Major General Godfray Hind, CSI MC KStJ

A distinguished Sirmoori described as ‘the kindest of men with a zest for life‘, who was awarded the Military Cross when serving with 4th Battalion 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles.

Hind as a Major General circa 1945 (National Portrait Gallery)

Major General Neville Godfray Hind was born on 8 January 1892, the son of A E Hind Esq.  He was educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.

Hind was gazetted to the Unattached List for the Indian Army from RMA Woolwich and arrived in India in December 1911.  He was initially attached to the 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire) Regiment.  In December 1912, he was transferred to the Indian Army and appointed to the 2nd Goorkhas, joining the 2nd Battalion (2/2GR) in Dehra Dun as a Company Officer.

When the 2nd Battalion went to France in September 1914 Hind was detailed to remain at the 2/2GR Depot at Dehra Dun.  However, the following year he was sent to France as a reinforcement, arriving at Marseille in July 1915 with a draft of 83 men who joined the Battalion at Calonne, where it was out of the line enjoying well-deserved rest.  Hind was appointed Quartermaster in August 1915 and moved with the Battalion to Marseille prior to sailing with it to Egypt on the SS Coconada, which reached Port Said on 17 November that year.

Hind as a Lieutenant in France in 1915

The Battalion stayed in Egypt until 17 February 1916 when Hind embarked with it on the SS Baroda for Karachi, reaching Dehra Dun in March.  In January 1917 2/2GR deployed to Burhan near Rawalpindi in the North West Frontier Province where in October 1917 Hind was appointed Adjutant.

He was with 2/2GR in March 1918 when it joined the Marri Field Force in Baluchistan, and he was mentioned in despatches for his services in that campaign.  He also served with them in the Third Afghan War (May-August 1919) and was again mentioned in despatches.  He briefly officiated in command of 2/2GR during May 1919.

After leave he rejoined the battalion in August 1919.  He commanded companies on operations against Mahsud tribesmen in the second attack on Girni Post and later in the ambushes on Manzai Ridge and on the third attack on Girni Post, shortly afterwards being appointed Battalion Second in Command.

In October 1919 Hind was attached to 2nd Battalion 127th (Queen Mary’s Own) Baluch Regiment, again as Second in Command, and later to the 4th Battalion 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles (4/3GR) as a Company Commander.  He served with them in the 1920 operations against the Mahsud tribesmen and in the course of the campaign Hind he was awarded the Military Cross and was mentioned in despatches for the third time.  In action at Makin near Taunda China in Waziristan, where he won his MC, he was severely wounded in the knee, leaving him permanently disabled.  The citation for his award reads:

‘For devotion to duty and gallantry in the field on 19 February 1920 at Makin.  This officer carried out a brilliant attack on a tower.  Leaving two platoons to cover his advance he personally led the other two to the attack.  On reaching the tower he found that the enemy’s fire from across a nullah was very severe.  He then personally attempted to get into the tower and destroy the enemy with bombs, in which action he was severely wounded. By his personal behaviour and leadership he was responsible for the successful result of the day’s work‘.

After the disbandment of 4/3GR Hind rejoined 2/2GR in Dehra Dun.  He attended Staff College, Quetta in 1922/3.  He returned to 2/2GR as a Company Commander and then from September 1924 to March 1926 was Brigade Major Zhon Independent Brigade Area.  From March 1926 to September 1928 he was GSO2 at HQ Northern Command at Rawalpindi.  From 1930-5 was Assistant Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence in London.

Hind was due to be posted to the 1st Battalion 2nd Goorkhas but instead was appointed Commandant of the 2nd Battalion in May 1935.  He served with it until March 1938 in Dehra Dun and Chittagong.  During this time he also attended the Senior Officers Course, Belgaum, went on leave for 3 months, briefly officiated in command of East Bengal Area and, in July 1936, was Officiating Commander of the Dehra Dun Brigade.

Portrait of Godfray Hind in 1943 by the war artist Harry Sheldon

He left 2/2GR in February 1938 to take up the appointment of Deputy Secretary in the Defence Department of the Government of India, remaining in that role until March 1940.  He was then appointed Commander Jubbulpore Brigade Area in the Central Provinces serving there until March 1942.  His final military appointment was as GOC Sindh District from March 1942 to March 1945, being promoted Major General in January 1943.  He became a Companion of the Star of India (CSI) in May 1943 and in December that year he was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta (3rd Class) for his services to Polish refugees evacuated through Iran to Karachi where he had organized their rest camps and onward movement.

In April 1945 Hind retired from the Army to live in Jersey in the Channel Islands.  He was active in both local government and charity work.  From 1946 to 1956 he was a Jurat (a lay judge) of the Royal Court of Jersey.  He was also a Senator in the Jersey Government, local President of the Royal British Legion, Commissioner of the Boy Scouts, President of the Beauté Naturelles

Legislation, an organisation to protect areas of natural beauty, a member of various Government Committees including Defence and Public Health, and Chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee.  In December 1966 he was appointed a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in recognition for his work as Chairman of that charity in Jersey.  He died in January 1973.

He married first Miss Marguerite ‘Peggy‘ Hall with whom he had a son.  She died in 1953 and five years later he married Mrs Noel Mansfield.

Hind’s awards and medals were purchased at auction in 2016 and are now in the medal collection of the Gurkha Museum .


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