Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Mighty



From the obituary of Captain Umrao Singh, V.C. in The Times:

In 1983 he was farming a two-acre smallholding inherited from his father in his home village. He owned a single buffalo and a cart, lived in a small mud-brick house and was finding life hard on a basic Indian Army pension of £14 a month. A friend who knew of his award suggested that he should sell his decoration, as he had heard that a VC had recently been sold for £20,000 in London.

In spite of his straitened circumstances, Captain Singh refused to sell his VC for an offered sum of £32,000, saying to do so "would stain the honour of those who fell in battle beside me". Subsequently he received a Haryana state pension of £50 per month.