Lachhiman Gurung VC

Lachhiman Gurung VC


9th Gurkha Rifles


Burma Campaign


11th/12th May 1945


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His Story

By May 1945, the Japanese position in Burma was fast becoming untenable in the face of rapid Allied advance, primarily by the 14th Army under General William ‘Bill’ Slim, and they sought to retreat south along the Irrawaddy River. Several Allied units managed to get ahead of the Japanese at a small village named Taungdaw, setting up a defensive position to deny the Japanese troops a vital withdrawal route. These units included B and C Companies of the 4th Battalion 9th Gurkha Rifles. Amongst them was Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung, whose platoon was situated 100 yards further out than the rest of his company with his squad occupying the most forward post of this platoon.

On May 11th, Japanese attacks began with the aim of clearing their path South. For 3 days the attacks continued and on the night of the 11th/12th of May over 200 Japanese soldiers assaulted  Lachhiman’s post with small arms and grenades. Lachhiman managed to return two grenades, but a third exploded in his hand, blowing off his fingers, severely wounding him and those around him. Regardless of these wounds, Lachhiman continued to hold his ground, loading and firing his rifle with his remaining hand until the attacks finally ceased. He then remained at his post for four hours, fighting off further attacks and killing perhaps over 30 enemy soldiers. This defence ensured that the position of his platoon and company did not fall and the route south remained denied to the Japanese forces.

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