VC HOLDER RIFLEMAN LACHHIMAN GURUNG 93 IS DEAD
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 13, 2010
This IS to confirm with great sorrow that Rifleman Lachhimn Gurung, Victoria Cross holder is dead at 12.40 PM onSunday the 12th December 2010 at Charing Cross Hospital, Respiratory Medicine Ward, Fulham Palace Road, London, W6 8RF. He was under the care of Dr Graeme Wilson. When and where his body would be cremated that details we will confirm after have taking death certificate from the Hospital. According family sources his body may take to Nepal also. At the time of death his wife, his grandson Chitra Gurung and granddaughter Miss Amrita was nearby his bed side. Lachhimn VC was admitted in the Hospital on 19th November. He died at Respiratory Medicine, 9 South Ward B Bay bed. He was born on 1st January 1917 at Dahakhani village, district of Chitawan, 20 mts motor drive from Mugling, then climb over the hill and one hour walk a beautiful hill overlooking to Devighat Narayani river. His first medical report stated:
‘This is to confirm that Lachhiman Gurung, date of birth 1st January 1917 of Chiswick War Memorial Homes, Burlington Lane, London, W5 3EU, is currently an inpatient at Charing Cross Hospital on the Acute Admissions Unit. He is currently seriously unwell with pneumonia secondary to aspiration and given his age and co-morbidities there is a chance that he may not recover…’.
Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung VC being as part of Gurkha campaigner entered in this country on 5th September 2008,exactly 25 days before the Royal Court of Justice’s great verdict. In the same way Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun VC was entered in London for justice campaign a year before of Lachhiman’s arrival. During hearing both the VCs were present inside the High Court hearing Chamber. It was a very moving and a historic event. The verdict changed the history.
This wonder to the world to know that the British Empire’s highest gallantry award recipient Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung VC, had no pension from the British Government. He was receiving only Jangi-enam, the war annuity by the Indian Government. He was recruited in 1940 and on medical ground he was subsequently discharged in late 1946 before the independence of India. During Great War in the operation, his right hand was blown up by the enemy grenade. He was immediately admitted in the field hospital and later sent to Calcutta Hospital for further treatment. In the Hospital, his right hand was amputated. After the end of British Raj in India in order to retain the Gurkha services into the British and Indian national armies, the representatives of three countries signed a memorandum of articles known today as the ‘tripartite agreement.’ During split time his battalion the 4th battalion the 8th Gurkha Rifles became the part of Indian army. Due to this reason he was not having British pension, although he was redundant in 1946 prior the independent of India.
Moreover, in whole of his life he never received a penny also from the British, as a compensation of his disable life. He suffered in whole of his life. This Is the fact of Gurkha veterans. This is not only the narration of one individual, this the suffering of hundreds and thousands of Gurkha veterans now living in various parts of Nepal and India. After the end of WW 2, more than one hundred fifty thousand Gurkha war heroes were sent home without having pension, compensation and remuneration. In the same way after the end of Malayan jungle warfare, in 1968 to 1970 more than 12,000 Gurkha veterans were sent home without having pension and compensation.
HOW RIFLEMAN LACHHIMAN WON VC
During WW 2, his battalion was located at Irrawady river Burma front. At night his section was in advance patrol and nearly 200 Japanese suddenly attacked on his company location. He was in forward flank. In the bullets and grenades cross firing explosions nothing was seen and heard. The enemy were throwing grenades in quick succession around his bunker. Suddenly one grenade dropped into his trench. He instantly, before it explode, picked it up and threw to the enemy position. The second one also again dropped in the same trench and that also he quickly picked up and hurled again to the enemy position. But unfortunately the third one was exploded in his hand. His right hand was completely blown up, right leg and rest of his body were severely burn, however, even in this odd situation, he picked up the rifle single handed, loading and re-loading and began to fire to the enemy position. He resisted completely four hours. Due to these superb courageous deeds, the enemy were not able to penetrate and advance in his Company position. At the end of the final assault, he was badly wounded and laying over corpses of the Japanese dead bodies. 87 dead bodies were found lying on the ground and 31 corpses were at the mouth of his trench. From the pile of the corpses his wounded body was removed and rushed to the field Hospital. Later he was sent to Calcutta army hospital where his right hand was amputated. For these outstanding courageous deeds, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
NOW ONLY TWO SURVIVING GURKHA VCs
Now there are only two surviving Gurkha VCs, namely Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun, Magaung Burma Front (23rd June 1944). He hail from Bahaduk village, north of Mayagdi district. Post WW II Lance Corporal Ram Bahadur Limbu, Bau district, Sarawak (21 November 1965). He is from Changthapu village of Panchathar district adjoining the border of Sikkim and Dargaling. Presently Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun VC has been accommodated at Chiswick War Memorial Homes Burlington Lane, London W4 3EU, with his wife, two sons, and two daughters. In the same way Lance Corporal, later Captain Ram Bahadur Limbu VC; MVO is passing his rest life in Damak Bazaar Jhapa. Last he was in United Kingdom to attend the VC and GC Association programme. Com[pletely four days Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung VC moved in the programme in the very cold weather. After the end of the programme due to cold he suffered from pneumonia. He admitted in the Hospital and never reovered.
FELICITATION PROGRAMME IN NEPAL
On 5th February 1994, I initiated a grand felicitation programme in honour of 7 surviving VCs in Kathmandu. During that time the then Prime Minister late Girija Prasad Koirala had felicitated the 7 surviving VCs. The honoured VCs were Havildar late Gaje Ghale (Barpak Gorkha), Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun (Bahaduk Maygdi), Naik late Agansing Rai (Aapswara Okhaldhunga), Rifleman Ganju Lama (Ravangla South Sikkim), Rifleman late Bhanubhakta Gurung (Falpu Gorkha), Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung (Dahakhani Chitawan) and Lance Corporal Ram Bahadur Limbu (Changthapu Panchthar). In the same function the World War 1 veteran Rifleman Dhane Thapa, 109 year old was also honoured. After 6 month later of the felicitation the WW 1 veteran was peacefully passed away in his home Lumpek village Gulmi, west Nepal.
The felicitation programme exposed the fact that all the surviving VCs in Nepal were very poor and facing hardship having hand to mouth problem. A reporter from Daily Express visited Lachhiman VCs home in Dahakhani village north west Chitawan and with the generous donation from the newspaper, a small house was built in Bharatpur. Since 1999 Lachhiman VC moved from his ancestral village and had settled in Bharatpur, in the house where the DAILY EXPRES reader donated. During Gurkha campaign against the British Ministry of Defence, the GAESO brought him and Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun from Nepal to London in order to fight against the British injustice.
Dr. Chandra Bahadur Gurung
(Founder General Secretary
Monday the 13th December 2010.