Subedar-Major Singbir Thapa, Sirdar Bahadur, OBI

Singbir Thapa was Major Charles Reid’s Subedar Major (senior Gurkha officer) during the Sirmoor Battalion’s epic stand against the Indian mutineers on the Ridge at Delhi in 1857, where he was badly wounded in the neck.  He had been in the Gurkha Army defending Kalunga Fort against the British in 1814 and was one of the few to escape.  He joined the British Army in 1815 and had subsequently served with the Sirmoor Battalion at Koonja, Bhurtpore and in the battles of the 2nd Sikh War.  Reid mentions in his diaries that at Delhi he had a leading role in organising the evacuation of many casualties the Sirmoor Battalion and the troops fighting alongside them incurred.  On Reid’s recommendation he was awarded the Order of British India, First Class, and the title of ‘Sirdar Bahadur’ for his exemplary services at Delhi.  In 1863, following a special application to the Commander-in-Chief, he was granted some land in Dehra Dun, which the Regimental History described as ‘a reward more highly prized than any other the Government can bestow’.  He retired in 1868 after 53 years’ service with the Regiment ‘during which long period of Regimental life he had showed an example of good conduct and soldierly qualities seldom equalled’.  He died in June 1880.  There is no known photograph of him.

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