Kanwar Zorawar Singh Nathawat
Born(1920-02-14)14 February 1920
Jaipur, India
Died24 December 1994(1994-12-24) (aged 74)
Allegiance India
Indian Army
UnitCentral India Horse
Commands heldCentral India Horse
Battles/warsWorld War II, Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

Major-General Kanwar Zorawar Singh MC (14 February 1920 – 24 December 1994) was a senior cavalry officer in the Indian Army.

Early life

Singh was born in the Princely state of Jaipur on 14 February 1920, the son of Major-General Sir Bhairon Singh, an officer in the Jaipur State Forces. He attended the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College (RIMC) from August 1931 to 1938. Following his education at RIMC, he gained entrance to the Indian Military Academy. Upon graduation in 1941, he would receive the Sword of Honour for the best overall performance by a gentleman cadet.

Military career

After receiving his commission as a cavalry officer, Singh briefly joined the 16th Light Cavalry before being transferred to the Central India Horse. During the Italian Campaign, the Central India Horse was a reconnaissance unit for the 4th Indian Division. Singh was made second-in-command of B Squadron in this regiment. On 3 August 1944 Singh led a reconnaissance patrol consisting of his squadron and another towards Casale Vecchia, which is north-west of Arezzo. The objective was to determine the location of the German frontline and eliminate any Germans encountered. During the patrol, a German reconnaissance force was encountered. The result of this engagement left two enemy dead and three others taken prisoner. Singh was awarded the Military Cross for leadership during the operation. In October 1944 the Central India Horse was sent to Greece to stabilise the country following the withdrawal of German forces.

After the Second World War, the Central India Horse returned to India in February 1946. Singh was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and became commandant to the Central India Horse. In 1948 Pakistani forces attempted seize control over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Singh was tasked with recapturing the town of Rajauri. The 28-mile road from Naushera to Rajauri was heavily damaged with felled trees and boulders acting as roadblocks. These obstructions had been mined. The road had a significant elevation gain and sections of the road along cliffs had been intentionally narrowed by the enemy. An assessment of the operation deemed it to be both time and labour-intensive to enable the road to be usable for an advance to Rajauri. Despite the difficulty involved, Singh went ahead with the operation on 7 April 1948. He would advance along the Tawi River, which was parallel to his route when sections of the road became impassable. On the evening of 10 April his task force had reached Rajauri. The arrival of Indian tanks in Rajauri had surprised the Pakistani Army and without equivalent firepower, they were forced to withdraw. His successful leadership of the operation earned him the status of being one of independent India's first great tank commanders.

In 1948 Singh's tenure of command at the CIH ended, when he was selected to attend the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, United States. He was appointed to the staff of the Defense Services Staff College at Wellington, where he served for three years until being appointed to command the Tactical Wing of the Armoured Corps Centre and School at Ahmednagar. Upon promotion to brigadier, Singh was India's military attaché to France.

Later life

After retiring from the army at the age of 49, Singh was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Central India Horse.

Dates of rank

Insignia Rank Component Date of rank
Second Lieutenant British Indian Army 3 April 1940[1]
Lieutenant British Indian Army 1 May 1941[1]
Captain British Indian Army 19 December 1941 (acting)[1]
20 December 1941 (temporary)[1]
20 September 1943 (war-substantive)[1]
1 July 1946 (substantive)[1]
Major British Indian Army 1942-1943 (temporary)[1]
Captain Indian Army 15 August 1947[note 1][2]
Captain Indian Army 26 January 1950 (recommissioning and change in insignia)[2][3]
Major Indian Army 6 July 1952[4]
Lieutenant-Colonel Indian Army 6 July 1956[5]
Colonel Indian Army 1 March 1958 (acting)[6]
15 April 1960 (substantive)[7]
Brigadier Indian Army 1 March 1958 (local)[6]
6 July 1962 (substantive)[8]
Major General Indian Army 3 June 1965[9]


  1. ^ Upon independence in 1947, India became a Dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations. As a result, the rank insignia of the British Army, incorporating the Tudor Crown and four-pointed Bath Star ("pip"), was retained, as George VI remained Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. After 26 January 1950, when India became a republic, the President of India became Commander-in-Chief, and the Ashoka Lion replaced the crown, with a five-pointed star being substituted for the "pip."

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Indian Army List (Special Edition) 1947. Government of India Press. 1947. p. 263.
  2. ^ a b "New Designs of Crests and Badges in the Services" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 11 February 1950. p. 227.
  4. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 18 October 1952. p. 231.
  5. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 February 1957. p. 33.
  6. ^ a b "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 26 July 1958. p. 169.
  7. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 11 November 1961. p. 301.
  8. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 2 February 1963. p. 38.
  9. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 20 November 1965. p. 598.