08 November 2009

Victoria Cross: Namdeo Jadhao


Sepoy, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry

Born: 10 November 1921, Nimai Village, Bombay, India
Died: 2 August 1964, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Citation: In Italy, on the evening of the 9th April, 1945, a Company of the 5th Mahratta Light Infantry assaulted the east floodbank of the Senio river, north of S. Polito. Three minutes afterwards another Company was to pass through and assault the west floodbank.
In this sector the Senio river is about 15 feet broad, 4 to 5 feet deep and flows between precipitous floodbanks 30 to 35 feet high. Both floodbanks were honeycombed with an intricate system of German dugouts and defence posts, with a mine belt on the inner face of the east floodbank above the dugout entrances.
Sepoy Namdeo Jadhao was a Company runner and when his Company crossed the river he was with his Company Commander close behind one of the leading sections.
When wading the river and emerging on the west bank the party came under heavy fire from at least three German posts on the inner face of the east bank. The Company commander and two men were wounded and the rest, with the exception of Sepoy Namdeo Jadhao, were killed.
This gallant Sepoy immediately carried one of the wounded men through the deep water and up the precipitous slope of the bank through the mine belt to safety. He then made a second trip to bring back the other wounded man. Both times he was under heavy mortar and machine gun fire.
He then determined to eliminate the machine gun posts, which had pinned down the Companies, and to avenge his dead comrades, so, crossing the exposed east bank a third time, he dashed at the nearest enemy post and silenced it with his Tommy Gun. He was, however, wounded in the hand and, being unable to fire his gun any further, threw it away and resorted to grenades. With these he successively charged and wiped out two more enemy posts, at one time crawling to the top of the bank to replenish his stock of grenades from his comrades on the reverse slope.
Having silenced all machine gun fire from the east bank, he then climbed on to the top of it and, in spite of heavy mortar fire, stood in the open shouting the Mahratta war cry and waving the remainder of the Companies across the river.
This Sepoy not only saved the lives of his comrades, but his outstanding gallantry and personal bravery enabled the two Companies to hold the river banks firmly, and eventually the Battalion to secure a deeper bridgehead, which in turn ultimately led to the collapse of all German resistance in the area.

[London Gazette issue 37134 dated 19 Jun 1945, published 15 Jun 1945.]

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