Samson, Benjamin Abraham

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SAMSON, BENJAMIN ABRAHAM (1916– ), Indian naval officer. Samson, a member of the *Bene Israel community, was born in Poona. He received a direct commission as lieutenant to the Royal Indian Navy in 1939. After serving in the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Bay of Bengal, his was the last vessel out of Rangoon, the capital of Burma, when it fell to Japanese forces. He was commissioned in the Indian Navy when India gained its independence and, in 1948, was appointed naval adviser on the staff of the High Commissioner for India in the United Kingdom. In 1951 he was promoted to rear-admiral, the youngest to hold this rank in the Indian Navy. He served as commandant of the Indian National Defence College and was appointed flag officer of the fleet in 1965. In the following year he received the Vishisht Seva (Distinguished Service) Medal, Class i, for "distinguished service of a most exceptional order." On his retirement in 1968 he became superintendent of the Magazon Naval Dock Yards in Bombay, and in 1972 was promoted to the honorary rank of vice admiral by the president of India, for "loyal and dedicated" service.