Great Western Railway (GWR) names a train in honour of Tulbahadur Pun, one of only 13 Gurkha soldiers to have received the Victoria Cross. Pun’s son Arjun and daughter Megh Kumari will be joined at London Paddington by guests including actress Joanna Lumley OBE, whose father Major James Rutherford Lumley was Pun’s commanding officer during the Second World War.
Pun was 21 and serving as a Rifleman in the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles when his heroism at Mogaung, Burma, led to him receiving the highest honour for gallantry awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Having seen several members of his platoon killed during an attack on a railway bridge on the 23rd June 1944, Pun continued the charge alone, killing three enemy soldiers and forcing five more to flee.
He then gave accurate supporting fire, enabling the rest of his platoon to reach the bridge. Later rising to the rank of Honorary Lieutenant, Pun was awarded 10 other medals including the Burma Star. GWR set out to mark last year’s 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two by naming seven of its Intercity Express Trains after remarkable people involved in the conflict.
Joanna Lumley, who is Vice Patron of The Gurkha Welfare Trust, said: “I shall never forget the moment I met Lachhiman Gurung and Tulbahadur 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.”
Gurkha Welfare Trust CEO Al Howard said: “The Gurkha Welfare Trust is honoured that Great Western Railway is naming one of its Intercity Express Trains after Tulbahadur Pun VC.
“Having served in the same regiment, I had the great honour of meeting him once. I am grateful that Great Western Railway is remembering Tul’s bravery with such a fitting tribute. We should never forget the sacrifices, loyalty and immense bravery the Gurkhas have given to protect our freedom for over 200 years.”
GWR Human Resources Director Ruth Busby said: “We are honoured to be naming one of our Intercity Express Trains after Tulbahadur Pun VC, who displayed such commendable bravery in the Battle of Mogaung in 1944.
“We at Great Western Railway have a long history of naming trains after Great Westerners, the past and present heroes from across our network.
“It is right that we honour some of those heroes of the war effort, remembering the sacrifice, bravery and tenacity that later generations owe so much to.”