Story by Fran Belbin | Photo by Talib Hussain
An unsung war veteran from Burngreave has been recognised by the Lord Lieutenant for South Yorkshire, the Lord Mayor and city councillors. Mr Ghulam Mohammed was honoured at Sheffield Town Hall on 9th October.
The Messenger visited Mr Mohammed, who will be 104 in December (but is still amazingly sprightly) to hear his memories.
He was born in what is now Pakistan, when the country was all one with India. When he was young he joined and trained in the Indian army, which came to the assistance of the Allies during WWII. Leaving India, he made himself a solemn promise:
“Whatever happens, even if I become injured or die, I promise that I will go and fight from my heart.”
During the fighting his camp was targeted by the enemy and saw the commander of his unit shot dead. Held hostage by the Japanese for two months in Burma, he was eventually rescued by another battalion. Following this he continued to fight across Burma, even when he had broken his fingers from handling the rifles. He still gets pain in his fingers from this injury today.
After the war he moved to East Bengal (now Bangladesh) following partition. The Queen visited Pakistan and offered a life in the UK to veterans who had supported the British war effort, which is how he became a citizen here in the early 1960’s. He has lived in Burngreave ever since, working in the steel industry, and has gone on to have 8 children and 14 grandchildren.
Mr Mohammed has several souvenirs from his army days, even though some of his medals were regrettably stolen. As well as medals he has his army discharge papers, showing that he was of ‘exemplary character’, and a card from the Queen in recognition of his 100th birthday. He is delighted to have finally been honoured by his adopted home city.