REMEMBRANCE EXHIBITION: Gurkha Officer Remembers Heroic Grandfather

REMEMBRANCE EXHIBITION: Gurkha Officer Remembers Heroic Grandfather

In the month of Remembrance Day and after the nation marked the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) in the Summer, a Gurkha officer has paid tribute to his grandfather who was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung VC was given the nation’s highest honour for valour in recognition of his “outstanding bravery and complete disregard for his own safety” during fighting in Burma on 5 March 1945. As 3rd Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles advanced near Tamandu they came under heavy and accurate machine gun, mortar and sniper fire from Japanese troops. Repeatedly exposing himself to danger, Bhanbaghta Gurung VC cleared five positions singlehandedly, inspiring his colleagues to overcome the Japanese resistance.

Captain Buddhi Gurung, who works at the Infantry Battle School in Brecon, is Bhanbaghta Gurung VC’s grandson and spoke of how his grandfather’s heroism inspired him to serve as a Gurkha.

“To be able to hold my grandfather’s actual Victoria Cross means a lot to me,” the 45-year-old said. “I’m very proud of what he did and that he is remembered for it. We should remember everyone who fought in all campaigns in the Second World War to celebrate their achievements and honour their sacrifice.

“The Burma campaign is a very important part of Gurkha history. When recruits come from Nepal to train they are taught about what their forefathers did – our history sets the example for current soldiers.”

Bhanbaghta Gurung VC was awarded his medal by King George VI at Buckingham Palace, and he later presented it to The Gurkha Museum in Winchester. He left the Army in 1946 to return to his home village of Phalpu in Nepal’s Gorkha district. He had three sons, who all served in the Gurkhas, and died in 2008 at the age of 86

Capt Buddhi said: “My grandfather was a strong man, a good talker who people listened to and a natural leader. When I was a child, he used to tell me stories about what he had done in Burma and it was my dream to be a Gurkha like him.” He added “My grandfather is the person who influenced me to become a Gurkha – if he was alive today, I hope he would be proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Capt Buddhi joined the Army in 1995, serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles on operations in Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Kosovo and three tours of Afghanistan. As the third generation of his family to serve in the British Army, he is the first to commission as an officer.

Of Remembrance Day itself Captain Buddhi said:

‘’It means a lot to me and my family, it’s recognising the heroics my grandfather has done and knowing that what he did has not been forgotten and should carry on to be told to motivate people.

This is the day I always remember my grandfather and fellow member and families. We should remember them and respect what they have done to us and the country at least once a year.’’

CLICK HERE to read more articles from our Remembrance Exhibition; Unforgotten: A Commemoration of Gurkha Service and Sacrifice.

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