Somnath Sharma

Major Somnath Sharma of the 4th Battalion, the Kumaon regiment, was the first soldier of Indian armed forces to be awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Though his left arm was in plaster he led his men to battle against Pakistani raiders to secure Srinagar airfield on 3rd November1947.His last message was:

"The enemy is only 50 yards away from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I will fight to the last man and the last round."

He was killed in an explosion shortly after sending the message, but his soldiers fought like men possessed and held on till reinforcements arrived, after which the enemy was beaten back.

Major Sharma was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthomously in 1950, the year the award was instituted.