Darwan Singh Negi
|Darwan Singh Negi|
Karbartir, Uttarakhand, India
24 June 1950 (aged 68)|
|Service/||British Indian Army|
|Unit||39th Garhwal Rifles|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Darwan Singh Negi VC (November 1881 – 24 June 1950) was among the earliest Indian recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Negi was approximately 33 years old, and a naik (equivalent to corporal) in the 1st Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles, British Indian Army during the First World War when he performed the deeds during the Defence of Festubert for which he was awarded the VC. The citation reads:
His Majesty the KING-EMPEROR has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned soldier of the Indian Army for conspicuous bravery whilst serving with the Indian Army Corps, British Expeditionary Force: —
1909, Naik Darwan Sing [sic] Negi, 1st Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles.
For great gallantry on the night of the 23rd–24th November, near Festubert, France, when the regiment was engaged in retaking and clearing the enemy out of our trenches, and, although wounded in two places in the head, and also in the arm, being one of the first to push round each successive traverse, in the face of severe fire from bombs and rifles at the closest range.— London Gazette, 7 December 1914.
He was awarded the medal on the same day as Khudadad Khan VC; but the latter's VC action was of earlier date, so that he is regarded as the first Indian recipient.
Negi retired with the rank of subedar, equivalent to a British captain. Both his son Balbir and Balbir's son Nitin served in the Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army; both achieved the rank of colonel. His Victoria Cross is held by his family. The regimental museum of The Garhwal Rifles in Lansdowne, Uttarakhand is named the Darwan Singh Museum in his honour.
- "No. 28999". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 December 1914. p. 10425.
- "In Faraway French Commune, Ceremonial Send-off For Two First World War Indian Soldiers". Swarajya. 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-15.