Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Corporal Kumar Pun

9th May 2009

Corporal Kumar Pun 1 RGR

Corporal Kumar Pun of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (attached to Foxtrot Company, 2 RGR) and Sergeant Ben Ross of 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police were killed as a result of a suicide improvised explosive device during a patrol in Gereshk, Helmand province.

Corporal Kumar Pun was born on 30 November 1977 in the Parbat district of western Nepal. The son of a British Gurkha, he was always destined to try to join the Brigade of Gurkhas and, after much effort, in 1996 he passed the gruelling selection. Following the successful completion of recruit training he was posted to Church Crookham as a Rifleman in A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. In A Company he deployed on overseas exercises in Malaysia, Kenya, Oman and Belize, and on operations in Kosovo and Bosnia.
This was his first deployment to Afghanistan. In his last posting before deployment, he was a section commander in the Jungle Warfare Wing in Brunei. He was an excellent jungle soldier with unique skills that he passed on to the course students in his own humorous manner. As Second-in-Command of a Multiple in Afghanistan he had considerable responsibility, both for the administration of the fifteen-man team but also tactically, leading men in a most complex and dangerous operational environment. He was a highly valued member of a team that had the critical task of training and mentoring the Afghan National Police. He consistently proved himself to be a competent commander and mentor and through his own quiet and reassuring style became very successful at teaching the police. His calm and patient teaching combined with his expert knowledge left a mark on many of the policemen he mentored. The work he conducted without doubt has enabled the police in Gereshk to become more professional and in time more respected by the Afghan civilians.
Corporal Kumar was a first-class soldier who loved soldiering and embraced the challenges it posed. He was a very intelligent and capable individual who spoke a number of languages including English, Hindi, his native Nepali and tribal dialects. He was highly regarded and respected by all, a polite and quiet character who was a pleasure to be around. He was a good athlete and a fierce competitor on the sports field. His service to his battalion was characterised by the highest level of professionalism, loyalty and dedication.
He leaves behind his wife Parbati and two daughters, Klaudine and Petrina, who live in Dover, his parents, Dhanbahadur and Sukmaya Pun, a younger brother Santosh, and a younger sister Bindu.

Major Chris Conroy, Officer Commanding Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:
“Corporal Kumar was a man of unique character and virtue. As a soldier he was unstintingly professional, calm and respectful of all, never failing to help and always willing to volunteer. A man of considerable experience he was the guide and mentor to many an Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer, his advice always considered, well-delivered and polite. As a father and husband he took great pride in his family and children and I know they were always at the front of his thoughts.

“Corporal Kumar was a key member of the company and the space left by his departure will be hard to fill. On operations in Afghanistan he was steadfast, brave and a true leader. He looked after his soldiers as if they were his own, caring for them and watching over their every move. He died doing the job he loved with his friends at his side and he will be greatly missed by all.”The company’s thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times.”

Captain Pratapsing Rai, Second-in-Command of Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:
“Corporal Kumar was one of the best Junior Non-Commissioned Officers with a good sense of humour, well-disciplined and a unique Gurkha soldier in the company. He had great experience with an effective command style and was a key member of his multiple.”

Lieutenant Aloysius Connolly, Platoon Commander, Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:
“Corporal Kumar was a fantastic Non-Commissioned Officer. He was hardworking, loyal and supportive of his soldiers and commanders alike. He was greatly respected by all and the boys looked to him for support and guidance. He was an extremely fit and robust character, a great footballer and a fierce competitor. He had a quiet and mischievous sense of humour and I will deeply miss him and the support he so willingly offered.”
Warrant Officer Class 2 Chabindra Limbu, Company Sergeant Major, Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:
“The loss of Corporal Kumar Pun has cast a dark shadow over Foxtrot Company and the Brigade of Gurkhas. He was a huge character who had a reputation for hard work and professionalism. He was a brave Gurkha soldier who loved his job, his friends and family. He was very loving, never judged anyone and was always very supportive, nothing was ever too much trouble for him.”
Friend and comrade Lance Corporal Mankumar Rai said:
“The 7th of May was the worst day of my life. It was hot and we were patrolling in the town for two hours. I heard a big sound in the middle of the patrol. I checked on my radio but Kumar was not there. Corporal Kumar was my best friend and comrade. He was always very good and helpful.”
Commenting on the loss of Sergeant Benjamin Ross and Corporal Kumar Pun, Defence Secretary John Hutton said:
“Corporal Kumar Pun and Sergeant Benjamin Ross died at the spearhead of operations fundamental to the UK’s mission in Afghanistan. These dedicated, professional and fiercely brave men lost their lives passing on their professionalism and skills to the Afghan National Security Forces. This is an immense loss to the families of Corporal Pun and Sergeant Ross, and a blow to the country.

“My thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of Corporal Pun and Sergeant Ross, on what was a challenging day for British Forces.”

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