A father’s life-saving efforts in the British Indian Army during World War Two have been proudly recalled by his son in Sheffield.
Muhammad Jamil, aged 65, from Millhouses, was among the thousand-strong crowd at Barker’s Pool for the civic Remembrance Day service.
Abdul Ghani, Mr Jamil’s father, was a Subedar Major – equivalent of a Sergeant Major – in the British Indian Army and received the Order of British India Medal for a brave deed in Iraq.
Mr Jamil said: “My father was stationed near Basra when the Germans raided at night and all the water storage was destroyed.
“He had very good map-reading skills and had carried out reconnaissance.
“There were two lakes on the outskirts of Basra, which were frozen because it was winter. He was able to lead a convoy to the lakes and drill through the ice to get the water out.”
The medal was given for the Basra operation and for other deeds during the war.
Mr Jamil’s father never came to England and the area where he lived, on the border of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province, became part of Pakistan after the war.
Before his death in 1987, he passed the OBI medal on to Mr Jamil, who came to the UK from Pakistan in 1971 and was working as an NHS mental health nurse until retiring recently.
Mr Jamil said: “My father was a remarkable man of whom the family is very proud.
“A lot of people don’t realise the role played by soldiers in the British Indian Army, many of them Muslims.
“Without them we may not have won the war – my father’s generation made a tremendous sacrifice.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Liberal Democrat group leader on Sheffield Council and a friend of Mr Jamil, said the role of Muslim soldiers fighting for Britain is often forgotten.
He said: “People like Mr Jamil’s father were an important part of the war effort which kept our country free.”
Paying respects to fallen
Youngsters and shoppers fell silent in tribute to people who have died for their country at separate events to mark Armistice Day.
A parade took place at Crystal Peaks shopping centre involving World War Two and Korea veterans. Meanwhile, Mount Saint Mary’s College’s Army and RAF cadets gathered in full uniform for a parade through the Spinkhill school grounds, to lay wreaths and take part in a service .