After passing out, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scouts and later to the 12th Frontier Force Rifles. His first moment of glory came during World War II and he saw action in the Burma campaign and was injured while leading a counter offensive against the Japanese Army. For this Manekshaw was awarded a Military Cross while lying injured in the battlefield. Manekshaw's acumen, planning and administration were evident during the Partition in 1947 and operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
He crafted India's greatest military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war that created just not history but also a new nation. Manekshaw was the architect of many a military triumph but his finest hour came when Pakistani forces were vanquished in 14 days flat. And Bangladesh was born.
Handsome, witty and sporting his trademark handlebar moustache, Manekshaw had the rare distinction of being honoured for his bravery - Military Cross - right on the battle front itself during the Second World War. He was also the first Indian officer to command the Gorkhas after India got Independence.
Manekshaw, who got a second life after he survived near fatal wounds during the World War II in Burma, is the first of only two Indian military officers to hold the highest rank of Field Marshal of the Indian Army. The other officer is Field Marshal K M Cariappa. His distinguished military career spanned four decades from the British era and through five wars, including the Second World War.
For his distinguished service to the country, the President of India awarded him a Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and conferred upon him the rank of Field Marshal on 1 January 1973. Manekshaw became the first of the only two Indian Army Generals to be awarded this prestigious honorary rank; the other being the late Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa.
Manekshaw retired a fortnight later on 15 January 1973 (although technically Field Marshals of the Indian Army never retire because the rank is conferred for life), after completing nearly four decades of military service.
After retiring from Indian Army, Sam Bahadur served as a director of numerous companies.
With his death an era has come to an end.