|Born||1 July 1921
Hoshiarpur, East Punjab, British India
|Died||2 March 1945 (aged 23)
|Service/branch||British Indian Army|
|Years of service||1940-1945|
|Unit||7th Battalion 10th Baluch Regiment|
Naik Fazal Din VC (1 July 1921 – 2 March 1945) was a Punjabi Muslim recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was born in a poor, agricultural Gujjar family in the Hoshiarpur District of East Punjab. The Gujjar were considered by the British Indian Army to be a non-martial race, and hence were not given preference in military recruitment. Still, during the Second World War, many Gujjar enrolled in large numbers in the Army, and Fazal Din, having only passed Middle School, was inspired to join the British Indian Army by the outbreak of the World War. He was recruited as a rifleman and section gunner in the Baluch Regiment.
Fazal Din was 24 years old, and an Acting Naik in the 7th Battalion 10th Baluch Regiment, British Indian Army (now 15th Battalion The Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army) during World War II when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:
- During the Second World War, Fazal Din's battalion, 7/10th Baluch, fought against the Japanese Army in the Burmese Campaign. On 2 March 1945, near Meiktila, Burma, No. 18602 Naik Fazal Din was commanding a section during a company attack on a Japanese bunkered position. His section was held up by machine-gun fire and grenades from several bunkers. Unhesitatingly, he attacked the nearest position with grenades and silenced it; but as he led his men against the other bunkers, six Japanese soldiers rushed from a nearby house, led by two officers wielding swords. The section Bren gunner shot one officer and an enemy soldier, but ran out of ammunition and was killed by the second officer. Naik Fazal Din rushed to the assistance of his stricken comrade but the Japanese ran his sword through his chest. As he withdrew the sword, Fazal Din, despite his terrible wound, seized the sword from the Japanese officer and killed him with it. He then killed two more Japanese soldiers with the sword. Continuing to encourage his men, he staggered to his Platoon Headquarters to make his report. He collapsed there, and died soon after reaching the Regimental Aid Post. His action was seen by the whole platoon, who, inspired by his gallantry, continued the attack and annihilated the Japanese garrison of fifty-five men. Such supreme devotion to duty even when fatally wounded, presence of mind and outstanding courage have seldom been equalled and reflect the unquenchable spirit of a singularly brave and gallant NCO. For his incredible feat of valour, Naik Fazal Din was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
- Ahmed, Maj Gen Rafiuddin. (2000). History of the Baloch Regiment 1939-1956. Abbottabad: The Baloch Regimental Centre. pp. 157-58. ISBN 1-84574-094-7
- Thatcher, WS. (1980). The Tenth Baluch Regiment in the Second World War. Abbottabad: The Baluch Regimental Centre. pp. 349-50.
- The London Gazette, 24 May 1945.