Gurkha V.C’s at Mogaung – Tulbahadur Pun

Gurkha V.C’s at Mogaung – Tulbahadur Pun

Tulbahadur Pun, born in 1923, was enlisted into the 6th Gurkha Rifles in 1941 and later posted to join the 3rd battalion of the regiment, which was involved in the operations of the Long-Range Penetration Group, commonly known as the Chindits, deep within Burma. 3/6GR formed part of the 77th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier Mike Calvert, whose goals were to capture the city of Mogaung. On June 23rd 1944, as part of these operations,3/6GR was detailed to take a railway bridge near Mogaung, heavily defended by Japanese troops. The leading platoons of B Company quickly found themselves pinned down and taking heavy casualties from cross-fire from two Japanese positions, a bunker position, and a fortification known as the ‘Red House’ two-hundred yards to its right. The entirety of Rifleman Pun’s section, with the exception of himself, the section commander and one other rifleman, were wiped out. The section commander, in spite of this, let the remaining two men in a charge on the Red house, but was immediately himself badly wounded, along with the other rifleman. Left alone, Tulbahadur seized the section’s Bren Gun and continued to advance upon the Red House, firing from the hip. He was required to advance over 30 yards of broken ground, across felled trees and shell holes, his figure silhouetted by a rising dawn behind him presenting a perfect target for the Japanese troops, who directed heavy fire against him continuously. Despite these odds, he reached the Red House and engaged in close combat with the occupants. He is recorded as having killed three, put five to flight and captured two light machine guns and a quantity of ammunition. He then proceeded to use the position to give accurate supporting fire to the rest of his platoon, allowing them to accomplish their objective at the railway bridge.

Tulbahadur Pun would go on to serve with 2nd/6th Gurkha Rifles in Malaya and Hong Kong, and proved an inspiration to younger soldiers. He was appointed the Regimental Sergeant Major of 2/6GR and retired to Nepal in 1959 as an Honorary Lieutenant. His Victoria Cross is currently on display at the Gurkha Musem, alongside that of Lt. Michael Allmand, whose VC action occurred during the same attack on Mogaung railway bridge.

June 23rd would go on to be celebrated by the 6th Gurkha Rifles as ‘Mogaung Day’ each year.

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