A Selfless Bravery – Kulbir Thapa’s V.C. Action

A Selfless Bravery – Kulbir Thapa’s V.C. Action

Greater Love Hath no man than that he lay down his life for another – or show himself prepared to do so.

It was during the First World War that the appellation ‘Bravest of the Brave, Most Generous of the Generous’ was first used in reference to Gurkha soldiersThe actions of Rifleman Kulbir Thapa, the first Gurkha soldier to receive the Victoria Cross, stands as a shining example.  

In September 1915 elements of 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles (3 GR) took part in actions on the Western Front in France Kulbir Thapa was the last survivor of a party of soldiers who had fought their way into a German trench 

Kulbir, though wounded himself, came across a badly wounded soldier of the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment and, despite the protestations of the British soldier who urged him to save himself, stayed with the man for the rest of the day and following night. On the following morning, under the cover of mistKulbir carried the wounded man back out through the German wire and brought him to comparative safety. He then returned and carried out two wounded Gurkhas, one after the other. Finally, he returned once more, by this time in broad daylight, to the initial wounded British soldier and brought him to the full safety of the British lines. For these actions Kulbir was immediately recommended for (and later received) the Victoria Cross, for which soldiers of the Indian Army had only been made eligible four years previously. Although Kulbir was not killed, his exposure to intense enemy fire make it clear that he willingly risked his life on multiple occasions and was prepared to lay down his own life in order to save others.   

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