August 18, 1923|
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
|Died||6 September 1965
|Allegiance|| Hyderabad State
Republic of India
|Service/branch|| Hyderabad Army
|Years of service||1940-1951(Hyderabad Army)
17th Poona Horse
|Battles/wars||Battle of Chawinda
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
|Awards||Param Vir Chakra|
Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore, PVC was born on August 18, 1923 in Mumbai. He belongs to the family of General Ratanjiba who led the army of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who was awarded 100 villages of which Tarapore was main village. The name Tarapore comes for the same reason. Later his grandfather relocated to Hyderabad and started working under the excise department of Nizam of Hyderabad. After his death Burzonji took up his father's job and was comparatively successful due to his hardwork.
Ardeshir's was quite young when he saved his sister, Yadgar, from a family cow that had broken loose. By the time he was seven years old he was sent to the Sardar Dastur Boys' Boarding School, Pune. He completed his matriculation in the year 1940. After school he applied for the army and was selected. he did his initial training in the Officers' Training School at Golconda and on completion was sent to Bangalore. He saw himself commissioned in the 7th Hyderabad Infantry as a Second Lieutenant.
Hyderabad State Force
He was popularly known as "Adi". Adi was not very happy joining the infantry, instead he wanted to join an armoured regiment. On one fine day his battalion was inspected by Major General El Edroos, the Commander-in-Chief of the state forces. At the grenade throwing range due to an accident a grenade fell into the bay area. Adi was quick to jump and throw it. However the grenade exploded in the middle which left him injured as the flying shrapnel hit his chest. Major General Edroos, was a witness to this event which kept him spellbound. He was impressed by the exemplary courage displayed by Ardeshir. Major General Edroos summoned Ardeshir to his office and congratulated him for his efforts. Ardeshir took this as an opportunity and requested that he be transferred to an armoured regiment. The General accepted this and he was transferred to the 1st Hyderabad Imperial Service Lancers. Interestingly, 1st Hyderabad Lancers fought with The Poona Horse in Operation Polo.
He also saw active service in West Asia during World War-II during this part of his career.
Later Hyderabad was merged with Union of India. This eventually amalgamated the Indian Army. Ardeshir was shifted to The Poona Horse and was commissioned in Poona Horse on 1 April 1951. He rose to become Commanding Officer (CO) and commanded his very own regiment in the Poona Horse in the 1965 war against Pakistan and while leading his regiment in securing a major objective in Pakistan, Lieutenant Colonel A B Tarapore went down fighting on board his Centurion tank in the highest tradition of the army and recognised as the bravest of the brave to be awarded Param Vir Chakra for his action in the battle.
On 11 September 1965, the 17 Horse regiment launched attack on Phillora in the Sialkot sector at the Battle of Chawinda. The southern thrust of the attack, commanded by Tarapore advanced on the right flank. Between Phillora and Chawinda, the attack met with the Pakistani Army's heavy armour charge from Wazirwali. He held his ground and attacked Phillora under continuous enemy tank and artillery fire. When wounded, he refused to be evacuated. He led his regiment to capture Wazirwali on 14 September, and Jassoran and Butur-Dograndi on 16 September 1965.
Though his own tank was hit several times, he maintained his pivots at both these places, supporting the infantry attacking Chawinda. Inspired by his leadership, the regiment attacked the enemy armor and destroyed approximately sixty Pakistani Army tanks, suffering only nine tank casualties. However, Tarapore was killed when his tank was hit and was enveloped in flames.
Param Vir Chakra Citation
LIEUTENANT COLONEL A.B TARAPOREPOONA HORSE (17 HORSE) (IC-5565)
On 11 September 1965, the Poona Horse Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Burzarji Tarapore was assigned the task of delivering the main armoured thrust for capturing Phillora in the Sialkot Sector in Pakistan. As a preliminary to making a surprise attack on Phillora from the rear, the regiment was thrusting between Philloira and Chawinda when it was suddenly counter attacked by the enemy’s heavy Armour from Wazirali. Lieutenant Colonel A. B. Tarapore who was then at the head of his regiment, defied the enemy’s charge, held his ground and gallantly attacked Philloira with one of his squadrons supported by an infantry battalion. Though under continuous enemy tank and artillery fire, Lieutenant Colonel A B Tarapore remained unperturbed throughout this action and when wounded refused to be evacuated.
On 14 September 1965, though still wounded he again led his regiment to capture Wazirali. Such was his grit and determination that unmindful of his injury, he again gallantly led regiment and captured Jassoran and Butur-Dograndi on 16 September. His own tank was hit several times, but despite the odds he maintained his pivots in both these places and thereby allowed the supporting infantry to attack Chawinda from the rear.
Inspired by his leadership, the regiment fiercely attacked the enemy heavy armour destroying approximately 60 enemy tanks at a cost of only 9 tank casualties, and when lieutenant Colonel A. B Tara pore was mortally wounded the regiment continue to defy the enemy.
The valour displayed by lieutenant Colonel A.B. Tarapore in this heroic action, which lasted six days, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Army.