Ganju Lama VC

Ganju Lama VC

Enlisted into 7th Gurkha Rifles (7GR) during the Second World War, Ganju Lama was posted to join the 1st Battalion (1/7 GR) in northeast India. Their mission was to push back and clear Japanese forces from around Kohima and Imphal. In May 1944, he was part of an operation during which a party of Japanese soldiers was surprised and killed, several by Lama himself. For these actions he was awarded the Military Cross.

However his heroics did not end here. By June 1944, Japanese troops in the region were being pushed back steadily. On the morning of June 12th, an attack was launched on the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles. 1/7GR were detailed to attack and relieve the pressure on their fellow Gurkhas. Upon their arrival they came under heavy fire from infantry and three tanks which had broken through the lines.

Equipped with a P.I.A.T launcher, Rifleman Ganju Lama crawled forward ahead of his fellow soldiers. He got within 30 yards of the enemy tanks despite having a broken left wrist and injuries to his right hand and leg. Using his P.I.A.T he managed to destroy two of the tanks. He then engaged the crews with grenades as they attempted to escape, killing and wounding all of both crews. This allowed the rest of his company to push forward. Only then did he allow himself to be taken back to his regimental aid post to have his wounds attended to.

Ganju Lama was subsequently traced and presented with the Victoria Cross by the Viceroy of India, Field Marshal Lord Wavell. Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, General Bill Slim and members of his own family were also in attendance.

Learn about more Gurkha Victoria Cross stories here.
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