(Last Updated on : 09/10/2018)
Sepoy Khudadad Khan was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I for his extraordinary act of bravery. The award of the Victoria Cross was introduced by Royal Warrant signed by Queen Victoria on the 29th January 1856. Awards of the Victoria Cross made during the Indian Mutiny and for other small wars and conflicts during the 19th Century, were issued only to British
officers and servicemen under the employment of the East India Company
. It wasn't until a Royal Warrant was signed by King George V on the 21st October 1911 that eligibility for the Victoria Cross was extended to the native officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Indian Army
. The first recipient, Sepoy Khudadad Khan, earned his Victoria Cross several thousand miles from India in the battlefields of Belgium in 1914.
Sepoy Khudadad Khan in World War I
During the World War I, the first battle in which Indian troops
took part was the First Battle of Ypres. On 23rd October 1914, 129 Baluch moved up in support of the second cavalry division and soon found itself heavily engaged. During the course of a furious fight on 31st October, the Baluchis were cut off from the battalions two machine guns; the officer commanding the detachment was wounded, he continued and eventually only one sepoy, Khudadad Khan was left. Although wounded, he continued to fight with his gun till the position was overrun. His actions helped to ensure that two vital ports used to supply British troops with food and ammunition from England, remained in Allied hands. The Germans left him for dead but during the night, Khudadad managed to crawl to safety and rejoined his battalion. He was awarded the Victoria Cross and became the First Indian to win this award.