One of the Indian Army's oldest artillery men, Major (retd.) Gurdial Singh Jallawalia, who fought three wars, including World War II and two wars against Pakistan, has died, a senior Indian Army officer stated on Friday.
After suffering from some age-related ailments for quite some time, Jallawalia breathed his last on Thursday at his house in the city of Ludhiana at 7:30 in the morning, his family said.
Born on 21 August 1917, Jallawalia and 13 others members of his family served in the Indian Army.
Jallawalia’s father Risaldaar Duleep Singh also fought in World War 1 in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).
He attended King George Royal India Military School in Punjab’s Jalandhar Cantt. "At the age of 17, Jallawalia joined the Army as a Gunner in 1934 under British Rule and did his initial training at Mountain Artillery Training Centre in Ambala Cantt. After completing his training, he was posted to 14 Rajputana Mountain Battery at Abbottabad (now in Pakistan). In 1939-40, Jallawalia took part in the Ahmadzai-Waziristan Operations in North West Frontiers Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan),” the official said.
Later in 1940, Jallawalia was posted to a survey troop in Cammbellpur (now in Pakistan). In 1941, the survey regiment was upgraded, and became the first survey regiment in 1942.
“Jallawalia along with others went to Burma (now Myanmar) during World War II to fight against the Japanese. He was shot during the war in 1945. He later got a permanent regular commission as second lieutenant in 1947 and was posted to 40 Field Regiment (RIA). In 1948, he participated in the action against the infiltration of Jammu and Kashmir,” officials said.
Jallawalia served as a gunner in the Indian Army for over three decades. During the 1965 India-Pakistan war, he was the Counter Bombardment officer in the XI Corps.
His sons and grandson have kept the family tradition alive by joining India's Armed Forces. His eldest son retired as a Lt. Col. and his younger son retired as a Group Captain in the Indian Air Force; he fought during the 1999 Kargil War.
Jallawalia’s grandson is also serving in the Indian Army, along with his wife.