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  • Christina Drummond

Rifleman Thaman Gurung VC, 1st Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1944, Rifleman Thaman Gurung VC,1st Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, was killed in action in Italy. He had been sent on patrol to Monte San Bartolo, the objective of a future attack. While working his way to the summit, he charged the enemy as they prepared to fire, taking them by such surprise that they surrendered. He then fired on more who were preparing a grenade attack, even though he was lacking in cover and in close range - his actions allowed his forward section to reach the summit. He then crossed the sky-line alone, constantly exposed to heavy fire at short range, firing with a Tommy gun into the German trenches until his ammunition ran out, after which he began throwing grenades. This diversion enabled both rear sections to withdraw without further loss. The leading section needed cover, so Rifleman Gurung stood in full view of the enemy and with a Bren gun opened fire at their nearest positions. It was not until he had emptied two complete magazines, and the remaining section was well on its way to safety, that he was killed. It was recognized that due to his superb gallantry his platoon was able to withdraw from an extremely difficult position without many more casualties than were incurred, and that valuable information was obtained which resulted in the capture of the feature three days later. Thaman, from Nepal, was 20 years old.

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