Monday, May 28, 2007

A Real Hero

Tul Bahadur Pun, VC
Tul Bahadur Pun VC
There is a story circulating on many blogs, which had their genesis in The Daily Mail. I'm not going to echo here the outrage that so many have rightly felt over the story. It is a tale of British officialdom at its worst and the victim of the bureaucracy a hero of the highest order, a man who has given so much to this country denied a little comfort at the end of his life at the stroke of a civil servant's pen.

I'd encourage anyone who hasn't yet caught on to this story to look at the fuller discussions on it at sites like Iain Dale's Diary where there are several suggestions on how we can all help bring pressure to bear as the decision approaches judicial review.

I'll simply close as so many others have done with Tul Bahadur Pun's VC Citation.
“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to :- No. 10119 Rifleman Tullbahadur (sic) Pun, 6th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army. In Burma on June 23rd, 1944, a Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to attack the Railway Bridge at Mogaung. Immediately the attack developed the enemy opened concentrated and sustained cross fire at close range from a position known as the Red House and from a strong bunker position two hundred yards to the left of it. So intense was this cross fire that both the leading platoons of ‘B’ Company, one of which was Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun’s, were pinned to the ground and the whole of his Section was wiped out with the exception of himself, the Section commander and one other man. The Section commander immediately led the remaining two men in a charge on the Red House but was at once badly wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun and his remaining companion continued the charge, but the latter too was immediately wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun then seized the Bren Gun, and firing from the hip as he went, continued the charge on this heavily bunkered position alone, in the face of the most shattering concentration of automatic fire, directed straight at him. With the dawn coming up behind him, he presented a perfect target to the Japanese. He had to move for thirty yards over open ground, ankle deep in mud, through shell holes and over fallen trees. Despite these overwhelming odds, he reached the Red House and closed with the Japanese occupations. He killed three and put five more to flight and captured two light machine guns and much ammunition. He then gave accurate supporting fire from the bunker to the remainder of his platoon which enabled them to reach their objective. His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and beyond praise.”

Were he alive today, I'm sure the King would bow be mightily displeased.

Update, 3rd July: Common sense has prevailed.

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