Hira Lal Atal

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Hira Lal Atal (26 January 1905 – 23 January 1985)[1] was an Indian soldier. He served with the British Indian Army from 1925 until 1947, and the Indian Army from 1947. He rose to the rank of major general and was the first native adjutant general of the Indian Union. He had the major role in designing the Indian Armed Forces highest award for bravery, the Param Vir Chakra.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Hira Lal Atal attended the Rawlinson Section (renamed the Pratap Section in 1947) of the Rashtriya Indian Military College RIMC in Dehradun, India. RIMC was intended to prepare native Indians to take command of the British Indian Army and was earlier known as the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, which was established in 1921. Hira was the first cadet captain,[2] or head boy.

Atal attended Sandhurst and was commissioned a second lieutenant into the Unattached List, Indian Army on 29 January 1925. He was attached to the 1st battalion Gordon Highlanders from 20 March 1925, and appointed to the Indian Army on 31 March 1926, and the 16th Light Cavalry.

Hira Lal Atal has promoted to lieutenant on 29 April 1927 and appointed quarter-master, serving in that post from 3 January 1928 until 1 October 1930. He attended an eight-month course at the Equestrian School, Saugor during 1929–30. He was appointed adjutant on 1 October 1930 until being attached to the Rewa State Forces. He was promoted to captain on 29 January 1934. He was appointed chief of staff 16 February 1935, an appointment he relinquished in 1936. He was attached to the 15th Lancers, a training regiment, on 7 September 1937 until being appointed adjutant and quarter-master of the Equestrian School, Saugor on 4 December 1938 until the establishment was closed in September 1939.

War years[edit]

He attended Staff College, Quetta from 1940 to 1941 and was then appointed to the staff for the period 1941 to 1942. He was promoted to 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 defense armored-car regiment. They were disbanded in August 1943 and he was sent back to the 16th Light Cavalry. He was appointed acting lieutenant colonel on 31 July 1944 and commanding officer 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry until 13 February 1946. He commanded the 2nd Independent Armored Brigade from December 1947 until February 1948. He was promoted to major general and commanded 1st Armored Division from February 1948 until May 1948.

Adjutant General[edit]

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, with the help of Savitri Khanolkar. created the Param Vir Chakra.

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

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)