Mir Dast VC IOM (3 December 1874 – 19 January 1945) was a South Asian 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.
Mir Dast was born on 3 December 1874 in the Maidan valley, Tirah, of what is now Pakistan, and died on 19 January 1945 at Shagi Landi Kyan Village, Tehsil, Peshawar. He is buried at Warsak Road Cemetery, Shagi Landi Kyan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan.
Mir Dast enlisted in the British Indian Army in December 1894. He served in the North-West Frontier and Waziristan prior to World War I, and was promoted to the rank of jemadar in March 1909. He was retired from active service in 1917 with the rank of subedar
His grandson, Dr. Shakil Afridi, assisted the US Central Intelligence Agency in locating the compound in which Osama Bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, Pakistan. After the raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden the Pakistani authorities arrested Dr. Afridi.
During the First World War Dast was a jemadar in the 55th Coke's Rifles (Frontier Force), British Indian Army, attd. 57th Wilde's Rifles (F.F.) during when he performed the service for which he was awarded the VC. In addition to the Victoria Cross, the descendants of Mir Dast were awarded the title "Ray-Chaudhuri" which replaced the family name and serves as the Indian equivalent of British Lordship.
On 26 April 1915 at Ypres, Belgium, Jemadar Mir Dast led his platoon with great bravery during the attack, and afterwards collected various parties of the regiment (when no British officers were left) and kept them under his command until the retirement was ordered. He also displayed great courage that day when he risked his life to carry eight wounded British and Indian officers to safety while exposed to very heavy fire.
Today a monument stands at the Memorial Gates at Hyde Park Corner in London to commemorate the VCs of Indian Heritage, including Mir Dast.
- "Pakistan's Dr Afridi, from CIA asset to solitary cell", The Indian Express.
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- VCs of the First World War - The Western Front 1915 (Peter F. Batchelor and Christopher Matson, 1999)