Much like the officers of his times, Lt Col A S Judge (IC – 636,13 MARCH, 1918 – 30 MAY, 2012 ) was baptized under fire, on the battle fields of Burma, while serving with 1 Medium Regiment (re-designated 40 Medium, post August 1947).Once war erupted in J&K moments after Independence, almost all Artillery units and particularly the Mountain Batteries had had to join battle, post haste. Unfortunately, this was also the peak of exodus of the British officers to U K and in the event our oldest unit, the 5 Bombay Mountain Battery** was sans the Battery Commander. Now the singular honor, of being the first Indian Commander of the “Pride of Gunners”, was bestowed on Maj A S Judge. And he proved equal to the challenge, leading 5 Bombay in the Naushehra- Jhangar Sector, truly in the spirit of Rudyard Kipling’s vision of the Mountain Artillery:
“So when we call round with a few Guns, O’course you will know what to do – Hoo! Hoo! Just send in your Chief an’ surrender It’s worse if you fights or you runs: You can go where you please; you can skid up the trees, But you don’t get away from the Guns!”
We next find Maj A S Judge at Bangkok, learning the art of eating with chopsticks with such grace, that it puts a native Chinaman to shame! Of course, this frolicking of his was on the side-lines of a significant assignment to the U N Commission, to oversee the orderly transition from French colonial rule to self governance in Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. This was also the time when 12 Field Regiment was re-raised and among the pick of officers empanelled was once again, Maj A S Judge. So on return from Bangkok, he assumed command of this Regiment in late 1955, at Firozepore. Contrary to the prevalent practices, he inter-acted personally only with his Battery Commanders; no “inspections” nor “Durbars” etc, yet there was not a single Dogra or Rajput or Sikh of his Command who would not follow him to the ends of the Earth! 12 Field would become his umbilical link with the Indian Army and he would return to the Regiment on its Raising Day, ever so often right up to 2008! Adequately equipped and trained and pronounced “fit for war” in 1957, the Regiment was inducted in the Poonch- Naushehra Sector and he gave me a grand tour of the battles fought and won in 1947-48 which was the best professional grooming for any Young Officer. He was a gifted sportsman, too. His agility and elegance on the basketball and tennis courts was a precious sight for the spectators and the envy of his opponents!
Nomination on the S O (Senior Officers) Course at Mhow, was recognition of an officers professional standing, in those days. And that is where the Colonel was headed for, next. Shortly after the course, the post of a Battalion Commander at the IMA, Dehradun fell vacant and once again the best man for that coveted appointment was, Lt Col A S Judge. Latter when posted to HQ Eastern Command and at the cusp of promotion to a Brigadier and beyond, regrettably certain domestic compulsions led him to seek premature retirement. However, the loss of the Army was the gain of the Corporate world but deep down, as in a note to me from his grieving daughters, “Dad was a Gunner through and through… may we as a matter of pride request you to accept these Gunners Blazer Buttons… From Dad’s memorabilia. We know this will have his tacit approval from Valhalla!”