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: Rifleman Kulbir Thapa
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles.
Date: 25 September 1915
Citation: 2129 Rifleman Kulbir Thapa,
For most conspicuous bravery during operations against the German trenches south of Mauquissart.
When, himself wounded, on the 25th September, 1915, he found a badly wounded soldier of the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment behind the first line German trench, and, though urged by the British soldier to save himself, he remained with him all day and night. In the early morning of the 26th. September, in misty weather, he brought him out through the German wire and, leaving him in a place of comparative safety, returned and brought in two wounded Gurkhas one after the other. He then went back in broad daylight for the British soldier and brought him in also, carrying him most of the way and being at most points, under the enemy’s fire.
Rifleman Thapa’s VC is particularly noteworthy, being the first such medal awarded to a Gurkha.
The soldier of the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment saved by Rifleman Thapa has recently been identified as Bill Keightley who went on to live to the age of 73.
Subsequent career: Rifleman Thapa was promoted to havildar and proceeded to Egypt with his regiment, returning with his battalion to India in November 1918. He died in Nepal on October 3, 1956, aged 68.
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