Uttarakhand Stories

The Young Gun of Garhwal Rifles – Gabar Singh Negi

by Pragati Chauhan
Dec 18, 2015

At the age of 21, when boys enroll their names in college and enjoy their bachelorhood, Gabar Singh Negi was serving as a Rifleman in the 2nd Battalion of the 39th Garhwal Rifles. This brave soldier of the Garhwal Rifles was awarded Victoria Cross for his dauntless service to the British Indian Army during World War I.

Gabar Singh Negi: No. 1685 Rifleman of Garhwal Rifles

Gabar Singh Negi born on April 21, 1895, at Manjood Village near Chamba in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, served as a soldier in the British Indian Army, during World War I. He was the recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest gallantry award in the face of the enemy. This award is only rewarded to the British and Commonwealth forces.

During World War I, Singh and his battalion won the battle at Flanders in Germany:

Photo Src: cwgc.org

Photo Src: cwgc.org

Gabar Singh Negi joined the Garhwal Rifles on October 1913. He was barely 21 years old when he was serving as a Rifleman in the 2nd Battalion of the 39th Garhwal Rifles. It was the outcome of his exemplary performance on March 10, 1915, at Neuve Chapelle in France, that he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His Majesty the King was pleased to grant him Victoria Cross for his conspicuous heroic act and devotion to his duty, whilst serving with the Expeditionary Force.

Gabar Singh Negi’s name has been carved on Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial in France:

Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial in France

Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial in France. Photo Src: cwgc.org

During an attack on the German position, Negi who was armed with a bayonet drove the enemies from their main trench and chased them until they surrendered. Unfortunately, he was killed during this engagement. To felicitate this valiant soldier, his name has been engraved on the Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial in France.

The Gabar Singh Negi Fair in Chamba is held in the memory of the great son of Garhwal:

In the memory of this brave heart, “The Gabar Singh Negi Fair” is held annually at Chamba. The Garhwal Rifles adopted the fair in the year 1971, to inspire the young generation to join the armed forces. Soon, the fair started attracting the villagers from faraway places to pay homage to the brave soldier. Every year, around 20 or 21 April (depending on the Hindu calendar) the area near the Negi Memorial in Chamba, becomes lively as many stalls are set up there. The other interesting feature of the fair is the recruitment rally conducted by the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre. The villagers, especially the youths attend this fair because of the recruitment rally.

Gabar Singh Memorial built in honour of the valiant warrior:

Gabbar Singh Negi memorial at Chamba

Gabbar Singh Negi memorial at Chamba. Photo src: cwgc.org

Gabar Singh Memorial was built in 1925, to honour Gabar Singh Negi who served as a Rifleman in the Garhwal Rifles. The memorial is a popular tourist attraction of Chamba. During World War I, Singh and his battalion won the battle at Flanders in Germany. After his death, he was rewarded with the highest gallantry award, the Victory Cross. The Garhwal Regiment, on every April 21, pays tribute to this brave warrior. The saga of Negi’s bravery continues to inspire the hill folk of Uttarakhand to join Indian Army.

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

7 Responses

Capt Atindra Katkar Says

Thank you beta for finding time to write about this incredibly brave and selfless soldier who wasn’t honoured by his own nation as much as he was by the Europeans.

GS Says


suraj soliyal Says

A grand salute to gabbar singh negii… For his braveryy

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thank you so much sir :)

Bharat Rawat Says

Very impressive article. Thanks for sharing wonderful info of Great Son of Uttarkhand.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thank you so much.

vipin singh negi Says

very nice n informative article…… nd salute to GABBAR