One of a series of posts concerning Gurkha recipients of the Victoria Cross, each of which will appear on the anniversary of the action leading to the award.
Recipient: Lt. Michael Allmand
Unit: 3rd Battalion, 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles (Attd.)
Date: 23 June 1944
Engagement: Pin Hmi Road Bridge, Burma.
Citation: “The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:—Lieutenant (acting Captain) Michael Allmand (E.C.8188), Indian Armoured Corps (attd. 6th Gurkha Rifles) (London, N.W .5.).
Captain Allmand was commanding the leading platoon of a Company of the 6th Gurkha Rifles in Burma on 11th June, 1944, when the Battalion was ordered to attack the Pin Hmi Road Bridge. The enemy had already succeeded in holding up our advance at this point for twenty four hours. The approach to the Bridge was very narrow as the road was banked up and the low-lying land on either side was swampy and densely covered in jungle. The Japanese who were dug in along the banks of the road and in the jungle with machine guns and small arms, were putting up the most desperate resistance. As the platoon come within twenty yards of the Bridge, the enemy opened heavy and accurate fire, inflicting severe casualties and forcing the men to seek cover. Captain Allmand, however, with the utmost gallantry charged on by himself, hurling grenades into the enemy gun positions and killing three Japanese himself with his kukrie.
Inspired by the splendid example of their platoon commander the surviving men followed him and captured their objective. Two days later Captain Allmand, owing to casualties among the officers, took over command of the Company and, dashing thirty yards ahead of it through long grass and marshy ground, swept by machine gun fire, personally killed a number of enemy machine gunners and successfully led his men onto the ridge of high ground that they had been ordered to seize. Once again on June 23rd in the final attack on the Railway Bridge at Mogaung, Captain Allmand, although suffering from trench-foot, which made it difficult for him to walk, moved forward alone through deep mud and shell-holes and charged a Japanese machine gun nest single-handed, but he was mortally wounded and died shortly afterwards.
The superb gallantry, outstanding leadership and protracted heroism of this very brave officer were a wonderful example to the whole Battalion and in the highest traditions of his regiment.”
London Gazette: Issue 36764, 24 October 1944
Other noteworthy actions by Michael Allmand: On 11 June 1944, by now promoted to acting captain and in command of a company, Allmand was tasked with capturing a road bridge close to where the Japanese had established their headquarters in the town of Mogaung. His platoon came under heavy heavy fire and their attack stalled, but Allmand went head, attacking the Japanese defenders with grenades and kukri, thereby inspiring his men to continue the attack.
Two days later he led an assault to secure high ground outside Moguang, distinguishing himself by singlehandedly destroying several machine-gun positions.
Postscript: After Allmand was wounded, an NCO who attempted to rescue him was himself seriously injured. Allmand was dragged out of the line of fire by Havildar Tilbir Gurung, who then returned to rescue the injured NCO. For his bravery, Havildar Gurung was awarded the Military Medal.
Second Victoria Cross: Later in the same action on 23rd June at Pin Hmi Bridge, a second member of 3/6GR, Rifleman Tul Bahadur Pun, single-handedly attacked and destroyed a Japanese machine gun position, allowing the survivors of his platoon to reach and achieve their objective. Riflemen Pun was also award the Victoria Cross.
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