Almost 76 years ago, in the midst of World War Two, Lalbahadur Pun signed up to become a Gurkha.
A brave veteran
According to military records, Rifleman Lalbahadur Pun is 96 years old. In truth, he’s actually 92. As was common in the Second World War, Lal’s age was falsified so that he could sign up to become a Gurkha early. He was only 15 when he first joined the British Army in late 1941, following in his father’s footsteps.
After completing his training and being assigned to the 6th Gurkha Rifles, Lal was sent to fight in Burma. His memory of the war is remarkably detailed:
“The first time we were in the jungle we were scared but also excited. We knew that if our forefathers had lived well, we would not be killed.
“On one patrol, we saw some Japanese trucks by the river. We launched an attack and destroyed them all. Three of our unit received the Military Cross for that action.
“Usually when we attacked there would be an airstrike followed by artillery. It was like watching thunder and lightning. Then we would advance. The terrain was very difficult – hard to move and hard to see the enemy.”