The Royal Gurkha Rifles


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[ Major Alexis Roberts ]

Prince William said on Saturday he was "deeply saddened" by news that 32 year-old Roberts - his mentor and Platoon Commander from army officer training school - had been killed on patrol in southern Afghanistan on October 4, 2007

Major Alexis Roberts, serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles died in Southern Afghanistan on Thursday 4 October 2007.

 

Major Roberts, usually an Officer of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, but serving in Afghanistan with The 1st Battalion, died as a result of an improvised explosive device just after 0800 hrs local time. The Battalion was returning to their base in Kandahar after taking part in Op PALK WAHEL when the incident occurred. Major Lex Roberts commissioned into the Royal Gurkha Rifles in December 2000. He completed his Platoon Commanders Battle Course and then joined The First Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in Brunei in March 2001. In February 2002 he attended the Standard Language Profile Level 2 in Nepali passing with a Distinction.


He deployed with The First Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles to Bosnia in October 2003, completing a 6 month tour as the Intelligence Officer. He was then posted to The Royal Military Academy as a Platoon Commander from December 2004 until 2006. Thereafter he was given acting rank of Major and assumed command of B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in Folkestone, UK. He completed two overseas exercises in Australia and Canada. Major Roberts aged 32, lived in Kent with his wife and two daughters. Lieutenant Colonel Jonny Bourne MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "In Major Lex Roberts, both Battalions of the Royal Gurkha Rifles have lost a dear friend and a treasured officer. The British Army has lost one of its finest prospects and the nation has lost a dedicated servant, a demonstrably warm-hearted man of profound integrity and courage – quite simply, a very special human being. "Lex was killed by an enemy improvised explosive device this morning at 0810 hours to the west of Kandahar city. He was commanding a convoy of the Battalion’s vehicles. I was in my headquarters awaiting news of their progress when the tragic news came through. It goes without saying that I and those I was with were devastated when we were informed of the attack and its effects.  "Lex had come across to 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles specifically to support us for this operation in Afghanistan from our sister battalion, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, but he had spent many years with us in various appointments prior to this tour and he was well known to my Riflemen and Officers. He had only been back with this Battalion for a short period, but had already established himself as one of its mainstays – conscientious, always willing to selflessly muck in and with a keen sense of duty. The convoy he was leading was completing its final leg when he was killed. I had listened in when he briefed his soldiers before the first leg of the journey deep in Helmand, and I was there to count the vehicles out when they departed. I took Lex aside for a personal chat before he climbed into his vehicle. He was taking it all in his stride, was calm, positive and entirely in control. His poise was humbling.”  "Lex started his service with the Gurkhas in Brunei. From the very beginning his compassion and concern for his soldiers shone through. He immediately made his mark as an officer whom the Royal Gurkha Rifles would be proud to call one of their own – a true Gurkha. In all that he did he put his soldiers first, but at the same time both he and his wife through their warmth and kindness, immediately became treasured friends of all those whose lives they touched.  "One of the posts Lex filled during his service, and an indicator of his quality, was an instructor’s appointment at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. A British Officer recruited by Lex into 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles remembers the impression he made on the officer cadets. He was defined by his professionalism and ready sense of humour, but it was his enthusiasm about service with Gurkha soldiers that was so infectious and which inspired those hoping to join The Royal Gurkha Rifles. His fellow Company Commanders in the Battalion have described Lex as a dear friend and exemplary officer, always available to provide balanced advice and share ideas, but also a trusted confidante, ever ready to provide moral support.  "He stood above the rivalry so often a feature of regimental service and his support to his peers and Riflemen from across the entire Battalion was selfless and unconditional. From the perspective of his Platoon Commanders, Lex was naturally blessed with that rare, effortless, light touch that marks out the very best officers. He believed that every Rifleman had an important part to play and he forged a Company in which his officers and Riflemen wanted to give their all, confident of his trust. Lex was never too busy to talk, to tell a story or to listen to an idea. As his Commanding Officer, I couldn’t have asked for a finer Company Commander. He wanted to be involved, led from the front and inspired those with whom he served. He will be desperately missed by all Gurkhas. "It is not always easy to explain the close bonds that develop between soldiers, particularly on operations, but it is a form of love, and a Gurkha community is especially close-knit. Lex was loved by us all. But our loss is of nothing by comparison with that of his family. He spoke of them often and I can’t think of a more balanced family man. They have lost a husband, father, brother, son and friend. Their grief will be indescribable and our hearts go out to them. They are at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers at this terribly painful time. "1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles will never be quite the same again. Losing Lex is hurting us all, but we are not bowed and we are certainly not broken. We will work through our grief because Lex’s loss has made us that much more determined to make a genuine impact while we are here in Afghanistan. That is Lex’s legacy and we will honour it. Lex died amongst the Gurkhas he so loved. They will ensure that his sacrifice is not in vain.” Lt Col David Wombell, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said on behalf of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles: "Major Lex Roberts was an officer in this Battalion and a close personal friend - such is life in an Infantry Battalion. He was all that I admired in a man; mentally robust, physically tough, charismatic, witty, tenacious and moral to name a few of his qualities. He lived life, as one should, fully and honestly to himself and his ideals, a deeply loyal and loving family man. Though he dies too young, he did so in selfless service to his country and in the best tradition of the Royal Gurkha Rifles amongst soldiers he loved. His absence from our lives leaves us, and the world, a poorer place and we will remember with pride and love what an honour and privilege it was to have known him. My deepest sympathy goes to his wife, daughters, parents and brothers.” His friend, Major Chris Boyer, said: "Lex you were an inspirational officer, and a true friend, I am devastated that you have been taken from us. The officers and men of the Royal Gurkha Rifles have lost a man of impeccable integrity, a man who personified what it means to be an officer in the finest traditions of this regiment. We, your friends, have lost a friend whose enthusiasm for life, sense of humour and straight talking compassion were a constant source of joy, and strength in times of need. There is an irreparable hole in the place you occupied in our lives, you will be sorely missed."


[ Rifleman Yubraj Rai ]

Rifleman Yubraj Rai of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles who was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 4 November 2008. Rifleman Rai was killed while taking part in a joint International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Security Forces operation against enemy forces south of Musa Qaleh. While working alongside a fellow Gurkha, Rifleman Rai received a gunshot wound from enemy fire. He received medical treatment at the scene but died a short time later from his wounds Rifleman Rai, aged 28, came from the Khotang district in eastern Nepal. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, he joined the British Army in January 1999. On completion of his recruit training, he joined the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in Brunei. In 2000, Rifleman Rai was posted to D (Gurkha Reinforcement) Company, the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, where he served with distinction for two-and-a-half years. His soldiering skills were widely recognised and his career was characterised by a number of successful operational tours including to Iraq on Operation TELIC 1, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, and a previous tour in Afghanistan during Operation HERRICK 4. Rifleman Rai was an avid sportsman who enjoyed all competition, but his real passion was for football, at which he represented B Company. This enthusiasm for the game extended to his support for Manchester United FC. He was one of B Company's more senior Riflemen. He acted as a mentor for the younger men in the Company, often impressing them with his fitness and stamina. Most recently he was employed as the Company Storeman, where his attention to detail, care to ensure that the men received the correct administrative support, and constant diligence were immensely respected.  He had been eager to deploy back to Afghanistan, his selfless attitude once again coming to the fore when he volunteered to deploy with 5 Platoon to replace another rifleman who had fallen ill. Rifleman Rai supported his mother, sister and three brothers as the family's main earner. He will be missed dearly by his family and all who knew him. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "Yubraj Rai was an extraordinary character and a hard professional soldier with a proven operational record. Having served his time as a driving force in 5 Platoon, he moved to a supporting role in Musa Qaleh, but it was typical of the man that he volunteered for a place on the operation in Dagyan when another member of his Company fell ill, and a measure of his professionalism that he did it so seamlessly. "Big, strong and highly experienced, Rfn Yubraj was one of the cornerstones of his Company and he was known throughout the Battalion for his presence, drive and his ability as a soldier. Part of a small and tight knit team he understood intuitively what needed to be done, how, when and by whom, and would move heaven and earth to ensure he got the support to his friends and comrades whatever the circumstances.  "Yubraj was a proud Nepali, a proud soldier and was exceptionally proud of being a Gurkha Rifleman. He knew the dangers involved in becoming a soldier and understood better than most what it meant to go to war; this was one of his greatest strengths. He died doing what he did best, amongst his greatest friends and admirers and for a cause he had taken the time to understand. He was brave, strong, hard and noble; he epitomised all that makes the Gurkhas great - the best. I was proud to have known him; he will not be forgotten." Major Ross Daines, Commander of B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR), said: "Rifleman Yubraj Rai was a stalwart of B Coy 2 RGR. After six years as a member of a Rifle Platoon he volunteered to become the Company's Storeman, a job that requires great attention to detail and genuine concern for other soldiers. He was invariably the man working long hours to ensure that he could issue equipment in the best condition. "Rifleman Yubraj was a quiet man who I will always remember politely entering my office with a pile of forms requiring signatures. Once he got them he would smile shyly and walk purposefully away from the office. Not once in my year with B Company can I remember a bad word said against him. He was held in genuine affection by all. "Rifleman Yubraj died as he lived his life, selflessly and with great humility. After deployment to Musa Qaleh he volunteered to be a member of 5 Platoon, a job that involved frequent patrolling in dangerous areas. He chose this role when he could have easily avoided being so close to the action. This willingness to do the hard graft and share danger was his hallmark. "The death of Rifleman Yubraj is a great sadness and one that will not pass easily. He was a fine man and I miss him already." Captain Dhyan Rai, Second in Command, B Company, said: "Rifleman Yubraj was one of the Company's most dedicated men. He was completely trustworthy and reliable. He consistently set the example and he died in battle doing his job. It is a tragedy that he is not amongst us now, and he will be sorely missed by the whole Company." "Yubraj Rai was an extraordinary character and a hard professional soldier with a proven operational record. Having served his time as a driving force in 5 Platoon, he moved to a supporting role in Musa Qaleh, but it was typical of the man that he volunteered for a place on the operation in Dagyan when another member of his Company fell ill, and a measure of his professionalism that he did it so seamlessly."  Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles

Second Lieutenant Ollie Cochrane, Platoon Commander, said: "Rifleman Yubraj volunteered to return to 5 Platoon after three years as the B Company Storeman. He was a trusted and well respected member of the platoon. He was liked by all, cheerful and always smiling cheekily. He was a great friend to all those who he worked with. He was an excellent soldier, uncomplaining and professional in all he did. He died at the front doing the job he loved, acting with bravery and courage. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him." Corporal Bigendra Limbu, 3 Section Commander, 5 Platoon, said: "Rifleman Yubraj was a truly outstanding Rifleman with an extraordinary personality. As the most senior Rifleman he never failed to set the example to the other Riflemen. He loved his job and performed extremely well in every aspect of it. He was highly respected by everyone in the company. His death will be felt by all of us, but the memory of his life will never fade. I extend my most heartfelt condolences to his family and pray that his soul may rest in peace in heaven; he will always remain in our hearts." Lance Corporal Gajendra Rai and Lance Corporal Sunil Rai, who both served alongside Rifleman Rai, wrote: "Dear friend Yubraj, you are our best friend, we will never forget you. We used to go everywhere with you. We shared our thoughts no matter how difficult the days were. We are proud to have been your friend, you are the one who inspired us to be brave men like you. You were a really honest, punctual and gentle person. You know that we used to play football, basketball and swim together; you were a really good competitor. We always used to admire your playing style, which was fantastic. We will remember the day that we all spent the whole night talking about our futures, but you broke your promise, you have left us forever. But we are proud of you and what you did for us, your family and for the Queen. Thank you for being our very best friend, we will always remember you."

 


[ MiColour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura ]

Colour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura, of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 15 November 2008. Colour Sergeant Dura was taking part in a road move in the Musa Qaleh district of Helmand when the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle he was travelling in was struck by an explosive device. Colour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura, aged 36, came from the Lamjung district of western Nepal and was enlisted into the British Army in 1992. He completed his recruit training at the Training Depot Brigade of Gurkhas in Hong Kong and was subsequently posted to A Company, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles, based in Church Crookham in the UK. He immediately stood out as a robust young soldier and attended the All Arms Parachute selection course which he passed with ease. He excelled on all his military courses and was promoted quickly through the ranks. His drive, determination and outstanding soldiering skills marked him out early in his career and he was subsequently selected to serve in the Gurkha Reinforcement Company with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He served with distinction with this battalion and returned to the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in 1997. C/Sgt Dura was a very experienced and exceptionally capable Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. He had served on operations in Bosnia Herzegovina, East Timor, twice in Sierra Leone and this was his third tour to Afghanistan. Last year he was promoted to C/Sgt and singled out for selection to form the battalion's sniper platoon in Support Company. He set about this with great enthusiasm and skill forming an excellent platoon of some of the battalion's most capable soldiers. C/Sgt Dura commanded by the power of his personality and led by example. Never demonstrative, he was exceptionally calm under pressure and reserved in character. He was rated as one of the Army's best snipers attaining best student on his Snipers' course. He was highly respected by all. A hugely enthusiastic and healthily competitive individual, C/Sgt Dura particularly enjoyed playing football with his friends and colleagues. His effectiveness as a soldier and a leader belied a softer caring side, from a man who was deeply devoted to his wife and two daughters. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "Colour Sergeant Krishna was an exceptional soldier, a gifted leader and consummate professional. Recently promoted out of D Company, he had deployed on Operation Herrick as the Master Sniper in command of a platoon that he had formed less than a year before, and which he had trained himself. Deployed from day one under the most demanding conditions countering an ethereal, highly dangerous and elusive enemy, he and the men he commanded had already delivered extraordinary results in a very short period of time. "Intelligent, hard and totally committed, I knew that whatever the challenge I could turn to C/Sgt Krishna and have absolute confidence in his ability to deliver. His knowledge of his trade and of his men was without parallel, and the team he forged based on this knowledge and his own commitment was second-to-none. Tightly knit, entirely upbeat and utterly professional, C/Sgt Krishna's snipers were, and continue to be, one of my most potent capabilities, and their strengths are due almost entirely to his own ability as a soldier, a leader and commander. "Like all those who have gone before him, C/Sgt Krishna was a proud Nepali, a proud soldier and was exceptionally proud of his regiment and of his part in it. A man of significant operational experience, he understood the dangers associated with fighting a determined and dangerous enemy, but his ability to counter this threat successfully with an equal measure of ‘pahari' cunning, tenacity and military skill were one of his great strengths. He was hard, intelligent, brave and strong; he was a gifted leader; and he was a commander with the highest potential. I was extremely proud to have known this bold and noble man and will miss him. He will not be forgotten." Major Toby Jack man, Officer Commanding Support Company, said: "We have lost a truly unique and talented man and his loss will be felt acutely by all those who had the privilege to know him. As a soldier and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer [SNCO] he epitomised Gurkha infantry professionalism, and delivered consistently excellent results. He moulded his team in the last year to a most effective and cohesive unit. I have had the rare privilege of commanding C/Sgt Krishna as a SNCO who was completely attuned to what he had to do, and had the pleasure of watching him developing the Sniper platoon on his own initiative with only the minimum of guidance. He was utterly reliable and as a result was quickly recognised, outperforming many of his peers. "Everyone in the company respected him; he did not confine his talent to the battalion and became recognised for his ability in the wider sniper community of 3 Commando Brigade and the Sniper Division. He was always calm, assured and utterly focused. He represented his men fully in all they did and needed. His loss is tragic and untimely; he gave so much, unselfishly. I can see him smiling calmly, even when tired and under pressure. My heart and thoughts go out to his wife, daughters and family. I will never forget him, we will remember him." Major Shivakumar Limbu MVO MBE, Gurkha Major of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR), said: "I have worked with C/Sgt Krishna closely. He was my radio operator throughout my tour as a Platoon Commander in C (Gurkha) Company and was one of my section commanders in A Company 2 RGR. He was an extremely hard working, highly professional and robust field soldier who always loved tough challenges; both physical and mental. He was a first class Senior NCO who always led his team by example. His courage, dedication and determination were inspirational for others who would push themselves beyond their limits for him. He always placed his heart and soul into all that he did for his team and regiment. He always had a smile on his face and was a really pleasant personality to work with. He was a truly model Gurkha Senior NCO with masses of experience. I will really miss him. He will never be forgotten. My heartfelt condolences go to his wife, his two daughters, family and friends during this difficult time." Captain Andrew Todd, Adjutant of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "C/Sgt Krishna Dura was one of the most professional men I have ever had the pleasure to serve with. He cared passionately about his men, his work and above all his family. He died with valour, knowing the dangers of his profession while leading his men by example; very much his hallmarks. For his courage, his cheerfulness, his zest for life, he will never be forgotten; our battalion has lost a great man." Captain Subar Rai, Support Company Second-in-Command, said: "Krish was one of the most operationally experienced SNCOs in Support Company. Determined and full of enthusiasm, Krish was highly regarded by all ranks and so liked by his men and his colleagues because of his friendly and selfless character. He always shone performing his duties in both camp and on operations; as a commander he always led his men from the front. He was a true Gurkha and died bravely doing the job he so liked. He will be sorely missed by all of us. I extend my most heartfelt condolences to his family in the UK and Nepal and pray that his soul may rest in peace." Captain Kit Kyte, Officer Commanding Recce Platoon, said: "Colour Sergeant Krishna Dura was a soldier of the highest quality. He demanded the highest standards of himself and his men, never ceasing in his quest for perfection. Admired and respected by all, Krishna set an example to everyone, soldiers and officers alike. He was a proud man devoted to his family. He encompassed everything that the Gurkhas stand for; courage, loyalty, bravery and coolness under fire. He will be dearly missed by all in the 2 RGR Reconnaissance Group and the Brigade of Gurkhas. His numberies (fellow soldiers from the same intake) Colour Sergeant Milan Rai and Sergeant Dhan Thapa said: "He was an inspiration to serve under; open and ever ready to help. As a commander, neighbour and close family friend he always had the time of day for people and never turned anyone away."  Sergeant Shreeman Limbu "We enlisted in the Brigade of Gurkhas together in 1992. We will never forget those days we spent together since basic training, on the various operations around the world, until this moment. You were such a legend. A cheerful person with a good sense of humour and a family man. You were robust, a hard worker and loved competition, especially in football. We will not forget the days you organised such sporting events and get together amongst numberies and our wives. Always our thoughts are with your wife and your two young daughters who are left behind." His friend Sergeant Shreeman Limbu said: "He was a close friend both socially and professionally. We worked together for many years including through the hardships shared by D Company on Op Herrick 4 and as my platoon sergeant until 2007. He was an inspiration to serve under; open and ever ready to help. As a commander, neighbour and close family friend he always had the time of day for people and never turned anyone away. We would regularly find an excuse to celebrate any event together in our neighbourhood. Joined with his kindness, he was a warrior, a master sniper, renowned for his 'josh' and a rising star in the battalion, one of the keenest soldiers in the Royal Gurkha Rifles. Our thoughts are with his wife and two young children he leaves behind, who will be looked after by the strong community of this well loved man's many friends back home." His friend Sergeant Nawalkiran Yakha said: "I am really in shock to hear that you are no longer with us. All the boys in D Company from Op Herrick 4 are going to miss you a lot. You were the best mate I have had in my life and I am going to miss you. My family and I will be missing you so much that I cannot really express it at this time. The times we shared, the pain we had in Op Herrick 4 was fresh back in my mind again when I stepped into Camp Bastion. Every suggestion you provided, all the support you gave me when I was a young Platoon Sgt, was much appreciated. I will still remember you when I have any problem because you were the one who I really trusted and shared my feelings with. The two things I will really miss is calling you 'talu' (in jest) and when we have functions in our mess (because we used to be the last men standing). Talu, forgive me that I was not able to answer your call just before you departed to Afghanistan. Wherever you are my family and I have great respect for you and I do promise that we will do our best to support your family and two daughters." Corporal Yogendra Rai from Sniper Platoon, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "Colour Sergeant Krishna Dura was a good commander and a good father of two daughters. In this situation he left us where we need him desperately. However, the greatest need is for his wife and for his cute daughters rather than we fully grown and trained sniper members.


Sgt Ben Ross RMP and Cpl Kumar Pun RGR killed, Thursday 7 May 2009. in Afghanistan

[ Sgt Ben Ross RMP and Cpl Kumar Pun RGR ]

Sergeant Ben Ross of 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police and Corporal Kumar Pun of The 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles were killed as a result of a suicide improvised explosive device during a patrol in Gereshk, Helmand province.

Corporal Kumar Pun of The 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Corporal Kumar Pun was born on the 30th November 1977 in the Parbat district of Western Nepal. The son of a British Gurkha, he was always destined to try for selection to join one of the most feared Regiments in the world and, after much effort, in 1996 he passed the gruelling selection and joined the British Army. Following the successful completion of recruit training he was posted to Church Crookham as a Rifleman in A (Delhi)  Company the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles. In A Company he deployed on overseas exercises in Malaysia, Kenya, Oman, Belize and had deployed on Operations in Kosovo and Bosnia. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan. In his last posting before deployment to Afghanistan he was a section commander in the Jungle Warfare Wing in Brunei. He was an excellent jungle soldier with unique skills that he passed on to the course students in his own humorous manner.

[ Corporal Kumar Pun ]

As Second-in-Command of a Multiple in Afghanistan he had considerable responsibility, both for the administration of the fifteen man team but also tactically, leading men in a most complex and dangerous operational environment. He was a highly valued member of a team that had the critical task of delivering vital training and mentoring to the Afghan National Police.

He consistently proved himself to be a competent commander and mentor and through his own quiet and reassuring style became very successful at teaching the police. His calm and patient teaching style combined with his expert knowledge left a mark on many of the policemen he mentored. The work he conducted without doubt has enabled the police in Gereshk to become more professional and in time more respected by the Afghan civilians.

Corporal Kumar was a first-class soldier who loved soldiering and embraced the challenges it posed. He was a very intelligent and capable individual who spoke a number of languages including English, Hindi, his native Nepali and tribal languages. He was highly regarded and respected by all, a polite and quiet character who was a pleasure to be around. He was a good athlete and a fierce competitor on the sports field. His service to his Battalion was characterised by the highest level of professionalism, loyalty and dedication. He leaves behind his parents, Dhanbahadur and Sukmaya Pun, a younger brother Santosh, a younger sister Bindu and his wife Parbati and two daughters, Klaudine and Petrina who live in Dover. Major Chris Conroy, Officer Commanding Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

"Corporal Kumar was a man of unique character and virtue. As a soldier he was unstintingly professional, calm and respectful of all, never failing to help and always willing to volunteer. A man of considerable experience he was the guide and mentor to many an Officer and Non Commissioned Officer, his advice always considered, well delivered and polite. As a father and husband he took great pride in his family and children and I know they were always at the front of his thoughts. "Corporal Kumar was a key member of the Company and the space left by his departure will be hard to fill. On operations in Afghanistan he was steadfast, brave and a true leader. He looked after his soldiers as if they were his own, caring for them and watching over their every move. He died doing the job he loved with his friends at his side and he will be greatly missed by all. "The Company’s thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times." Captain Pratapsing Rai Second-in-Command of Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "Corporal Kumar was one of the best Junior Non Commissioned Officers with a good sense of humour, well-disciplined and a unique Gurkha soldier in the Company. He had great experience with an effective command style and was a key member of his multiple. "Kumar you were loyal, very approachable, hardworking and always had a positive outlook in your day to day job. Your selfless contribution to the Company was remarkable. You were the most likeable Junior Non Commissioned Officer and well respected by all members of Foxtrot Company. "It was a heartrending incident where you sadly lost your life. I and all Company members are in deep shock and filed with much pain and sadness. I am sure our Brigade of Gurkhas are feeling the same to lose one of the most courageous and exceptional Gurkha soldier. "Kumar, I and all Company members miss you; you will always be in our hearts. May your soul rest in peace. Our thoughts go to your wife, two daughters and parents in this very painful time." Lieutenant Aloysius Connolly, Platoon Commander, Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said of him: "Corporal Kumar was a fantastic Non Commissioned Officer. He was hardworking, loyal and supportive of his soldiers and Commanders alike. He was greatly respected by all and the boys looked to him for support and guidance. He was an extremely fit and robust character, a great footballer and a fierce competitor. He had a quiet and mischievous sense of humour and I will deeply miss him and the support he so willingly offered.  "My thoughts and prayers go to his and wife Parbati and two daughters, Petrina and Klaudine."

Warrant Officer (Class 2) Chabindra Limbu, Company Sergeant Major, Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:  "The loss of Corporal Kumar Pun has cast a dark shadow over Foxtrot Company and the Brigade of Gurkhas. He was a huge character who had a reputation for hard work and professionalism. He was a brave Gurkha soldier who loved his job, his friends and family. He was very loving, never judged anyone and was always very supportive, nothing was ever too much trouble for him. "Corporal Kumar Pun was a great football player, representing the Company in several competitions. He was always a physically strong and fit man." "We will remember him and our thoughts are with his two daughters, wife and parents at this the most painful of times." Colour Sergeant Kiran Pun, Company Quartermaster Sergeant at Lashkar Gah for Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "I was gob-smacked to hear the loss of my true friend and beloved brother Corporal Kumar Pun. His loss has most definitely saddened the entire Brigade of Gurkhas and is a colossal blow for Foxtrot Company. This day has been radiated with gloom and is an agonizing time for us in the grounds.  "His loss has left a huge emptiness and unattainable sorrow to bear. Brother, sadly you have been taken away maliciously from us and you will be forever missed by all who had the privilege of knowing you and worked with. "He was a very mature, caring and a down to earth man. He lived life to the full. It was just like yesterday that we used to play football together. How can I forget all the good and bad times we shared together? I will not forget your cheerful approach with full of positive thoughts. How can I expunge that moment you came to ask me for advice on your career? You will be fondly remembered by all of us. Brother I miss you deeply and may you rest in peace. "He was a loving husband and a caring father who was treasured by all his families and friends. I would like to extend my deepest and heartfelt sympathy to his family on their loss." Friend and comrade Lance Corporal Mankumar Rai said:

"The 7th of May was the worst day of my life. It was hot and we were patrolling in the town for 2 hours. I heard a big sound in the middle of the patrol. I checked on my radio but Kumar was not there. Corporal Kumar was my best friend and comrade. He was always very good and helpful.  "I miss my best friend Kumar, may his soul rest in peace in heaven. I wish his family and two beautiful daughters the best of luck." Friend and comrade Lance Corporal Deepak Thapa said: "Corporal Kumar was the best and closest friend of mine. I met him in Brecon the first time and ever since then we had been working together. Back in Brunei we were in the same platoon at Training Team Brunei (TTB) as a demo platoon and finally in Foxtrot Company. "When I heard the shocking news that my best friend Kumar was no more in this world, I did not believe it, but it dawned on me later that I had lost my best friend forever. I was in shock and could not control my tears. Kumar you are my best friend, I can never forget you and you will be missed forever.  "May your soul rest in peace and may Goddess Dura Mata give your family the strength to carry on." Rifleman Aita Limbu and Rifleman Jhapat Gurun said: "Corporal Kumar was one of the best Non Commissioned Officer’s in the British army. He was really friendly, brave, kind and caring, honest and co-operative and a kind hearted man. He was always looking after the team members. He was the best example of leadership and a real hero.  "Kumar Guruji you will remain in our hearts and memories. We hope your soul rests in peace in heaven." Rifleman Tikaraj Limbu said: "Dear Kumar Guruji, you were our senior Guruji, like a parent always caring for us. You helped in each and every difficult time. You always loved us like your kids. "You were a hero. You left us on the way to our mission because God needs a hero like you. We miss you where ever you are."


[ Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun ]

Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles who were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 13 July 2010. Major James Joshua Bowman (left), Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja ... The three soldiers, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), were killed in a suspected premeditated attack by a member of the Afghan National Army.

[ Major James Joshua Bowman  ]

Major Bowman's family said: "He was the best possible son and brother who will be sadly missed by his family and many friends. "He loved the Army and was very proud of the selfless work that he and his Company were doing."

Major James Joshua Bowman  Major Josh Bowman was 34 years old and from Salisbury. He started his career in the British Army as a rifle platoon commander in B Company 1st Battalion The Light Infantry having commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1999. As a rifle platoon commander he deployed to Northern Ireland as part of the Rural Reinforcement Battalion. In Northern Ireland he operated from an isolated patrol base and for his outstanding performance throughout this tour he was awarded a General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland commendation. Following rifle platoon command he was posted as an instructor to the 3rd Battalion Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. He then returned to regimental duty in Paderborn, Germany, in the Armoured Infantry role as the Second in Command of D Company 1 Light Infantry. He deployed on Op TELIC 3 to Maysan Province, Iraq, before then taking command of the Mortar Platoon. It was following his Mortar Platoon appointment that Major Bowman began to broaden his horizons with numerous overseas postings. From August 2005 he completed a year in International Military Advisory Training Team (Freetown) Sierra Leone as the Operations Training Officer / Battalion Operations Advisor. In September 2006 he returned to the UK as an SO3 instructor in the Junior Officer Tactics Division to the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster. On completion of his two year appointment he had been selected for promotion to Major. Prior to attendance on the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) he squeezed in a 5 month tour as the Assistant Chief Instructor at the Iraqi Military Academy Ar Rustamiyah (IMAR). This was an 8 man training team supporting 600 Officer Cadets and 300 Iraqi Staff. Major Bowman began his company command with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in May 2009 immediately after ICSC(L), swapping  the lecture halls of Shrivenham for the heat and humidity of Brunei. In August 2009 the Battalion conducted the Unit Move from Brunei to the UK and began the pre-deployment training for the Op HERRICK 12 deployment. His Gurkha soldiers developed a natural respect and affection for a leader who balanced the best traditions of a rifle regiment soldier with humanity and hospitality that found him at home in A (Delhi) Company. Major Bowman had led his company through some of the toughest fighting experienced by the Battlegroup on Op HERRICK 12 thus far. He balanced the softer side of population centric counter insurgency with a genuine ability to motivate and lead his company onto the offensive when required. But above all, he was a gentle and thoroughly good man, who often spoke of his family and his girlfriend, Lucy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during these tragic times.

Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e-Saraj South said: "Our Battalion has lost a brave leader. Major Josh Bowman commanded A Company with a rare determination. "The tragedy of his loss is beyond words. Since his arrival in Afghanistan, he led his Company deep into enemy controlled territory again and again. "It is a bitter irony that after driving the insurgents back throughout his area, he was gunned down as he slept in the supposed security of his patrol base. "Attached to the Royal Gurkha Rifles for two years, Josh is now forever one of our Regimental family. "Here in Afghanistan, he lifted us all daily as he concluded his reports of his company's activity with a quick quip, be that a ping pong challenge to the Brigade Commander on their makeshift table, or his plans for yet another curry supper.  "I learnt very quickly out here that I could rely on him implicitly, and that he would unflinchingly head straight towards danger if that was what was required. "He was truly courageous. We will desperately miss his light touch, his cheerful demeanour, and his love of his soldiers, even if it was tinged with constant puzzlement about the weird and wonderful ways of the Gurkhas. "We grieve for his loss, and share a small part of the burden of pain felt by his loved ones. "But while we do so, we will forge ahead and continue what he started, because that is what he would have wanted." Major Charlie Crowe, Officer Commanding B (Sari Bair) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Josh, you joined the Battalion in preparation for this operational tour and I was delighted to hear that my numberie (same intake) from Sandhurst and the Platoon Commanders’ Battle Course would be a fellow company commander. "Knowing Josh and his eccentricities, I knew that the Royal Gurkha Rifles Officers’ Mess was the right place for him. "I know he made his mark in A (Delhi) Company and in the Mess and I was looking forward to rekindling a friendship which has lapsed as our service had taken us to different parts of the world. "Josh’s brutal and untimely death is bitter – so much promise left unfulfilled and a great character taken from our close Royal Gurkha Rifles family. "Josh, I never had the opportunity to enjoy your company within the Battalion environment and I bitterly regret it. "Your place in Regimental history, your leadership and love of A (Delhi) Company with never be forgotten. Jai 1 RGR." Captain Richard Thatcher RIFLES, Motorised Transport Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "A man of great warmth, friendly spirit and a part of the fabric of the Battalion adding value to where it mattered. "Nothing ever seemed to be too much for you, taking everything in your stride with confidence as a true Rifles Officer. "Professional and conscientious to the end, you had much more to offer to aspiring young Officers and soldiers alike. "Our single living out Officers 'Come Dine With Me' dinner nights will no longer seem the same without your presence at our table, and neither will your taste in expensive red wine or smelly cheese ever be matched. "In the time that I have known you, as a fellow Rifles Officer, you have been a loyal and trusted friend, who will be very sadly missed by all that have had the pleasure of being a part of your life. "You may be a fallen Rifleman, but you will never be forgotten. "Swift and Bold" Captain PRW Kaye KRH, attached officer from the King’s Royal Hussars to 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "I feel extremely privileged to have known Josh for the past eleven months. "He was a gentleman through and through and possessed an extremely positive outlook on life. "We had a common bond in that we were both attached Officers' serving in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles. "Josh was undoubtedly in his absolute element in Afghanistan, and spoke of his infamous Company operations fighting through various insurgent compounds, as if he were out for a walk in England's green hills. "Dropping into his patrol base was always a pleasure, for he was so hospitable, and nothing was ever any trouble for him. "There always appeared to be a goat or chicken in the pot, and he would love to talk of England and weekends spent deer stalking, or  the unsung qualities of pigeon shooting. "Josh visibly thrived off the challenge of soldiering in such a demanding environment and inspired confidence in those around him. "His enthusiasm made you want to get out and be a part of his operation, even if you were the other end of the area. "His death is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with his family and girlfriend over this horrendously difficult period."  Sergeant Manoj Gurung, Company TAC Commander and Intelligence Sergeant, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Major Bowman was a true hero to me and for all members of A (Delhi) Company. "He always involved himself to the highest level in all that went on in A Company. "He led from the front without failure. He was a very generous man and was so kind to everybody he met and worked with. "He had time to talk to everybody especially the junior riflemen. "We have so many fond memories of him which will never be forgotten. "You are sorely missed by all of your Company."


[ Lieutenant Neal Turkington ]

Lieutenant Neal Turkington was born in Craigavon in Northern Ireland and was soon to celebrate his 27th birthday. After graduating from Imperial College London he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 2007. He commissioned into 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in August 2008 and went on to successfully complete the Platoon Commanders' Battle Course in Brecon, South Wales. His first appointment at regimental duty took him to the jungles of Brunei where he quickly settled in at the helm of 2 Platoon within A (Delhi) Company. Having settled in to regimental life in Brunei, Lieutenant Turkington continued his Gurkha education by attending the mandatory three months of language study in Pokhara, Western Nepal. A keen adventurer and traveller he found many similarities between the foothills of the Himalaya and the other parts of the world which he travelled to so frequently, notably South America. At the end of the language training he conducted a memorable trek through Nepal in support of the Gurkha Welfare Trust and perfected the art of speaking Nepali with an Irish accent. On returning to Brunei Lieutenant Turkington turned his attention back to a profession that he showed a real zeal for. The demanding jungle of Brunei was the perfect environment for this passionate infanteer. He had the highest expectations of himself and his platoon, to whom he dedicated himself wholeheartedly. Lieutenant Turkington relished the intellectual challenges of infantry command as much as the physical. Ambitious for his platoon, he was constantly challenging accepted practices in order to improve himself and his team, a trait that bore real fruits in the initial three months in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Turkington was in his element as a junior commander and leader in Afghanistan. The time and effort that he had dedicated to his soldiers over the previous two years was paying dividends every day in the toughest of environments. Under his command 2 Platoon had been playing a key role in the complex counter insurgency campaign that A (Delhi) Company are engaged in. He understood it and he ensured that each of his soldiers did too. In the early stages of this operational tour he had shown himself to be a decisive leader with a strong will, the boys followed him and would do so again and again through the most testing of situations. Outside of his military life Neal had dedicated so much time to other people, he was a humanitarian at heart, except in the boxing ring, and this was shown through a charity that he and friends had established in South America. Both in and out of work he was a professional of the highest standards, a leader of his generation. Our thoughts are with his family during this tragic time.

 

Lt Turkington's family said: "Our family is devastated with the news of Neal's death in Afghanistan on 13th July 2010. "One of Neal's proudest moments was hearing that he had been commissioned to join the Royal Gurkha Rifle's Regiment. "He felt honoured and privileged to serve with such distinguished, courageous and loyal men. "Neal was jovial, kind, considerate and loyal to his family and friends. Our family were inspired by his presence, and generosity. "He was relentless and steadfast in his pursuit of those causes he believed in with his passion for making a difference whatever the  circumstance. "We are all so proud of him – we couldn't have asked for a finer son, brother and friend."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e-Saraj South said: "Lieutenant Neal Turkington was cruelly taken from us in his prime, gunned down as he took his turn on duty in the Company Operations Room. "He was a courageous and determined platoon commander who was already known across the battalion as a man who could be trusted. "All his soldiers will echo that sentiment. He was a true friend to his fellow officers and a leader to whom his soldiers would willingly entrust their lives. These are not hollow words. "He earned this respect through his integrity and raw ability. "He always had a twinkle in his eye and managed to bring lightness to the gravest of situations. "I could not have asked for a better officer. Since arriving in Afghanistan, he had been involved in some of the fiercest fighting in our area, but he took it all in his stride, never daunted by what he faced, but always spreading a quiet confidence amongst his men. "Having a leader who steers him on a calm and steady path when nerves are on edge and tension is in the air is all that a soldier will ask for, and Neal had the rare gift of being able to do just that. "We mourn his loss, and we share in the unfathomable grief of his family. "Neal, we are proud to have had you in our Regimental family and will treasure what you have given us." Captain John Jeffcoat, Battlegroup J3 Operations Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "'The Turk', as he was inevitably known, loved his soldiers as much as they loved him. "His humility and humour endeared them to him from the off, loving every single moment of leading his men through thick and thin. "Neal's gentle Irish brogue was always full of wit and wisdom whether it be coaxing the very best from his boys, whatever their endeavour, or over a drink or several in the Mess with his brother officers. "We are a small, tight knit band and his loss makes us all the more determined to persevere and beat the insidious insurgency that is doubtless faltering thanks to the bravery of men like Neal who day in and day out took the fight to the enemy. "His example humbles us all. Jai Turkington Saheb!" Captain Emile Simpson, Battlegroup Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Neal was genuinely courageous, refreshingly argumentative, great fun, and led his men from the front by force of personality. "The most vivid memories I have of Neal were on walks through Himalayan foothills with the five of us as young officers on the Nepali Language Course. "They would invariably descend into four of us arguing the most absurd points with Neal as we walked from dawn to dusk. "You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace mate." Lieutenant Tom Baker, fellow platoon commander in A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Neal, whether it was in training, out on the town, or defending the Company from a Taliban flanking attack in Helmand, you have always been there to get me through a scrape and help your friends. Not only has the Battalion lost its most committed and intellectual subaltern, but we subbies have lost an older brother. "Our dress sense is bound to slip without you there to control it. "It is hard to believe that we will not see you in Shorncliffe yelling out support to the boys on route marches in your excellent Nepali with that unique Ulster twang. "It seems harder to think of 2 Platoon carrying out their jobs without their beloved Platoon Commander. "Do not worry though, C/Sgt Hom is nearly as much of a perfectionist as you and the Turkington 'stamp' is well and truly embedded on the Platoon making it amongst the best in the Royal Gurkha Rifles. "Neal, I will not forget the warm welcome you gave me when I joined A (Delhi) Company nor will I forget the pranks you played on me – like telling me it was Gurkha tradition for new officers to show respect to the Gurkha Major by leaving a live chicken on his desk. "Do not worry I will be passing on this fine Gurkha prank to the next subbie. "Neal, you always gave good advice whether asked for or not in soldiering, engineering, boxing and in friendship you always excelled. "I cannot begin to describe how much you will be missed by Garith and Cathy, by all your family and every single member of the Royal Gurkha Rifles. "But even though you will be sorely missed, you will never ever be forgotten. Jai PC 2!" Colour Sergeant Hombahadur Gurung, Platoon Sergeant 2 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Lieutenant Neal Turkington was not only a great leader and Platoon Commander but also a good friend. "He always made time to listen to the concerns of his most junior Rifleman and did everything he could to understand and help them. "He was an example and led from the front, and will always be remembered. "Our thoughts and prayers will always be with him and with his family." Corporal Pritihilal Ghale, Section Commander 2 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Lieutenant Turkington was a man of his own. "He always believed in what he was trained for and applied it practically as well as in real war. "His command and leadership never faltered and he always did everything he could for 2 Platoon. "His professionalism towards A Company and our Regiment was exceptional. "Our thoughts and condolences are always with him and his family.  "We will never forget you Lieutenant 'Turk' Saheb." Rifleman Praveen Rai, 2 Platoon A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Lieutenant Turkington was not only a great officer but also a dear friend to the whole platoon. "Being a tough man he also had a great sense of humour which made him easy to speak to, even to the most junior rifleman in his platoon. "At times he was strict but his dedication towards his men was unquestionable. "His command and leadership in the field was outstanding and he was always concerned about our morale. "The exceptional part of his personality was being able to smile and look at us even in difficult times and just this was enough to boost our spirit. "We all shared some really good moments with him and as long as we remain it will always be in our memory." Rifleman Sanjaya Babu Rokaha, 2 Platoon A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Lieutenant Turkington was a man of highest quality and I feel that he was a person born to be a soldier because of his hard work to ensure his skills and military knowledge were the best. "He used to tell us to read books in our spare time rather than playing games and just hanging around. "His deep knowledge and experience led us on a better track and his role was like a parent to us. "I feel like I have lost my beloved friend as well as my commander and we look forward to fulfilling his dream by working our hardest to make sure our skills are the best like his.  "May his soul rest in peace in heaven and we will not forget him. Jai 1 RGR."


[ Corporal Arjun Purja Pun ]

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was 33 years old and was raised and recruited from Khibang village in the Magdi District in Nepal. He passed the notoriously gruelling Gurkha selection process and was enlisted into the British Army on 30 January 1995. His career was varied and successful and he was a hugely popular soldier wherever he served. In 1998-99 he was a member of the Gurkha Reinforcement Company attached to B Company, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment. Most recently, he was posted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he supported the training of future Officers for the British Army and other national forces. Cpl Arjun was in 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles based in Brunei at the time when they deployed on Op HERRICK 7 as the Reserve Battlegroup as part of Regional Command South based in Kandahar. He deployed on Op HERRICK 12 in early June 2010 as a battlefield casualty replacement. He brought with him a wealth of experience which quickly became highly valued by the chain of command. Soon after his arrival, his Company Commander Major Bowman, who was also tragically killed in the same incident, commented on Corporal Arjun’s excellent attitude and approach. This is exactly what was expected from him as a Junior Non Commissioned Officer who had been awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in January 2010, his first possible look at such an award. Corporal Arjun was a soldier who excelled and thrived on new challenges and the list of courses that he attended and completed is extensive. He completed the Section Commanders’ Battle Course in Brecon, South Wales in October 2002 and was promoted to substantive Corporal in June 2003. He was an instructor and advisor in mine awareness and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defence, a testament to his pioneering background. His selfless approach and professionalism is reflected in the way in which he arrived in Afghanistan to replace an injured comrade. The Company had suffered losses before and Corporal Arjun was exactly the sort of individual that this Battalion wanted to see arrive to fill a gap. He was an outstanding member of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, a credit to Nepal and himself; he shall never be forgotten. He leaves behind his wife and two children and will truly be missed by his family in Nepal and the UK.

 

Corporal Pun’s wife, Durga, said: "Arjun Puja Pun was a tremendous husband. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing a job he loved. "We are devastated by the loss of Arjun who was a loving husband and father. We are proud of the fact that Arjun was prepared to do his duty helping the people of Afghanistan." Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e-Saraj South said: "Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a true Gurkha. "Brought out to Afghanistan at short notice to replace an earlier casualty, he immediately immersed himself in the task in hand. Steadfast and loyal, he was true to his Regiment to the very end. "We are a close knit community, and our Gurkhas are bonded through many years of service in a country far from their home. "To all, Corporal Arjun was a guru-ji and a trusted elder brother. "His loss is a cruel one. Torn from us in an unexpected night attack in the heart of his patrol base, we are stunned by the suddenness of his unexpected passing. "I spoke to him shortly after he arrived in Afghanistan, and like all of us, he was apprehensive about what he might face. "He also realised the enormity of the responsibility that he was taking on, leading his section on operations in which his decisions carried far reaching consequences. "But he was not daunted, and he stepped into the breach, immediately earning the respect of his men. "Nothing can describe the pain that his wife, son and daughter are going through. "We share a small part of that pain as we mourn his loss.  "Corporal Arjun, we will cherish your memory." Major Simon Archer RGR, Officer Commanding Gurkha Company (Sittang), The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst said: "Corporal Arjun Purja Pun had been in the Army for over 15 years, had a wealth of experience, was the model soldier and provided an excellent example for the Officer Cadets at Sandhurst. "He was the consummate professional; intelligent, determined, and brave. "He was also a very good leader who knew how to get the best out of his men, especially when the situation demanded it. "More than this though, he will be remembered for his true Gurkha spirit and his ever present smile. "Corporal Arjun lived and died doing the job he loved. "He will be missed by everyone at Sittang Company but none more so than by his wife and family." Captain Prakash Gurung, 2 Platoon Commander, Gurkha Company (Sittang), The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst said: "Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a hardworking, loyal and honest soldier who never ever let me down. "A top rated soldier in the Company, Cpl Arjun was very fond of football. "He displayed all the attributes of a Gurkha soldier who was highly regarded by his superiors and much loved by his peers alike. "He was a fit and capable soldier who always led from the front. "My deepest sympathy goes to the bereaved family at this hour of need." Sergeant Hisbahadur Thapa, 2 Platoon Sergeant, Gurkha Company (Sittang), The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst said: "Cpl Arjun Purja Pun was one of the best and most capable soldiers that I have known. "He mingled well with everyone in the Platoon and Company. "A robust soldier, he always led the platoon from the front, be it in military activities or any championship events being run. "He was at the forefront of every social aspect in the Company. "He will be sorely missed by all. "I send my deepest sympathy to his family and pray to God to give them strength in this hour of need." Sergeant Buddhibahadur Gurung, Recce Platoon Sergeant, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Corporal Arjun Purja Pun is one of the best numberie (same intake) I have ever had in my life. "He was a never complaining, tireless and honest numberie. "He sacrificed his life amongst his friends doing the job he loved the most. "Even though he is not with us his memories will always be. He was self motivated and the best commander amongst us. "He was respected by the juniors and loved by the seniors. "My deepest sympathies go to his wife and two children following this tragedy. "The sacrifice and memories he leaves behind will always make him alive within us. "He will never be forgotten amongst his family, colleagues and everyone that worked with him. "He will always be remembered by all numberies, may his soul find peace in heaven." Corporal Ekbahadur Pun, Section Commander, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a true hero to me, 1 Platoon and all. "He always led from the front and spoke up when he needed to. "He loved his job and was very proud; he was always cheerful and motivated. "He was a very good footballer and enjoyed watching and playing. "He will be strongly missed by me, 1 Platoon and all members of A (Delhi) Company. "Our hearts go to his son, daughter and wife." Corporal Dhanbahadur Dura, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said: "Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a very hardworking individual. "He had a good relationship with junior and senior members of the Battalion. "It took him no time at all to make friends and was a very loyal and honest individual. "He was quick to understand people, listening to them and remaining relaxed. "He loved football and basketball and was excellent at playing both. "My thoughts and prayers go to his wife and children during this terrible time. Jai 1 RGR."


[ Rifleman Remand Kulung ]

Rifleman Remand Kulung, from G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) attached to the Danish Battlegroup, was killed in Afghanistan on 12 August 2010. In the early hours of 10 August 2010 a Chinook helicopter was conducting a resupply at Patrol Base BAHADUR. Part of the helicopter came into contact with the sangar from which Rifleman Remand was carrying out sentry duty. The sangar collapsed and Rifleman Remand sustained serious injuries and was evacuated to Bastion Role 3 hospital before subsequently being moved to the United Kingdom for further treatment. At 1258 hours local on 12 August 2010 Rifleman Remand Kulung died of his injuries in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham with his family present. Rifleman Remand Kulung was 27 years old and from Basaha, Barshedanda, Nepal.

He joined The Royal Gurkha Rifles in December 2004 and joined 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in November 2005 in Folkestone. During his career he has served twice in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010. He moved with G (Tobruk) Company (a Gurkha Reinforcement Company) to 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) in January 2009. Whilst with the Battalion he has served on exercise in Kenya and on operations in Afghanistan. G (Tobruk) Company has been attached to the Danish Battlegroup in the Upper Gereshk Valley in Helmand Province since April 2010. The Company has been providing security to the local population from a series of small patrol bases in order to promote Afghan governance and economic development. Rifleman Remand's platoon has been operating from Patrol Base BAHADUR, north-west of Forward Operating Base KHAR NIKAH.

 

Rfn Kulung's wife, Sophy, paid this tribute to her husband. She said: "My husband, Rfn Remand Kulung, was a kind, brave and very honest soldier. He has always been sincere and devoted towards his responsibilities as a soldier, which Gurkha Soldiers are renowned for. He sacrificed his great life while he was doing his duty. Though it was a great loss that can not be replaced, his passing has left me the reason to be proud of being a wife of a brave soldier like him. "He'll be missed by me and my family forever." Lieutenant Colonel Andy Hadfield, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "Rifleman Remand Kulung was a member of the Royal Gurkha Rifles serving with the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) on operations in Afghanistan. He was a courageous, fit and highly capable soldier, committed to his profession and to his comrades. He had already served in Bosnia and had spent 6 long months in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 7 with his own Regiment. "On his return from that tour he volunteered to serve with the Mercian Regiment, knowing that they were due to come to Afghanistan in 2010, his second tour in Helmand Province. He had passed the highly demanding Junior Leadership Course and was awaiting promotion – it undoubtedly would have come. "A passionate supporter of Manchester United, and a man possessing of a natural and sharp sense of humour, Remand Kulung settled into life with the men of the north-west of England superbly. He had a lively nature, and lifted the morale of those around him, whether Nepali or British. "I will remember him as a Battalion character, one with strength and courage of every kind. He was the epitome of the Gurkha soldier; brave, determined and dedicated to his fellow soldiers. His loss is keenly felt by all in the 1st Battalion, to whom he selflessly gave his all. Our thoughts are with his wife Sophy, and his family and friends." Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battlegroup said: "Rifleman Remand Kulung exemplified everything that is good in a Gurkha. He was a selfless man. Everything he did was for others. I have been struck by the fact that every one of his close friends has told me how he was always there for them with gentle support and a real commitment to help. When others were tired, he was the one who stayed up; when others were struggling, he was the one who stayed with them. He was never angry, and always there with a joke or a light word. "He was passionate about soldiering and was always keen to learn new skills, but he also had a passion for life, and he would take the opportunity to travel to learn more about the world. He shared his wonderful human spirit with all whom he met, but above all he was  devoted to his wife and family, whose grief will be unbearable at this time. Rest in Peace Rifleman Remand, we are immensely proud that you were a Gurkha." Major Nick Aucott, Officer Commanding G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "It is always difficult to come to terms with the death of a soldier and this is especially the case with a soldier like Rifleman Remand ... Remand was a kind, tough, honest soldier. He typified the stoic infantryman that has earned the Gurkhas such a renowned reputation. "But more than the death of a fine soldier, the officers and men of G (Tobruk) Company have lost a wonderful friend. Rifleman Remand had soldiered with us in the difficult conditions of the Upper Gereshk Valley for four months, never uttering a word of complaint, but instead, offering advice or a kind word, teasing and joking with his platoon and fighting bravely against a skilful enemy. "This is how he will be remembered; as a man that simply got on with his job, a man widely admired and respected for his professionalism and character. At the time of his death, Rifleman Remand was based in a small Patrol Base from where he enabled the local population to build better lives for themselves. "His passing will affect us deeply, but our resolve will be hardened to ensure that we honour his efforts alongside us. We have lost a wonderful friend and colleague but our loss is as nothing compared with that of his wife Sophy, and my thoughts and prayers are with her at the most difficult of times." Colour Sergeant Lalit Gurung and all members of 12 Platoon, G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "Rifleman Remand has been a true role model soldier for as long as we have known him. Most importantly he was a true friend to everyone in the Company. His contribution towards our success has made an enormous impression on us all. Now God has torn him apart from us and shattered us. We would like to share this difficult time with his family and would like to pray to God for him to Rest in Peace. We will never forget you brother." Sergeant Dugendra Tamang, G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "Rifleman Remand was like a brother to me; a good friend and a true Gurkha. Hard working, bright, courageous, jovial, fearless and a pleasant character were his hallmarks. I still remember the times spent with him and find quite it difficult to digest the news of his demise. Prior to his leave, he was very glad to meet David Beckham in Camp Bastion. He was full of life and enjoyed every moment to the fullest. "He was also the first person within the Company to find an IED that was subsequently dealt by the Counter-IED Team to make the area safe for both his fellow soldiers and local people. He will truly be missed by everyone. In this sad moment, my deepest condolences go out to his bereaved family and close friends. He will be sorely missed, but will always be remembered and will remain in our hearts forever." Lance Corporal Lal Ghale, 12 Platoon, G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "A few words to Remand. He was a brave soldier that I have worked with for almost 6 years. We were here in Afghanistan together in 2008 with the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles and fought the enemy side by side, and have done so again here with 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment. I can say with full confidence that he has done a fantastic job out here and he has left this world trying to provide security and by taking the fight to the enemy. I am very proud of him and he will always be in my heart. I pray to God to take him to heaven from this battlefield." Rifleman Farendra Gurung, 10 Platoon, G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "My dearest friend Remand. I am very sad to hear of your untimely death. You were the most entertaining person in our platoon and you did the most important job in the platoon by putting yourself at the front of others and protecting us all. You were dearly missed during leave for your character and personality. You always made us laugh and made time fly. We now miss you very much but will remember you always in our hearts and minds. May your soul rest in peace in heaven. Missing you desperately my brother."


[ Rifleman Suraj Gurung ]

Rifleman Suraj Gurung from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 2 October 2010. Rifleman Suraj, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), was killed during a follow-up foot patrol after an attack on his patrol base. He was caught in an explosion when a suicide bomber detonated himself and he was killed in action. He died at the front of his platoon, leading the way as he had done for the previous six months. Rifleman Suraj Gurung was 22 years old and born and raised in the hill town of Gorkha in Nepal. He passed the notoriously gruelling process for Gurkha selection into the British Army in December 2007; becoming the first member of his family to achieve this feat. In early January 2008 he made the journey from the tranquil foothills of the Nepalese Himalaya to Catterick in North Yorkshire as a trainee Rifleman ready to begin the arduous months of Gurkha infantry training. In October 2008 he completed this training and travelled to Brunei to join 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. As a result of his good command of English and his obvious intelligence he was immediately selected to be the Platoon Radio Operator. This position is normally reserved for a senior Rifleman and as such it was testament to the high regard in which he was held so early on in his career. Rifleman Suraj returned to the United Kingdom in August 2009 and was selected as the lead man in his patrol, known as the vallon man, for the upcoming tour to Afghanistan. His ability had again been singled out. He deployed on Op HERRICK 12 in April 2010 and even from the start of the tour he was always confident and calm under pressure. As a soldier he excelled here in Afghanistan. As the point man of every patrol he led his multiple unflinchingly across some of the most daunting and uncertain terrain, day after day, time after time. For six months he had been finding IEDs and selecting safe routes, keeping those following behind safe. Only recently married he leaves behind his wife and family in Nepal.

 

His family said: "Our family is devastated with the news of Suraj's death in Afghanistan on 2 October 2010. He was a very caring son and loving husband. He followed his forefather's footsteps as both his grand father and father served with the British in India: and his father-in-law served in the British Army. "He loved the army and was very proud to be a Gurkha: and died doing a job he loved. His family members are very proud of him." Lieutenant Colonel G M Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was the Vallon man for my Tactical Headquarters Team. Throughout this tour, he led the way through areas of high Improvised Explosive Device risk with fortitude and courage. Never once did he complain or shy away from his duty, despite the fact that his team had suffered a partial detonation of one device and found several others during their time in Afghanistan. "This was his first operational tour. It is telling that when we trawled the battalion for photographs of Suraj, the ones that came forward showed him with his arms around groups of grinning local children. He had a good heart, and was here to help the Afghan people. "He was a very fine Gurkha soldier; tough but compassionate, and always there for others. To all around him he was a source of strength. His ready smile is now gone from us, but his memory remains. We mourn his passing, and share in the grief of his family who have lost a very special man. I am intensely proud to have served with him." Major David Jones, Officer Commanding C (Mogaung) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was killed in action whilst on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province. As he was returning to his base he was caught in the blast of a suicide bomber. "Rifleman Suraj was everything that the man who killed him was not. He was brave, courageous, considerate, compassionate and kind. He truly believed in the job that he was doing and took immense pride in the fact that he was helping people less fortunate than himself every single day. "A cracking soldier, respected by all, he had unflinchingly led his multiple down some of the most daunting alleyways and across some of the most haunting ground, every single day for the last six months. He was one of the very best of his generation and almost certainly destined for promotion. "I personally will remember him for his trademark booming voice cheerfully singing out 'morning sahib' as he passed my office on his way to breakfast each day. Tomorrow there will be no such greeting. Rifleman Suraj was the life and soul of his multiple. "There was nothing that he would not do for anyone. A gentle character, yet incredibly brave, he will be sorely and sadly missed by every single man in the Company. He had an exceptionally bright future, but we should treasure his past, because he made a difference, he contributed, and the world is a better place for him having been in it." Major Khusiman Gurung MVO, Gurkha Major, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "A dark cloud has been cast over us all by the tragic loss of Rifleman Suraj Gurung. His life was taken in a cowardly act whilst he was carrying out an important role for the security and development of Afghanistan. In my view Rifleman Suraj was a true Gurkha soldier with a promising future. "He was utterly loyal and dedicated to his profession; it was a job he loved. He was known for being courageous, selfless and ambitious and he will be remembered as such. He will always remain in our hearts and memories. Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Permila,  and family currently in Nepal." Captain Rupert Anderson, Adjutant, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "In 2007 I was working as part of the Gurkha recruiting and selection team in Pokhara, Nepal. I remember Rifleman Suraj Gurung sitting in front of me, awaiting interview, as a potential recruit hoping to make the grade and be one of the 230 selected to join the British Army. "I cannot remember all of the 17,349 potential recruits that year but Rifleman Suraj Gurung stood out from the moment he appeared. When I returned to regimental duty in the 1st Battalion it was no surprise to discover that he had gone on to become an outstanding Gurkha soldier forging his own path by leading from the front. "His dedication to his wife, family and friends was evident from his nocturnal internet usage here in Afghanistan. My walk back to the accommodation from the office late each night will not be the same without his enthusiastic 'goodnight sahib' booming out from the internet room here in the patrol base. "Rifleman Suraj grew up in the very place from which our Regimental history began almost 200 years ago. He now enters that history and we shall remember him as a Gurkha who truly upheld the traditions of courage, pride and loyalty." Captain Rambahadur Pun, Company Second in Command, C (Mogaung) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "C Company has lost one of its finest soldiers. Rifleman Suraj Gurung was an outstanding member of this Company. He was bright, proactive, energetic and compassionate. "I have been entirely impressed by Rifleman Suraj Gurung since the day he joined the Company. Within a few months his Platoon Commander had identified him as a candidate for a Direct Entry commission. That is how good he was. Like every member of the Company, I am stunned by his unexpected passing. "Our pain, however, is nothing compared to what his wife, Permila, and his family are going through. He will be sorely missed by all members of C Company but his memory will always remain. May god give strength to his wife and his family during these tragic days." Captain Shureshkumar Thapa, 7 Platoon Commander, C (Mogaung) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles,  Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South wrote on behalf on his Platoon: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was one of the best soldiers within C Company. Although he was in a different platoon his work and talents were well known about and acknowledged by everybody in 7 Platoon. "He was a distinguished character and stood out from the crowd immediately. On operations he was working as a vallon man and leading the patrol. Everybody trusted his judgement and skill. "Rifleman Suraj was a loyal, happy and well disciplined man. He served with a positive attitude and all members of the Company are struck with the grief at his passing. "May God bless his family, especially his wife back in Nepal, with the power to escape from this sorrow. May his soul rest in peace. Suraj, we will remember you with all of our hearts." Warrant Officer Class 1 Kushalkumar Gurung, Regimental Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was utterly professional and through being so he was well known across the battalion. He was very intelligent and this resulted in his potential being clearly visible to the chain of command. "We are deeply saddened by his tragic death and he will be greatly missed by us all. We offer our condolences in this difficult hour to his wife and family. We pray for the peace of the departed soul." Warrant Officer Class 2 Lalitbahadur Gurung, Company Sergeant Major, C (Mogaung) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was one of the best vallon men and radio operators in the Company. He was naturally active and would always volunteer himself for every event either in the barracks or on operations. We have been devastated by the news that he was killed. "He will be missed by all of the company personnel, his soldiering skills, personality and enthusiasm are irreplaceable. He will be always remembered and my deepest condolences go to his family and wife during this tragic time." Corporal Padambahadur Pun and Corporal Bharatkumar Pun, his Section Commanders, C (Mogaung) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was the most active soldier in 9 Platoon. He was always a volunteer proving to be a highly motivated soldier. During Pre-Deployment Training and on operations he demonstrated that his basic skills and drills were of the highest of standards. "Under the direction of the multiple commander he has led the team expertly over the past six months. Rifleman Suraj was a cheerful and friendly soldier and was highly regarded among his friends and commanders. He was an optimistic soldier who was always ready to tackle any problem. "He was a true infantryman. We express our deep sympathy and condolences to his wife and family following this untimely tragedy. He will always remain in our hearts and minds." His close friends Rifleman Asham Thapa and Rifleman Santosh Gurung, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "Rifleman Suraj Gurung was frank and friendly to all of us; he never hesitated to talk to his senior gurujis and was always a very honest and hard working person. He was a brave soldier, always wanting to lead the multiple from the front and loved the responsibility of being the vallon man, the job he was doing when he died. "He would always help and mentor those junior to him and provide advice to his commanders. He was a very good shot, competing at Bisley in the annual shooting competition for the Battalion. He could often be found messaging his wife on the internet, picking up the nickname 'netboy'. "He will be sorely missed by all those in C Company, particularly his namberies, he will always be remembered in our hearts and he his actions throughout this tour have made us proud. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife and family at this time." His friends Rifleman Subash Gurung, Rifleman Pradeep Gurung and Rifleman Naresh Rai, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said: "We were shocked by the death of our namberie Suraj Gurung. He was a very helpful, talkative and cheerful person. He was a well known member of our intake and a good professional soldier within the Battalion. "He always supported his colleagues, ensuring he was in a position to help. May God give strength to his family to fight through this tragedy. He was a good namberie and he always will be. May his soul rest in heaven."