List of Brigade of Gurkhas recipients of the Victoria Cross

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A medal in the shape of a cross hanging from a crimson red ribbon.
The Victoria Cross

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

The British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas, units composed of Nepalese soldiers—although originally led by 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 at 2016, units serve in Afghanistan.[2]

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.[3] 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. 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, until 1911, all of the Gurkha recipients of the award were British officers who were attached to Gurkha regiments.[4] 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 on native Gurkhas.[3] The most recent award was made in 1965 to Rambahadur Limbu, during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation.[3] Along with the Royal Green Jackets, the Gurkha regiments are among the most heavily decorated Commonwealth units.[5]

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 Indian honours system. Under this system the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), which is India's highest military decoration for valour, is considered to be equivalent to the Victoria Cross.[6] As such only those serving in the Gurkha units of the British Army remain eligible for the Victoria Cross.[1]

Two George Cross (GC) medals have been awarded to Gurkha soldiers for acts of bravery displayed not in combat.[7] The George Cross (GC) is the highest award bestowed by the British government for non-operational gallantry or gallantry not in the presence of an enemy. In the UK honours system, the George Cross is equal in stature to the Victoria Cross. This has been the case since the introduction of the George Cross in 1940.[8]


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

Gurkha Brigade Victoria Cross Recipients[9]
Name Unit[note 1] Date of action Conflict Place of action
John Tytler 00166th Bengal Native Infantry later 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles 1858 Indian Rebellion of 1857 IndiaChoorpoorah, India[11]
Donald Macintyre 002Bengal Staff Corps attached to 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles 1872 Looshai Expedition IndiaLalgnoora, India[12]
George Channer 001Bengal Staff Corps attached to 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles 1875 Perak War MalayaPerak, Malaya[13]
John Cook 005Bengal Staff Corps attached to 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1878 Second Anglo-Afghan War AfghanistanPeiwar Kotal, Afghanistan[14]
Richard Ridgeway 008Bengal Staff Corps attached to 8th Gurkha Rifles 1879 Naga Hills expeditions IndiaKonoma, India[15]
Charles Grant 008Indian Staff Corps attached to 8th Gurkha Rifles 1891 Manipur Expedition BurmaThobal, Burma[16]
Guy Boisragon 005Indian Staff Corps attached to 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1891 Hunza–Naga campaign IndiaNilt Fort, India[17]
John Manners Smith 005Indian Staff Corps attached to 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1891 Hunza–Naga campaign IndiaNilt Fort, India[17]
William Walker 0044th Prince of Wales' Own Gurkha Rifles 1903 Third Somaliland Expedition SomalilandDaratoleh, Somaliland[18][19]
John Grant 0088th Gurkha Rifles 1904 British expedition to Tibet TibetGyantse Jong, Tibet[20]
Kulbir Thapa 0033rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles 1915 First World War FranceFauquissart, France[21]
George Wheeler 0099th Gurkha Rifles 1917 First World War MesopotamiaShumran, Mesopotamia[22]
Karanbahadur Rana 0033rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles 1918 First World War EgyptEl Kefr, Egypt[23]
Lalbahadur Thapa 0022nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles 1943 Second World War TunisiaRass-es-Zouai, Tunisia[24]
Gaje Ghale 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1943 Second World War BurmaChin Hills, Burma[25]
Michael Allmand 006Indian Armoured Corps attached to 6th Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War BurmaPin Hmi Road Bridge, Burma[26]
Tulbahadur Pun 0066th Gurkha Rifles 1944 Second World War BurmaMogaung, Burma[27]
Netrabahadur Thapa 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War BurmaBishenpur, Burma[28]
Sher Bahadur Thapa 0099th Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War ItalySan Marino, Italy[29]
Agansing Rai 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1944 Second World War BurmaBishenpur, Burma[30]
Thaman Gurung 0055th Royal Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War ItalyMonte San Bartolo, Italy[31]
Frank Blaker 009Highland Light Infantry attached to 9th Gurkha Rifles 1944* Second World War BurmaTaunggyi, Burma[32]
Ganju Lama/Gyamtso Shangderpa 0077th Gurkha Rifles 1944 Second World War BurmaNingthoukhong, Burma[33]
Lachhiman Gurung 0088th Gurkha Rifles 1945 Second World War BurmaTaungdaw, Burma[34]
Bhanbhagta Gurung 0022nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles 1945 Second World War BurmaSnowdon East, Tamandu, Burma[35]
Rambahadur Limbu 01010th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles 1965 Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation BorneoSarawak, Borneo[36]


  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.[10] The units are ordered by Gurkha regiment.


  1. ^ a b "Victoria Cross". Ministry of Defence (UK). Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Brigade of Gurkhas". British Army. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Parker 2005, pp. 391–393.
  4. ^ Parker 2005, p. 62.
  5. ^ "The world's most exclusive club". Ministry of Defence. 30 April 2007. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2007.
  6. ^ "Param Vir Chakra". Pride of Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  7. ^ Parker 2005, p. xvii.
  8. ^ "Decorations, Gallantry and Distinguished Conduct medals: George Cross". UK Government. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Brigade of Gurkhas; Honours and Awards: Victoria Cross". British Army. Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Glossary: S". British Library. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  11. ^ "No. 22176". The London Gazette. 24 August 1858. p. 3903.
  12. ^ "No. 23902". The London Gazette. 27 September 1872. p. 4489.
  13. ^ "No. 24314". The London Gazette. 14 April 1876. p. 2476.
  14. ^ "No. 24697". The London Gazette. 18 March 1879. p. 2241.
  15. ^ "No. 24843". The London Gazette. 11 May 1880. p. 2968.
  16. ^ "No. 26165". The London Gazette. 26 May 1891. p. 2805.
  17. ^ a b "No. 26306". The London Gazette. 12 July 1892. p. 4006.
  18. ^ "No. 27584". The London Gazette. 7 August 1903. p. 4976.
  19. ^ "No. 27636". The London Gazette. 15 January 1904. p. 331.
  20. ^ "No. 27758". The London Gazette. 24 January 1905. p. 574.
  21. ^ "No. 29371". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 November 1915. p. 11450.
  22. ^ "No. 30122". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 1917. p. 5702.
  23. ^ "No. 30757". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 June 1918. p. 7307.
  24. ^ "No. 36053". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1943. p. 2719.
  25. ^ "No. 36190". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 September 1943. p. 4347.
  26. ^ "No. 36764". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 October 1944. p. 4900.
  27. ^ "No. 36785". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 November 1944. p. 5129.
  28. ^ "No. 36742". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 1944. p. 4673.
  29. ^ "No. 36860". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 December 1944. p. 5933.
  30. ^ "No. 36730". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 October 1944. p. 4569.
  31. ^ "No. 36950". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 February 1945. p. 1039.
  32. ^ "No. 36715". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 September 1944. p. 4423.
  33. ^ "No. 36690". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 September 1944. p. 4157.
  34. ^ "No. 37195". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 July 1945. p. 3861.
  35. ^ "No. 37107". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1945. p. 2831.
  36. ^ "No. 43959". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 April 1966. p. 4947.


  • Parker, John (2005). The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World's Most Feared Soldiers. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7553-1415-7.

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