Mosque prayers mark VC hero’s anniversary

Hero: Subedar (Warrant Officer) Shah Ahmad Khan (VC).
Hero: Subedar (Warrant Officer) Shah Ahmad Khan (VC).

A soldier who served with the British-Indian Army during the First World War will be prayed for, remembered and honoured this weekend by local Sufi-Muslim Mosques across Batley, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike.

Subedar Shah Ahmad Khan VC died 70 years’ ago on July 28, 1948. His relatives owned a furniture shop in Saville Town during the 1970s, and were part of a number of local Dewsbury households with family members who served in the Great War.

Shah Ahmad Khan’s regiment was sent to Mesopotamia (now part of Iraq) at the outbreak of war in August 1914.

On 12 April 1916, Private Khan’s regiment was attacked by a much bigger Turkish force.

Despite the heavy assault, he stayed at his post, firing a machine-gun at the attacking force for three hours until the ammunition ran out.

He then used his own gun to hold down the enemy, and did not move even after all the members of his machine-gun team had been killed. He only moved back after being given orders by his superiors.

Upon his return to the British line, Shah Ahmad Khan came back with another severely injured comrade.

More than a million soldiers from the British-Indian Army fought alongside the Allies during the First World War.