List of Brigade of Gurkhas recipients of the Victoria Cross

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The Victoria Cross (VC) is a military decoration that may be bestowed upon members of the British or Commonwealth armed forces for acts of valour or gallantry performed in the face of the enemy. Within the British honours system and those of many Commonwealth nations it is the highest award a soldier can receive for actions in combat.[1] It was established in 1856 and since then has been awarded 1,356 times, including three service personnel who were awarded the VC twice.[2]

The British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas, a group of units composed of Nepalese soldiers—although originally including British officers—has been a part of the Army since 1815. When raised it originally focused on conflicts in the Far East, but the transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese hands necessitated that the brigade move its base to the UK. A battalion is still maintained in Brunei and as of 2009, units serve in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans.[3]

Three men in 1800s-style military uniforms stand holding rifles.
Gurkha Soldiers (1896)

Since the VC was introduced it has been awarded to Gurkhas or British officers serving with Gurkha regiments 26 times.[4] The first award was made in 1858 to a British officer of the Gurkhas, John Tytler, during the campaigns that followed the Indian Rebellion of 1857, while the first award to a native Gurkha, Kulbir Thapa, was in 1915 during the First World War. When the Victoria Cross was initially established, Gurkhas, along with all other native troops of the British East India Company Army or the British Indian Army, were not eligible for the decoration and as such, up until 1911, all of the Gurkha recipients of the award were British officers who were attached to Gurkha regiments.[5] Until that time the highest award that Gurkhas were eligible for was the Indian Order of Merit. Since 1911 however, of the 16 VCs awarded to men serving with Gurkha regiments, 13 have been bestowed upon native Gurkhas.[4] The most recent award was made in 1965 to Rambahadur Limbu, during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation.[4] Along with the Royal Green Jackets, the Gurkha Regiments are one of the most heavily decorated Commonwealth regiments.[6]

In 1950, when India became a republic, Gurkhas serving in the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army lost their eligibility for the Victoria Cross and they are now covered under the separate Indian honours system. Under this system the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), which is India's highest military decoration for valour,[7] is considered to be equivalent to the Victoria Cross. As such only those serving in the Gurkha units of the British Army remain eligible for the Victoria Cross.[2]


Recipients[edit]

      This along with the *, indicates that the Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously.

Name Unit[note 1] Date of action Conflict Place of action
Tytler, JohnJohn Tytler 00166th Bengal Native Infantry later 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles 1858 Indian Rebellion of 1857 IndiaChoorpoorah, India[9]
Macintyre, DonaldDonald Macintyre 002Bengal Staff Corps attached to 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles 1872 Looshai Expedition IndiaLalgnoora, India[10]
Channer, GeorgeGeorge Channer 001Bengal Staff Corps attached to 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles 1875 Perak War MalayaPerak, Malaya[11]
Cook, JohnJohn Cook 005Bengal Staff Corps attached to 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1878 Second Afghan War AfghanistanPeiwar Kotal, Afghanistan[12]
Ridgeway, RichardRichard Ridgeway 008Bengal Staff Corps attached to 8th Gurkha Rifles 1879 Basuto War IndiaKonoma, India[13]
Grant, CharlesCharles Grant 008Indian Staff Corps attached to 8th Gurkha Rifles 1891 Manipur Expedition BurmaThobal, Burma[14]
Boisragon, GuyGuy Boisragon 005Indian Staff Corps attached to 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1891 Hunza–Naga campaign IndiaNilt Fort, India[15]
Manners Smith, JohnJohn Manners Smith 005Indian Staff Corps attached to 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1891 Hunza–Naga campaign IndiaNilt Fort, India[15]
Walker, WilliamWilliam Walker 0044th Prince of Wales' Own Gurkha Rifles 1903 Third Somaliland Expedition SomalilandDaratoleh, Somaliland[16][17]
Grant, JohnJohn Grant 0088th Gurkha Rifles 1904 British expedition to Tibet TibetGyantse Jong, Tibet[18]
Thapa, KulbirKulbir Thapa 0033rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles 1915 First World War FranceFauquissart, France[19]
Wheeler, GeorgeGeorge Wheeler 0099th Gurkha Rifles 1917 First World War MesopotamiaShumran, Mesopotamia[20]
Rana, KaranbahadurKaranbahadur Rana 0033rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles 1918 First World War EgyptEl Kefr, Egypt[21]
Thapa, LalbahadurLalbahadur Thapa 0022nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles 1943 Second World War TunisiaRass-es-Zouai, Tunisia[22]
Ghale, GajeGaje Ghale 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1943 Second World War BurmaChin Hills, Burma[23]
Allmand, MichaelMichael Allmand 006Indian Armoured Corps attached to 6th Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War BurmaPin Hmi Road Bridge, Burma[24]
Pun, TulbahadurTulbahadur Pun 0066th Gurkha Rifles 1944 Second World War BurmaMogaung, Burma[25]
Thapa, NetrabahadurNetrabahadur Thapa 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War BurmaBishenpur, Burma[26]
Thapa, Sher BahadurSher Bahadur Thapa 0099th Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War ItalySan Marino, Italy[27]
Rai, AgansingAgansing Rai 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1944 Second World War BurmaBishenpur, Burma[28]
Gurung, ThamanThaman Gurung 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War ItalyMonte San Bartolo, Italy[29]
Blaker, FrankFrank Blaker 009Highland Light Infantry attached to 9th Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War BurmaTaunggyi, Burma[30]
Lama, GanjuGanju Lama 0077th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles 1944 Second World War BurmaNingthoukhong, Burma[31]
Gurung, LachhimanLachhiman Gurung 0088th Gurkha Rifles 1945 Second World War BurmaTaungdaw, Burma[32]
Gurung, BhanbhagtaBhanbhagta Gurung 0022nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles 1945 Second World War BurmaSnowdon East, Tamandu, Burma[33]
Limbu, RambahadurRambahadur Limbu 01010th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles 1965 Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation BorneoSarawak, Borneo[34]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Staff corps were created in 1861 to provide British officers for native regiments, including the Gurkhas, who were designated as "attached to" the various native groups.[8] The units are ordered by Gurkha regiment.

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ "Victoria Cross: The Premier Award for Gallantry". Ministry of Defence (UK). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Victoria Cross". Ministry of Defence (UK). Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Brigade of Gurkhas". British Army. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Parker 2005, pp. 391–393.
  5. ^ Parker 2005, p. 62.
  6. ^ "The world's most exclusive club". Ministry of Defence. 30 April 2007. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2007. 
  7. ^ "Param Vir Chakra". Pride of India.net. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "Glossary: S". British Library. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22176. p. 3903. 24 August 1858. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23902. p. 4489. 27 September 1872. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24314. p. 2476. 14 April 1876. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24697. p. 2241. 18 March 1879. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24843. p. 2968. 11 May 1880. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26165. p. 2805. 26 May 1891. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  15. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 26306. p. 4006. 12 July 1892. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27584. p. 4976. 7 August 1903. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27636. p. 331. 15 January 1904. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27758. p. 574. 24 January 1905. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29371. p. 11450. 16 November 1915. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30122. p. 5702. 8 June 1917. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30757. p. 7307. 18 June 1918. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36053. p. 2719. 11 June 1943. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36190. p. 4347. 28 September 1943. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36764. p. 4900. 26 October 1944. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36785. p. 5129. 7 November 1944. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36742. p. 4673. 10 October 1944. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36860. p. 5933. 26 December 1944. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36730. p. 4569. 3 October 1944. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  29. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36950. p. 1039. 20 February 1945. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  30. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36715. p. 4423. 26 September 1944. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  31. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36690. p. 4157. 5 September 1944. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  32. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37195. p. 3861. 24 July 1945. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  33. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37107. p. 2831. 1 June 1945. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43959. p. 4947. 21 April 1966. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
General
  • Parker, John (2005). The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World's Most Feared Soldiers. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7553-1415-7. 

External links[edit]