenant in the British Indian Army. 1935: Became Lieutenant. 1939: Got married to Silloo Bode. 1940: Became Captain. 1942: Received Military Cross for his Gallantry. 1943: Became Major. 1945: Became Lieutenant-Colonel. 1946: Became Colonel. 1947: Became Brigadier. Was also the Colonel-in-Charge of the operations when Pakistan invaded Kashmir. 1950: Became Brigadier in the Indian Army. 1957: Became Major General. 1963: Became Lieutenant General. 1965: Became Commander of the Eastern Command during the Indo-Pak war. 1968: Received Padma Bhushan Award. 1969: Became General. 1971: Steered India to victory during the second Indo-Pak war. 1972: Received Padma Vibhushan award. 1973: Became Field Marshal. 2008: Died at the age of 94.