Friday, 25 May 2007

Gurkha with Victoria Cross is denied entry to the UK

The man in the picture above is one of this country's greatest living Heroes. This is from the Daily Mail: (Hat Tip: Iain Dale)


Tul Bahadur Pun's extraordinary act of valour while fighting the Japanese during World War Two even won him royal admirers. He was invited to the Queen's Coronation and had tea with the Queen Mother. Yet despite his illustrious service record, when the ailing 84-year-old former Gurkha soldier applied for permission to live in Britain he was refused by government officials. Amazingly, British officials in Nepal told the wizened old warrior who put his life on the line for King and country: "You have failed to demonstrate that you have strong ties with the UK." Explaining his reasons for the application, he said: "I take a substantial amount of medication daily, without which I would die. There is not always a constant supply. When it runs out I feel vulnerable. "There are no doctors or nurses, no medical outposts. I wish to settle in the UK to have better access to medication, care and support from doctors and nurses." The old soldier has to travel from his remote home to the Gurkha camp at Pokhara once a month to collect his pension - which pays for his medication. It involves a day's walk - and as he is unable to walk that far, he has to be carried in a basket by several men. Mr Pun's act of heroism in Burma which earned him the VC has gone down in military history. On 23 June 1944 almost all his comrades were wiped out by heavy enemy fire. He seized a Bren Gun and, firing from the hip while running through ankle deep mud, he ignored Japanese fire to single handedly storm enemy machine gun positions. His official 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."

I wish I could apologise to Mr Pun for the disgraceful behaviour of the country he fought for.

The Ministry of Defence is to pay ex-Gurkhas the same pensions as British soldiers. Ex-Gurkhas Currently receive just a sixth of the average army pension (£984 a year) and many ex-Gurkhas say they are left destitute. The new pension deal will not apply to Nepalese soldiers who retired before July 1997, leaving many disappointed.

Padam Bahadur Gurung, President of the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen's Organisation, said: "This is good news for serving Gurkhas, but not for the Gurkhas who fought in the Second World War and the Falklands."There are currently about 3,500 Gurkhas serving in the Army and close to 20,000 former soldiers living in Britain and Nepal."

Read the full story HERE
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2 comments:

james higham said...

If this is for real and not just an administrative error, then it is one of the most nauseating things I've seen in an age of nauseating government decisions. If some young floozy at the office made this decision, she should be hauled over the coals. Who actually did the refusing?

Raedwald said...

Disgraceful.

The holder of a VC is entitled to a salute from even serving officers of the highest rank; it is an honour that rightly carries the very highest distinction. Sadly, what constitutes a 'hero' in modern Britain has become distorted. More Britons would recognise Jade Goody than a VC. The numpty clerk at the Home Office probably even has only a hazy idea of what WWII was (when the US beat Hitler, innit?) an no idea of the savagery of the war in south east Asia at all.

I for one would be signally honoured to sponsor this man's entry into the UK. I shall be making this offer through the appropriate channels.