Hira Lal Atal

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Hira Lal Atal (26 January 1905 – 23 January 1985)[1] was the first Cadet Captain,[2] or Head Boy, of the famous Rashtriya Indian Military College, which was at that time known as the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun. The year was 1922 and the RIMC had just been established in an attempt to nurture native Indians to help them take command of the British Indian Army. He was at the Rawlinson Section, which later came to be known as Pratap Section after 1947.

Attended Sandhurst and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant onto the Unattached List, Indian Army 29 January 1925. He was attached to 1st battalion Gordon Highlanders from 20 March 1925 after which he was appointed to the Indian Army on 31 March 1926 and the 16th Light Cavalry.

Promoted Lieutenant 29 April 1927, he was appointed Quarter-Master 3 January 1928 till 1 October 1930. Attended the eight-month course at the Equitation School, Saugor during 1929-30. Appointed Adjutant 1 October 1930 until being attached for service with the Rewa State Forces, being appointed Chief of General Staff 16 February 1935, an appointment he relinquishes in 1936. Promoted Captain 29 January 1934. Attached to the 15th Lancers, now a training regiment, 7 September 1937 until being appinted Adjutant and Quartermaster of the Equitation School, Saugor 4 December 1938 until the establishment was closed in September 1939.

Attended Staff College, Quetta 1940-41 and then appointed to the Staff in the period 1941-42.

Promoted Major 29 January 1942

By 1943 he was serving with the 47th Cavalry. They were raised in April 1941 and later sent to Kohat as a frontier defence armoured car regiment. They were disbanded in August 1943 and he was sent back to the 16th Light Cavalry.

Appointed Acting Lieutenant Colonel 31 July 1944 and commanding officer 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry until 13 February 1946.

Commanded 2nd Independent Armoured Brigade December 1947 - February 1948.

Appointed Major General and commanded 1st Armoured Division February 1948 - May 1948.

He was later the first native Adjutant General of the Indian Union.[3] He was entrusted with the responsibility of designing the Indian equivalent of the Victoria Cross by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. General Atal knew Savitri Khanolkar, who was a friend's wife, and he also knew about her deep knowledge and interest in ancient Indian philosophy. He asked her to help and thus was created the Param Vir Chakra.

His brother K.L. Atal, who went on to win the Mahavir Chakra,[4] was a Rimcollian as well.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sandhu, Gurcham Singh, "I serve ("Ich dien"): saga of the Eighteenth Cavalry", 1991
  2. ^ Page 23, Where Gallantry is Tradition: Saga of Rashtriya Indian Military College, By Bikram Singh, Sidharth Mishra, Contributor Rashtriya Indian Military College, Published 1997, Allied Publishers, ISBN 81-7023-649-5
  3. ^ Page 51, Where Gallantry is Tradition: Saga of Rashtriya Indian Military College, By Bikram Singh, Sidharth Mishra, Contributor Rashtriya Indian Military College, Published 1997, Allied Publishers, ISBN 81-7023-649-5
  4. ^ Page 57, Where Gallantry is Tradition: Saga of Rashtriya Indian Military College, By Bikram Singh, Sidharth Mishra, Contributor Rashtriya Indian Military College, Published 1997, Allied Publishers, ISBN 81-7023-649-5
  • London Gazette (various dates)
  • Indian Army List (various dates)