Parkash Singh (1913-1991) served in the Indian Army during the Second World War. He showed great courage under fire against the Japanese and was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC).

Parkash was born in the western Punjab in India (now in Pakistan). In 1936, he enlisted in the Indian Army. He joined the 5th Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment and fought on India's North-West Frontier.

Photographs

Major Parkash Singh

Photographs

Major Parkash Singh

Major Parkash Singh, awarded a VC for his courage under fire against the Japanese in the Second World War.

Portrait of Parkash Singh, awarded the Victoria Cross: Burma, January 1943.
© IWM (MH 2601)

As the Second World War progressed the Japanese began to advance into Burma. By 1943 Parkash was a havildar (sergeant) of the 5th/8th Punjabis' Bren-gun carriers, small, lightly armored vehicles able to carry three or four soldiers. His battalion was involved in fighting an offensive against the Japanese on the coastal, Mayu Peninsula.  

On 18 and 19 January, the Bren-gun carriers made diversionary attacks against the Japanese. On the second day, Japanese guns put several carriers on the shore out of action. Parkash repeatedly risked intense Japanese fire to rescue their trapped crews, even towing a carrier and its wounded crew to safety.

He received the Victoria Cross for his bravery, and became an officer.

After the war, when India and Pakistan were divided in 1947, Parkash went on to serve in the Indian Army for over 20 years.

You can see Major Parkash Singh’s VC in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at IWM London.

This article was edited by Gemma Lawrence. Other IWM staff members contributed to writing an older version of this piece.

Related Content

Commander Loftus William Jones, Royal Navy, awarded the Victoria Cross, HMS SHARK, Jutland, 31 May 1916.
© IWM (VC 658)
Heroes
Commander Loftus Jones VC
Commander Jones' torpedo boat destroyer, HMS Shark, came under heavy attack from German shellfire during the Battle of Jutland. Jones, though mortally wounded, encouraged his men to the last and only left his ship when it was beyond saving.
Captain Lanoe George Hawker VC DSO of No. 24 Squadron RFC.
© IWM (Q 67598)
Heroes
Major Lanoe Hawker VC
Major Lanoe Hawker VC helped to establish British control of the air above the Somme in the opening weeks of the battle, but was shot down and killed shortly after it ended.
Portrait of Lieutenant William Leefe Robinson RFC who was awarded the Victoria Cross for the destruction of the SL11 airship. This was the only VC awarded for action in Britain.
© IWM (Q 66470)
Heroes
Lieutenant William Robinson VC
Lieutenant William Leefe Robinson (1895-1918) was part of the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) after a dramatic aerial pursuit of a German airship.