- Name: Agan SING RAI
- D.O.B: 24th April, 1920
- D.O.A: 26th June, 1944
- D.O.D: 27th May, 2000
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Acting Naik, 2nd Battalion 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force), 48th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division
Near Bishenpur, India 25-26 June 1944
25-26 June 1944
The Second World War 1944
At Imphal fighting dragged on through June 1944 as the Japanese made increasingly desperate attempts to advance on the town. Their attacks early on in the month at Ningthoukhong on the road south-west from Imphal towards Tiddim have been described above (see H V Turner VC and Tul Bahadur Pun VC). 17th Indian Division was at Bishenpur, a few miles north of Ningthoukhong. Here the Imphal road was joined by a supply track running through the hills from Silchar, 38 miles to the west. On 24 June the Japanese captured an outlying position at Bishenpur, the ‘Water Piquet’ and also threatened the strategically important ‘Mortar Bluff’. Heavy fighting raged over these posts and the Japanese were eventually driven back. By the end of the month it was clear that their advance into Assam had proved a disastrous failure and that their only option was to withdraw.
In Burma on 24th and 25th June, 1944, after fierce fighting, the enemy, with greatly superior
forces, had captured two posts known as “Water Piquet” and “Mortar Bluff”. These posts
were well sighted and were mutually supporting and their possession by the enemy threatened
On the morning of 26th June, 1944, a Company of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier
Force) was ordered to recapture these positions.
After a preliminary artillery concentration, the Company went into attack but on reaching
a false crest about 80 yards from its objective, it was pinned down by heavy and accurate fire
from a machine-gun in “Mortar Bluff” and a .37 millimetre gun in the jungle, suffering many
casualties. Naik Agansing Rai, appreciating that more delay would inevitably result in heavier
casualties, at once led his section under withering fire directly at the machine-gun and, firing
as he went, charged the position, himself killing three of the crew of four. Inspired by this cool
act of bravery the section surged forward across the bullet swept ground and routed the whole
garrison of “Mortar Bluff”.
This position was now under intense fire from the .37 millimetre gun in the jungle and from
“Water Piquet”. Naik Agansing Rai at once advanced towards the gun, his section without
hesitation following their gallant leader. Intense fire reduced the section to three men before
half the distance had been covered but they pressed on to their objective. Arriving at close
range, Naik Agansing Rai killed three of the crew and his men killed the other two. The party
then returned to “Mortar Bluff” where the rest of their platoon were forming up for the final
assault on “Water Piquet”. In the subsequent advance heavy machine-gun fire and showers of
grenades from an isolated bunker position caused further casualties. Once more, with indomitable
courage, Naik Agansing Rai, covered by his Bren gunner, advanced alone with a grenade
in one hand and his Thompson Sub-Machine gun in the other. Through devastating fire he
reached the enemy position and with his grenade and bursts from his Thompson Sub-Machine
gun killed all four occupants of the bunker.
The enemy, demoralized by this N.C.O.’s calm display of courage and complete contempt
for danger, now fled before the onslaught on “Water Piquet” and this position too was captured.
Naik Agansing Rai’s magnificent display of initiative, outstanding bravery and gallant leadership,
so inspired the rest of the Company that, in spite of heavy casualties, the result of this
important action was never in doubt.
(The Citation incorrectly places the Action in Burma rather than India).