Gurkha WW2 vet who won Victoria Cross dies

LONDON, April 22 (UPI) -- Tul Bahadur Pun, a World War II veteran who received Britain's highest military decoration, died in the village where he was born in Nepal. He was 88.

Pun moved to England in 2007 and lived in London. But he had returned to Banduk in western Nepal for the opening of a school next month and died there Wednesday, The Daily Telegraph reported.


In 1944, Pun, a rifleman with a Gurkha brigade in the British Indian Army, served with the Second Chindit Expedition in Burma. In one action, with the rest of his unit dead or wounded, he crossed open ground under fire to dislodge Japanese soldiers from their position.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross with a citation that read, "Rifleman Pun's courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and were beyond praise."

Pun's action saved the life of Maj. James Lumley, whose daughter, actress Joanna Lumley, has become a staunch supporter of Gurkha veterans.

After India became independent, Pun transferred to the British Army, retiring as a battalion sergeant major in 1959. He was given the honorary rank of lieutenant.


During his years in Banduk, Pun was a farmer and education activist who pushed for new schools.

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