Raja Alaf Khan was born in Fatehpur, Mirpur, India, in 1895. He was one of the first two Muslims in the district to pass his matriculation exam in 1914. On 9 November 1915, he enlisted in the 1st Punjab Regiment and entered the First World War. He was awarded ‘Jangi Inam’, a distinguished service honour, in 1921, and served as a Junior Commissioned Officer.
In 1941, after the outbreak of the Second World War, he was recalled to the regiment, promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and then Major in 1947. On his retirement he was awarded the War Medal, India Service medal and the Pakistan medal.
Alaf Khan was the father of Mohammad Ilyas Raja, who is a trustee of the Shah Jahan Mosque, Woking, and Labour councillor for Woking North. Mr Raja has deposited a large collection of papers relating to his family, career and the Muslim community in Woking with Surrey History Centre (SHC Ref Z/454). The collection includes copies of Alaf Khan’s service papers and the Raja family’s eighteenth-century manuscript Qur’an.
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The Stories of Sacrifice project exhibition at the British Muslim Heritage Centre features displays dedicated to the bravery and sacrifice of Muslim soldiers during World War One, including Alaf Khan http://www.storiesofsacrifice.org.uk/exhibition/living-on/
Guide to tracing sources for the Indian Army – click here to download a pdf ()copy.
Part of the Great War: From India to Woking display.
- Further sources for researching the Indian Army during the First World War and the Muslim Burial Ground