Major Gurdial Singh Jallanwalia (Retd), who was nation’s oldest artilleryman and who fought four wars, including World War-II and two wars against Pakistan (1948 & 1965) passed away on May 21, 2020 in Ludhiana. The war wounded veteran was 103.
His death was confirmed by a senior Army official on Friday.
A total of 14 family members of Jallanwalia have provided their services to the Indian Army and have the distinction of having participated in all the wars since World War I. Jallanwalia’s father Risaldaar Duleep Singh was a World War I veteran who fought in Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq).
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh took to Twitter to pay his tributes to the Army veteran Major GS Jallanwalia who breathed his last on May 21.
“I pay my tributes to Army veteran Major GS Jallanwalia, who we lost on Friday at the age of 102. An officer with an illustrious career, Major Jallanwalia participated in 4 battles including World War II & 1965 Indo-Pak War. We shall always be indebted to him for his service,” a tweet posted by Singh read.
I pay my tributes to Army veteran Major GS Jallanwalia, who we lost on Friday at the age of 102. An officer with an illustrious career, Major Jallanwalia participated in 4 battles including World War II & 1965 Indo-Pak War. We shall always be indebted to him for his service.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) May 23, 2020
Jallanwalia’s illustrious services to the Indian Army
Jallanwalia was born on August 21, 1917, and matriculated from the Royal Indian Military School, Jalandhar Cantt, before joining the Mountain Artillery Training Center on June 15, 1935. After he completed his training, he was stationed with 14 Rajputana Mountain Battery at Abbottabad (now in Pakistan).
In 1940, he was posted to a Survey Troop at Cammbellpur (now in Pakistan). Next year, the Survey Regiment was promoted and later in 1942, it became the first Survey regiment. Subsequently, he got permanent Regular Commission as Second Lieutenant in 1947 and was posted to 40 Field Regiment. Before being posted to Survey Regiment, Jallanwalia participated in Ahmadzai-Waziristan Operation in North-West Frontier Province in 1939 and 1940.
Jallanwalia also participated in the World War-II when he along with others were sent to Myanmar by road from Bengaluru to fight against the advancing armies of the Japanese in 1944. When he along with the soldiers of his platoon reached the Iraawadi river, they were shot at by a Japanese soldier. He gathered his team and took down two Japanese hidden in the bushes but was unfortunately got hit by a bullet. He holds the distinction of serving as a gunner for three decades in the Indian Army.
After India gained its independence, Gurdial Singh took part in the Indian Army’s attack against the Pakistani infiltrators in Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948. Jallanwalia served as Counter Bombardment Officer in XI in Amritsar-Lahore Sector during the Indo-Pak war in 1965. He is a pioneer in developing surveillance and target acquisition in Indian Artillery after India’s independence. Singh retired from his active services in 1967.
Singh is survived by his two sons- Harmanderjeet Singh and Harjinderjeet Singh, who joined the Indian Army and Indian Air Force respectively and fought the Kargil War with Pakistan in 1999.