Defence dept gets rare documents


The letters were handed over to DAD—during its annual day celebrations—by Radhakrishnan, relative of G Panchanadhan, who was taken Prisoner Of War by the Japanese during the war and was let to die of starvation at Papua New Guinea.

Originally recruited as “permanent clerk” in the “Military Accounts Department,” Panchanadhan was later drafted into “Military Service” in the “Warrant Officer” rank during the war. He was “officially reported” as dead while as a “PoW” by the then Army authorities, 14 months after he died in 1944.

While his 18-year-old wife Mangalam Panchanadhan was only expecting a letter to receive military pension, the Military Accountant General (MAG) had sent a “Royal Message of Condolence” from the King which was dated February 20, 1946.

Radhakrishnan handed the two letters as an “archival document” back to the Department, just as DAD was showcasing many such treasures for the first time to the public.

First known as “Military Pay Masters,” the Department’s origin can be traced back to August 1747, when the British Parliament had then adopted what was known as “Articles of War.”
Much later, the Accounting functions were transferred from the British Crown to “Controllers” under the MAG in 1920. The Department was later rechristened “Defence Accounts Department (DAD)” on October 1, 1951, as pointed out in an exhibit here.

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