Marking 75 years since the end of World War 2, when hostilities in the Far East ceased, Great Western Railway (GWR) is to honour Gurkha VC hero Tul Bahadur Pun by naming one of their Intercity Express Trains after him.
Tul Bahadur Pun was just 21 years old and serving as a rifleman in the 3rd Battalion, the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the Indian Army when his bravery and courage earned him the Victoria Cross.
In 1944 on the 23 June while serving in Burma, most of his platoon were wiped out while attacking a railway bridge. Tul Bahadur Pun charged the enemy position armed with a Bren Gun and single handed sent the enemy fleeing and held the position while the attack continued.
He is one of just 13 Gurkhas to receive the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour. His citation read: “His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and beyond praise.”
In later life he became a figurehead in the campaign, led by Joanna Lumley, for the right of ex-Gurkha soldiers to be able to settle in the UK.
GWR head of external communications Dan Panes said: “This year we wanted to mark 75 years since the end of World War 2 in a special way. We have already honoured Odette Hallowes, the most highly decorated spy of the war, and later this year we will continue to mark this important anniversary with a series of naming ceremonies.
“We are really pleased that we can honour Tul Bahadur Pun in this way.”
Adam Bentham of the Gurkha Welfare Trust said: “Gurkha troops played a key role in the Eastern theatres of war and an incredible seven Victoria Crosses were awarded to Gurkha soldier in Burma alone. Tul was one of those men. Our country owes the Gurkhas a huge debt of honour and seeing Tul’s bravery remembered like this is a fitting tribute.”
Joanna Lumley OBE, Vice Patron of The Gurkha Welfare Trust has stated:
“I shall never forget the moment I met Lachhiman Gurung and Tul Bahadur Pun, who fought so bravely as Chindits with my father in Burma. I believe we all owe brave veterans like this an immense debt of gratitude – for going above and beyond the call of duty to protect our freedom.
“That is why The Gurkha Welfare Trust will always be a charity immensely close to my heart, allowing me, allowing us all, the chance to give something back, and to help these brave men and their widows live in the dignity they so richly deserve.”