During the 1971 war, the Madras Regiment was developed to capture Lalial and Sarajchak, prior to establishing a bridgehead across the river Basantar. Enemy minefields covered the entire area and the Pakistani infantry was well entrenched in the area. Pakistani observation posts kept a close watch over Indian movement.
Undaunted, the Madras Regiment attacked Lalial on 16th December. When the regiment commander and several others were wounded, Havildar Thomas Philipose took charge. Accompanied by only 15 men, the havildar led a fierce attack and secured Lalial. The enemy soon regrouped for a second attack.
Philipose and his men, however rushed at the advancing enemy with fixed bayonets, Philipose was hit by a bullet but he kept going. The ferocity of the charge unnerved the Pakistanis and they began retreating. A stray bullet hit Philipose again, but he held on grimly till the battle was honored with the Mahavir Chakra for his steadfastness and courage.