Saturday, March 26, 2011

So you think you've got it hard??

Three things struck me yesterday as I read in the news of the award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal to Sergeant Dip Pun of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles...

It goes without saying that one of the things is the quite simply phenomenal bravery of the action for which he was awarded the medal. He was in a small outpost of just four troops when they were attacked by three times their number.. the Army web site being what it is, it's quite understated but other press sites indicate that he fired over 400 rounds before finally resorting to having to defend himself with the tripod of his machine gun....

The second thing that struck me about it, was the utter timelessness of this small action - over hundreds of years the British army must have thought many hundreds if not thousands of these kinds of engagements... my limited reading on the 1st and 2nd Afghan Wars back that up, my slightly deeper reading into the Sudan campaigns also back it up... what I'm trying to say is that despite the increasing inventiveness of the weapons systems (and this week we learned about the Brimestone air fired anti-tank missile) it has always been (and I suspect always will be), the bravery of the man on the spot who holds the ground... usually face to face, and often with the most basic of weapons... very humbling...

The third thing that struck me was the fact that the Sergeant was a Gurkha - the embodiment of a historical time line that stretches back to the time of Waterloo. The British never beat the Gurkha's - at the end of the Gurkha War (1814-1816) which ended in a draw we simply suggested that they might want to become a British protectorate - happily they agreed (Free Happy Smileys), and have provided supremely brave fighting men to the British Army ever since - first to the East India Company, then the Indian Army, and then the British Army... long may it continue..

“If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.” (Former Chief of staff of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw)

Full story here: http://www.army.mod.uk/news/23796.aspx

7 comments:

  1. 400 rounds and 17 grenades. Conspicuous bravery doesn't quite cover it does it? Watching interviews yesterday with several of those receiving awards it amazed me how humble they were. Our thanks to them all.

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  2. Great post, makes you proud to be British.

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  3. Dear Sir,
    A sincere " thank you!" to that gallant soldier. Does the British Army still award Victoria Crosses?

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  4. That's Victoria Cross stuff.

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  5. Derring do appears to be a commonplace to Johnny Ghurka.

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