Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Medals awarded to fallen Gurkha soldiers

In a moving ceremony, the family of two Gurkha soldiers killed in Afghanistan have received bravery medals awarded to their lost loved ones.

One was killed by a suicide bomber, and the other died as a result of another explosion.

The handing over of the awards this week happened as the rest of Foxtrot Company of the Royal Gurkha Rifles received their Operational Service Medals following their recent deployment in Afghanistan.

Around 80 members of the company, which is made up of soldiers from the 1st and 2nd Battalions received their medals at a ceremony at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone.

The families of those that died were given Elizabeth Crosses and accompanying scrolls.

These were presented to the relatives of two of the comrades who died in the conflict.

They were Colour Sergeant Krishna Dura, 36, who was killed in an explosion in November last year, and Corporal Kumar Pun, who was part of Foxtrot Company and who was killed in May by a suicide bomber.

The MoD said the 31-year-old died during a patrol in Gereshk, Helmand Province in an attack which also claimed the life of a Royal Military police sergeant.

Krishna Dura The MoD said the Nepal-born soldier was the son of a British Gurkha, so was always destined to try for selection to join one of the most feared Regiments in the world, and in 1996 passed the gruelling selection for the British Army.

He was posted to Church Crookham as a Rifleman in A (Delhi) Company the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, with whom he served in Malaysia, Kenya, Oman, Belize, Kosovo, Brunei and Bosnia. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan.

He was Second-in-Command of a Multiple in Afghanistan, delivering vital training and mentoring to the Afghan National Police.

Colour Sergeant Dura was a Nepalese Gurkha with 16 years of military experience who died after his patrol came under a bomb attack. He was in a Warrior armoured vehicle at the time in the Musa Qala District of Helmand Province.

He came from the Lamjung district of western Nepal and enlisted into the British Army in 1992. He trained in Hong Kong and went on to serve with the 7th Gurkha Rifles in Church Crookham in the UK.

He had previously served in Bosnia Herzegovina, East Timor and Sierra Leone and was on his third tour of Afghanistan at the time of his death. He had recently been promoted and was leading a sniper platoon.

His commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby said: "Colour Sergeant Krishna was an exceptional soldier, a gifted leader."

The medals were presented by Major General Lamont Kirkland CBE, watched by friends and family of the regiment and fellow serving Gurkhas and the Queen's Truncheon, which is the equivalent to the regimental colours, was paraded.

Foxtrot Company returned from Afghanistan two weeks ago where they had been engaged in helping to mentor the Afghan National Police.

Major Chris Conroy, Officer Commanding Foxtrot Company, said: "It was a tough but rewarding deployment in which tragically our colleague Corporal Kumar Pun was killed, but the boys did an outstanding job out there under very difficult circumstances and can be justly proud of themselves today.

"We feel we have made a difference and there has been a genuine and marked improvement in the Afghan National Police."

Posted on:November 14, 2009, 9:54 pm

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