1947/48 War – Battle of Zoji La (1 Nov 48) …

Posted on January 9, 2015. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

Prior to taking over his command in Kashmir, Gen KS Thimayya, DSO, had walked into the then Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Gopi Chand Bhargava”s invite at Jalandhar, where he came across Mr Serbjeet Singh – an adventurer, film maker and painter. Taking an immediate liking, Thimaya invited him to fly with him to Kashmir the very next day.

Mr Serbjeet Singh also accompanied Gen Thimayya on the very first flight to Leh on 24 May 1948, which was piloted by the legendary Baba Mehar Singh, who flew his vintage Dakota without map and accessories and with rudimentary equipment, eventually landing on the make shift ALG on the dry river bed of the Indus River.

Parts of the following documentary were shot on location during the Battle of Zoji La and the liberation of Ladakh by Serbjeet Singh, Fortunately, Karamjit Singh, his son, has retrieved footage from the original film and supplementing it with aerial photography, he has created an authoritative DVD – “THE LIBERATION OF LADAKH”.

There are vintage visuals and voice recordings of Lieut General K M Cariappa, exhorting his Commanders on the battle-field and of course Major General K S Thimayya, DSO, who can be heard through most of it – specially when describing his troops with gems like “this is a supreme vindication of upright manhood.”

Also seen are Lt Gen Shrinagesh, Brig HL Atal and the Stuarts of 7 Cav under Rajinder Singh ‘Sparrow’ who later commanded the First Armored Division in the 1965 War.

Unfortunately Google Maps and modern technology may not have been available then and the quality of the terrain photography is unfortunately not that classy. With modern methods this can be indeed made into a great film. Any volunteers???

Vintage History.

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