March 14, 2013

"COME AND FIGHT A GURKHA!"

Havildar Lachhiman Gurung, VC (The Telegraph, 13 Dec 2010)

At 1.20am, more than 200 Japanese attacked the company position. The brunt of the assault fell on Gurung's section and, in particular, on his post, which dominated a jungle track leading up to his platoon's position. Had the enemy been able to overrun it and occupy Gurung's trench, they would have secured control over the whole of the field before them.

One grenade fell on the lip of Gurung's trench. He quickly grabbed it and hurled it back at the enemy. Almost immediately another grenade came over. This one fell directly inside the trench. Again Gurung snatched it up and threw it back.

A third grenade landed just in front of the trench. Gurung attempted to throw it back, but it exploded in his hand, blowing off his fingers, shattering his right arm and severely wounding him in the face, body and right leg. His two comrades were also badly wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the trench.

The enemy, screaming and yelling, now formed up shoulder to shoulder and attempted to rush the position by sheer weight of numbers. Gurung, regardless of his wounds, loaded and fired his rifle with his left hand and kept up a steady rate of fire.

The attacks came in wave after wave, but the Japanese were beaten back with heavy losses. For four hours Gurung remained alone at his post, calmly waiting for each new onslaught, firing into his attackers at point blank range, determined not to yield an inch of ground. His comrades could hear him shouting: "Come and fight a Gurkha!"

The following morning, of the 87 enemy dead found in the company's immediate locality, 31 lay in front of Gurung's section

Posted by at March 14, 2013 9:07 PM
  

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