Kerala

90-year-old war veteran remembers sacrifices made by fellow soldiers

Honorary Subedar Major (Retd.) A.P. Joseph hoists the Tricolour at his residence at Mundamveli, located off Kochi, on Saturday. 

Honorary Subedar Major (Retd.) A.P. Joseph hoists the Tricolour at his residence at Mundamveli, located off Kochi, on Saturday. 

Scenes from the battlefront are crystal clear for Honorary Subedar Major (Retd.) A.P. Joseph, now aged 90, who raised the Tricolour at his house at Mundamveli, located off Kochi on Saturday.

Also present were 75 students and teachers from St. Louis High School in the locality.

Having fought three wars — the one with China in 1962 and those with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 — he saw many fellow soldiers die and is eternally thankful to God for sparing his life.

He vividly remembers May 17, 1952, the day he joined the 7 th Field Regiment of the Indian Army. “The physical training master of my school, who was an ex-serviceman, was my inspiration to join the Army. After an initial stint in Jammu and Kashmir, came the 1962 war with China. Later on, in 1965, I was a wireless operator and had to go to the battlefront during the Indo-Pak war. Among the deaths I witnessed was that of Capt. Karunakaran, a Kannur native, who was martyred by a Pakistani shell as he was giving water to a bleeding infantry man. I was destined to share the news over wireless with my superiors,” he says.

Among the other memories is that of Indian soldiers who destroyed Pakistan’s forward gun posts in the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan, in which India won a decisive victory. A rousing civic reception he was given by Athletic Sports Club at his home town was extra special, since news spread that he had died in battle.

The Army honoured him with a total of nine service medals during his 28-year military service after which he retired in 1980. “Post-retirement, I went on to become trustee of Mundamveli church for 33 years and could play a major role in building up St. Louis High School in what was once a slushy area,” says Joseph. Never the one to take credit for his achievements, he repeatedly spoke of how God’s grace saw him through testing times in his life.

He lives with his sons who are employed at the Vallarpadam container trans-shipment terminal and their families, who include five grandchildren, at the same compound at Mundamveli.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 7:34:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/90-year-old-war-veteran-remembers-sacrifices-made-by-fellow-soldiers/article65764877.ece