Colonel Suba Sing Lama

A Sirmoori who fought on the Western Front and became a prisoner of war, but later won
the King’s Medal for India.  On retirement as a Jemadar he joined the Mewar State Forces and reached the rank of Colonel.

Colonel Suba Sing Lama was a remarkable Sirmoori . He was the son of Subadar Major and Hon Captain Gopiram Lama and a half-brother of Subadar Major and Hon Captain Dan Sing Lama OBI IOM.  Other members of his family included two half-brothers, Havildar Lalu Lama who also served with the 2nd Battalion in France and Rifleman Lal Sing Lama who was a clerk in 2nd Battalion HQ.  He also had a nephew, Gangabahadur Lama, who served with 3rd Battalion in Burma and accompanied the 2nd Battalion to Malaya, later transferring to the 6th Gurkha Rifles where he rose to the rank of Captain (GCO).

Suba Sing Lama enlisted in 1911 and was posted to the 2nd Battalion.  He accompanied the Battalion to France in October 1914 as a Signaller.  He was one of the few men to be taken prisoner.  He was captured on 20 December 1914 during the action of La Quinque Rue when the Battalion suffered heavy casualties.  The action was described in Regimental History Vol II and mentions him:

‘Major Boileau in his account of the fighting on the 20th December records an act of devotion to duty when Captain Bethell (No 4 Company Commander) had to retire in the early stages of the action, and two of our signallers – Suba Sing Lama and Ranbir Sahi, who when the fighting in ‘The Strand‘ was in progress were found standing at their post completely isolated.  They had not retired as they considered it their duty to remain at their telephone till orders reached them.’

Suba Sing Lama together with other Indian Army Prisoners of War was sent by the Germans to work on the land in Bulgaria.  After his release he continued to serve as a Signaller, rising to the rank of Signal Havildar before being promoted to Jemadar.

He came to prominence in 1926 when he became the first member of the 2nd Goorkhas to win the King’s Medal for India at the Central Meeting at Meerut, making him the best shot in the Indian Army.   Suba Sing was also an accomplished footballer and during the 1913-14 season he represented the 2nd Battalion.

In retirement Suba Sing took employment with the Mewar* State Forces where he rose to the rank of Colonel.  He died in 1960.

* = The Kingdom of Mewar, sometimes known as Udaipur State, was an independent kingdom in Rajputana.