Two WW II jawans from Haryana to be laid to rest in Italy

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Htnation - Sudhi Ran­jan Sen let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

IDEN­TITY OF THE TWO SEPOYS WAS DE­CIDED US­ING DATA OF THE COM­MON­WEALTH WAR GRAVES COM­MIS­SION, LIST OF SOLDIERS IN MISS­ING IN AC­TION, DNA MAP­PING AND ANTHROPOMETRIC DATA

NEW DELHI: Nearly 74 years af­ter they died fight­ing the Nazi’s in Italy, two soldiers from Haryana – Se­poy Hari Singh and Se­poy Palu Ram – will be fi­nally buried in Florence this year. The In­dian Army is likely to send a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the burial at the Girone Mon­u­men­tal Ceme­tery in Florence.

Hari Singh and Palu Ram from Rothak and Hisar re­spec­tively - be­longed to the 4th Bat­tal­ion of the 13 Fron­tier Force Ri­fles – an as­sault group spe­cial­ized in moun­tain war­fare. The Fron­tier Force is no longer with the In­dian Army. In 1947, as In­dia and Pak­istan went dif­fer­ent ways, the Fron­tier Force was given away to Pak­istan.

Dur­ing World War II, the 4th Reg­i­ment of the Fron­tier Force and the 11 South African Brigade were to­gether de­ployed to counter the ma­raud­ing 362 Ger­man In­fantry Di­vi­sion that had rushed to sup­port the Ital­ian Army that was crum­bling.

Both Se­poy Hari Singh and Se­poy Palu Ram died fight­ing the Ger­mans in the Ital­ian hills near Florence. Hari Singh was about 20 years old and Palu Ram was just about 19, as per the records of the In­dian Army. Hari Singh and Palu Ram both the joined the army in 1942.

A few months later, Word War II would end, and Hari Singh and Palu Ram would be listed as Miss­ing in Ac­tion.

For the next 50 years, the two men were for­got­ten. In 1996, skele­tal re­mains were re­cov­ered from the hills near the Can­ta­gallo mu­nic­i­pal­ity . But, there was an­other wait of a decade­and-a-half. In­ves­ti­ga­tions to iden­tify the re­mains started in 2010. The iden­tity was es­tab­lished us­ing data of the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sion, list of soldiers in Miss­ing in Ac­tion, DNA map­ping and anthropometric data

Over 2.3 mil­lion In­dian troops – one of the largest con­tin­gents of the Al­lied Forces –fought Ja­pan and Ger­many in var­i­ous the­atres — from Burma in the East to Africa and Europe in the West. Se­poy Hari Singh and Se­poy Palu Ram are among the 89,000 In­dian troops who died in mil­i­tary ser­vice dur­ing World War II.

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