June 1944 – Five Gurkha Victoria Crosses.

Gurkha Victoria Crosses – Fighting with the Chindits – Michael Allmand.
June 5, 2020
PODCAST – The Chindits
June 8, 2020

June 1944 – Five Gurkha Victoria Crosses.

In June 1944, five soldiers from Gurkha Regiments serving in Burma performed acts of bravery deemed worthy of the Victoria Cross.

Captain Michael Allmand and Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun, both of 3rd Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles, formed part of the ‘Chindit’ forces operating behind Japanese lines in Northern Burma. Captain Allmand led his Gurkha troops from the front on June 11th, charging a Japanese machine-gun position with kukri and grenade, despatching three enemy soldiers himself with his kukri. Later, on June 23rd, Allmand, led an attack on the railway bridge at the occupied town of Mogaung. As he did so he was hit with a burst of fire and killed.

As part of the same attack on June 23rd at Mogaung, Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun, despite being left alone after the rest of his section were killed or wounded, seized a Bren Gun and advanced on a defensive position known as the Red House under heavy fire and engaged the occupants, killing three and routing five.

Rifleman Ganju Lama of 1st Battalion 7th Gurkha Rifles, came under heavy fire from Japanese troops and tanks on June 12th near the village of Ningthoukhong. Lama, equipped with a P.I.A.T Launcher, crawled forward and, despite being wounded with a broken left wrist and injuries to his right hand and leg, knocked out two tanks and engaged the tank crews with grenades, killing and wounding both crews.

Jemedar Netrabahadur Thapa of the 2nd Battalion 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, led 41 soldiers holding Mortar Bluff near Bishenpur. On June 25th this position was attacked by Japanese soldiers and artillery. Netrabahadur displayed tireless energy, moving between his men’s positions, encouraging his young soldiers and tending to the wounded until 4am the next morning, when Netrabahadur led a renewed offensive with grenade and kukri. His body was found the next day, clutching his kukri, next to a dead enemy soldier bearing fatal kukri wounds.

Naik Agansing Rai of the 2nd Battalion 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, was ordered on June 26th to retake Mortar Bluff and another position named Water Piquet. After his Company became pinned down Agansing led a charge towards Mortar Bluff, taking a machine gun position, and then led another attack on an artillery position, killing three defenders. Finally, he advanced alone against a Japanese bunker at Water Piquet, reaching it and killing all four occupants.

These soldiers, though from different regiments, ranks and backgrounds, all displayed the bravery, calm and toughness that has come to define Gurkha soldiers, and stand as prime examples of the grit and determination present during the tough warfare of the Burma Campaign.

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