OUR HEROES | Brig Surrey: Selfless infantryman | india | Hindustan Times
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OUR HEROES | Brig Surrey: Selfless infantryman

THE FIRST thing that strikes you about Brig Narottam Singh Surrey is the tall, lean frame with strikingly Afghani features. Born on October 15 1927 in DI Khan of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, he did his schooling in Peshawar and Rawalpindi and BA from Camp College, New Delhi.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 15:58 IST

Look at an infantryman’s eyes and you can tell how much war he has seen. -Bill Mauldin

THE FIRST thing that strikes you about Brig Narottam Singh Surrey is the tall, lean frame with strikingly Afghani features. Born on October 15 1927 in DI Khan of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, he did his schooling in Peshawar and Rawalpindi and BA from Camp College, New Delhi.

He was commissioned into the Assam Regiment of the Indian Army in the year 1949. His first posting was at Shillong where he met his future wife Nabina, who according to him is his greatest strength and motivational force behind the long list of medals he has been awarded apart from the coveted AVSM. He has as many as 14 medals to his credit.

During his 32 years of service, Brig Surrey has held various key appointments like Brigade Intelligence officer, General Staff Officer Grade I with HQ UP Area, Battalion Commander and Commandant of Assam Regimental Training Centre, Chairman of Shillong Cantonment Board, Deputy Inspector General Assam Rifles, Sub Area Commander of the entire state of Rajasthan and partly Gujarat.

During his tenure as Independent Sub Area Commander he has also been Chairman of Military School, Ajmer, Bharatpur and Chairman of the local Board of administration of Sainik School at Chittorgarh and also the Chairman of the Central School at Jaipur.

As DIG Assam Rifles he had approximately 6,000 troops and civilians under his Command deployed in four difficult and interior districts of Nagaland as well as 150 km long international border with Burma. Despite heavy odds he had ensured high standard of training and operational efficiency of troops.

He carried out intensive reconnaissance of the area under most inhospitable climatic conditions and his tactical deployment of troops enabled them not only to dominate the area but also to gain the confidence of the local people. This subsequently resulted in the surrender of a number of insurgents and also in thwarting attempts of hard core elements to misguide people of the area.

For rendering this distinguished service of exceptional order he was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal by the President of India on 26 January 1980.

Brig Surrey now leads a happy and retired life at Bhopal with his daughter Geetali and son-in-law Mr Shekhar Mehra. We wish him and his family all the very best in life.