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