|Naik Fazal Din|
Meiktila was a town that had a slightly cooler climate than the rest of Burma, due entirely to the rivers around the area. The settlement had been battled over in 1942 when the British fought a delaying action allowing a routed Chinese army to get clear of the pursuing Japanese. In 1945 the British were back and pushing on the town. The Japanese had dug in well, and the countryside was littered with bunkers and defensive positions. Using their superiority in armour they began to force the Japanese back, despite losing several tanks to Japanese anti-tank ambushes. On 26th of February 1945 the Allies captured one of the airfields around the town, allowing more troops and fuel to be airlifted in.
|British Soldiers mopping up in Meiktila|
During the 2nd of March the operation to clear the town continued. Naik Din was leading his section, they had been accompanied by a tank earlier in the day but had been separated from it. It was at this point they ran into a killing zone, with three Japanese bunkers on one flank, and a fourth on the other. It was the key enemy position in the area and had resisted an earlier attack.
Naik Din wasn't dead though, He grappled with the Japanese, snatching the sword from the startled Japanese officer, then killing the Japanese officer with his own weapon. He then set about the Japanese infantry man, killing two. The second man he'd killed was about to kill one of his own men. Then standing in the middle of the bloody battlefield brandishing the captured sword he yelled encouragement to the men around him, he directed the squad’s sergeant to take over and continue the attack. He returned to the headquarters, insisting on completing his report before he allowed himself to take first aid.
However despite the best efforts of the medics, Naik Fazal Din died shortly after reaching the aid post. On 24th of May 1945, he was awarded the Victoria cross for his actions.
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