S. P. P. Thorat

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S P P Thorat

Born(1906-08-12)12 August 1906
Vadgaon, Kolhapur State, British India
Died10 August 1992(1992-08-10) (aged 85)
Allegiance British India
Service/branch British Indian Army
 Indian Army
RankLieutenant General of the Indian Army.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldIA Eastern Command.jpg Eastern Command
Battles/warsBurma Campaign, World War II
Sino-Indian War
AwardsKirti Chakra
Padma Shri
Distinguished Service Order

Lieutenant General Shankarrao Pandurang Patil (SPP) Thorat, KC, DSO (12 August 1906 - 10 August 1992) was a General Officer in the Indian Army. He was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command in the lead up to the 1962 Sino-Indian War.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Thorat was born on 12 August 1906, in Vadgaon village, Kolhapur State, British India. [1] He studied at S P College, Pune and then at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from where he commissioned into the British Indian Army.

Military career[edit]

World War II[edit]

By World War II, Thorat was a lieutenant colonel and commanded battalions during the Burma campaign against Japan.[2] He attended Staff College, Quetta in 1941 and after a brief posting to the army HQ, Thorat joined the 4th battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment, which, as part of the 114th Indian Infantry Brigade under the 7th Indian Infantry Division, played a role in clearing Japanese forces from the Naga Hills.[2] He participated in small actions with 4/14th Punjab and after a short stay, transferred to the 9th battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment under the 20th Indian Infantry Division, which was engaged in fighting on the Imphal plains.[2] The commanding officer of 9/14th Punjab went down with dysentery and Thorat temporarily took command of the battalion.[2] Since it was his first time commanding a battalion, he accompanied his troops on a long reconnaissance patrol, which his brigade commander didn't approve of.[2] In November 1944 Thorat received his first official battalion command, and took command of the 2nd battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment under the 51st Indian Infantry Brigade.[2] This brigade became known as the "Indian Brigade" because unlike other British Indian Army brigades which were composed of 2 Indian battalions and 1 British battalion, the 51st Brigade had 3 Indian battalions.[2] Additionally, all 3 battalions in the brigade had Indian commanding officers - K.S. Thimayya, L.P. Sen, and Thorat.[2] These 3 were among the few Indian officers above the rank of major who saw intense action during the war.

Battle of Kangaw[edit]

In January 1945 2/2nd Punjab participated in the battle of Kangaw.[2] The 51st Brigade had been assigned the task of clearing strongly fortified Japanese rearguard positions, and Thorat coordinated his battalion's attack with artillery and air support.[2] However, the battalion still took heavy casualties as they advanced through rice paddies to close with the Japanese.[2] At one point Thorat engaged in hand-to-hand combat, during which he killed a young Japanese officer and seized his sword.[2] After his initial attack had succeeded, Thorat limited his battalion's advance and consolidated their position of half of the hill feature.[2] He was fully aware of the Japanese tactic of evacuating a position under attack and then swiftly counterattacking to retake it, thus inflicting maximum casualties on their enemy.[2] When the counterattack came, it was repelled by prepared battalion defences and air strikes.[2]

Dates of rank[edit]

Insignia Rank Component Date of rank
British Army OF-1a.svg Second Lieutenant British Indian Army 30 August 1926[3]
British Army OF-1b.svg Lieutenant British Indian Army 30 November 1928[4]
British Army OF-2.svg Captain British Indian Army 30 August 1935[5]
British Army (1920-1953) OF-3.svg Major British Indian Army 1940 (acting)[6]
18 November 1940 (temporary)[6]
30 August 1943 (substantive)[7]
British Army (1920-1953) OF-4.svg Lieutenant-Colonel British Indian Army 1 April 1946 (war-substantive)[8]
British Army (1920-1953) OF-5.svg Colonel British Indian Army 1 April 1946 (acting)[8]
British Army (1928-1953) OF-6.svg Brigadier British Indian Army 13 June 1946 (acting)[8]
British Army (1920-1953) OF-3.svg Major-General Indian Army 15 August 1947[note 1][9]
British Army OF-7.svg Major-General Indian Army 30 August 1949 (acting)
1 January 1950 (substantive, with seniority from 30 August 1949)[10]
Major General of the Indian Army.svg Major-General Indian Army 26 January 1950 (recommissioning and change in insignia)[9][11]
Lieutenant General of the Indian Army.svg Lieutenant-General Indian Army 1 June 1955 (local)[12]
1 February 1957 (substantive)[13]


  • From Reveille to Retreat (1986). Allied Publishers. ISBN 978-8-17023-077-9.


  1. ^ Upon independence in 1947, India became a Dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations. As a result, the rank insignia of the British Army, incorporating the Tudor Crown and four-pointed Bath Star ("pip"), was retained, as George VI remained Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. After 26 January 1950, when India became a republic, the President of India became Commander-in-Chief, and the Ashoka Lion replaced the crown, with a five-pointed star being substituted for the "pip."


  1. ^ "veekay's history book: Biography - Lt. Gen S.P.P. Thorat, KC, DSO". veekay's history book. 3 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Barua, Pradeep (2003). Gentlemen of the Raj: The Indian Army Officer Corps. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-27597-999-7.
  3. ^ "No. 33198". The London Gazette. 3 September 1926. p. 5766.
  4. ^ "No. 33458". The London Gazette. 18 January 1929. p. 467.
  5. ^ "No. 34204". The London Gazette. 4 October 1935. p. 6219.
  6. ^ a b Indian Army List for October 1945 (Part I). Government of India Press. 1945. p. 149.
  7. ^ "No. 36290". The London Gazette. 17 December 1943. p. 5497.
  8. ^ a b c The Quarterly Army List: December 1946 (Part I). HM Stationery Office. 1946. pp. 220v–x.
  9. ^ a b "New Designs of Crests and Badges in the Services" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 24 June 1950. p. 70.
  11. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 11 February 1950. p. 227.
  12. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 2 July 1955. p. 130.
  13. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 March 1957. p. 59.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
K S Thimayya
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command
1957 - 1961
Succeeded by
L P Sen