Interview with Hon.LT.Tul Bahadur Pun VC
War Memorial Homes
2nd December 2010
Where were you born?
Pun VC: I was born in Western part of Nepal called Banduk.
Why did you become a Gurkha?
Pun VC: I became a Gurkha because at that time I heard that if I became a Gurkha then I could visit many places, can wear many new clothes and can earn lots of money.But I didn’t hear that I should have to go to fight in the war.
Can you remember how you felt when you were told that you would be accepted into Gurkha Regiments?
Pun VC: At that time I felt very very happy when I was told that I would be accepted into Gurkha Regiments.
How did you feel when you first arrived in Britain?
Pun VC: I felt very happy and felt proud myself when I first time arrived in Britain because at that time people were very honest and nice and places were also very beautiful, clean and quiet.
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you found out about the outbreak of world war2?
Pun VC: I couldn’t remember where and what I was doing at that time.I didn’t know that there was going to happen a second world war.But after I joined in the army I was preparing and doing lots of activities needed for the war.
How did you feel when you were told you were going to fight the Japanese in Burma?
Pun VC: Honestly,I felt happy when I was told that I was going to fight the Japanese in Burma.Because I was a very brave and strong person at that time.I never felt afraid with anyone.I always thought that how to get Victoria over the enemy and I was also impressed by one of the motto that is better to die than to be a coward.
What were the Japanese like as soldiers?
Pun VC: The Japanese were also like very energetic and strong as soldiers.
Can you tell us the full story of how you won the Victoria cross?
Pun VC: In 2nd world war in Burma, iwas seized the Bren gun, and firing from the hip as he went, continued the charge on this heavily bunkered position alone, in the face of the most shattering concentration of automatic fire, directed straight at me. With the dawn coming up behind me, i presented a perfect target to the Japanese. I had to move for thirty yards over open ground, ankle deep in mud, though Shell holes and over fallen trees. Despite these overwhelming odds, I reached the Red House and closed with the Japanese occupants. I killed more then three Japanese and put five more to right and captured tow light machine-guns and much ammunition. Then I gave accurate supporting fire from the bunker to the remainder of my platoon which enabled them to reach our objective….
Was there a ceremony for you when you were awarded the Victoria cross?
Pun VC: Yes,there was big ceremony for me when I was awarded the Victoria cross.I was awarded the Victoria cross in Delhi.
How did you feel when you were told you were awarded the Victoria cross?
Pun VC: I felt very very happy and felt very proud myselves when I was told about this and I thought that I did a great job in the War.
What else do you remember from the war?
Pun VC: At the moment,due to my old age I have forgotten a lots of things about my past.But I can remember that I fought with the James Lumley who is the father of Joanna Lumley in the war against the Japanese and I still remembered that I saved his life by taking him in a safe place when he was got injured from the enemy.
Can you tells us what is means to be Gurkha?
Pun VC: Gurkha means a strong and faithful soldiers.It is a name given to those people who served in the Britain and India.Gurkha is known as a Brave soldiers.
Can you tell us about the khukuri knife?
Pun VC: Khukuri is one of our national knife which is also called Gurkha knife and also it is a symbol of Gurkha soldiers.Every Nepalese people have khukuri in their homes.It is common weapon for us.We use it in different purposes like cutting vegetables,woods,decorations and other safety purposes.We learnt to use khukuri from our young age.
How did the white British soldiers treat you before,during and after the war?
Pun VC: Before the war we weren’t in same palton.British soldiers and Gurkhas were in different palton.But our commander was British.During the war we were sent together to fight with the enemy.At that time they treated us not so nicely.They used to give us a order and we should have to follow that.But after the war they treated us nicely then before and during the war because they won the war because of us.
Can you tell us how your life changed after the world war 2 and after wining the Victoria Cross?
Pun VC: I was a very simple and motivated person.So, there were not so much change in my life after the world war 2 and wining the Victoria cross.But after wining the Victoria cross, I was known as one of the Victoria cross holder and also one of the bravest man in the world who fought in the second world war.My name was very popular and also I got chance to meet with popular people after I won the Victoria cross.
Did you participate in any other military activities after the world war ll ?
Pun VC: After the 2nd world war I didn’t participate in any other military activities But I gave training to the new soldiers in my palton for some years.After this I was retired.
When did you retire from the British army?
Pun VC: I was retired in 1959 from the British army.
Sacha Previn Kumar