Rifleman Manishdeep Thapa
You were an inspiration to us all. We will never forget you and our thoughts will always be with you.’ (Fellow Vehicle Mechanic -Cpl Indrobahadur Saru)
In Rifleman Manishdeep Thapa the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles has lost a true friend, a supportive colleague, and a highly valued member of the Gurkha family. He was a bright and proud Gurkha soldier with the prospect of a full career ahead of him. He will be sorely missed by us all. Rifleman Vanish fought hard for survival after a tragic accident in Brunei on 10 December 2007, which left him very badly burned. He was moved from Brunei to a specialist ward in Singapore where he underwent life-saving surgery.
Characteristically, he defied the odds – a man less strong, fit and determined would have relented sooner. In the end, it became apparent that he had been mortally injured and he passed away on 16 December 2007. His example humbled us all across the Brigade of Gurkhas, but especially those of us in Sothern Afghanistan and Brunei.
Born in Thute Pipal in Bhairahawa, western Nepal, Rifleman Vanish passed Gurkha Selection in 1998. A demanding 9 months of infantry training in Church Crookham followed before joining the ranks of the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles. He spent his initial years in B Coy where he cut his teeth as an infantry soldier in the jungles of Kenya, Brunei and on operations in Sierra Leone – he made a fine infantryman. After 3 years in the Battalion, his practical abilities and technical intellect saw him recommended for transfer to the trade of Vehicle Mechanic. He grasped this opportunity, spending a year on a technical course and then settling in quickly to his new role in the workshops. It was not long before he excelled in his new trade, conducting day-to-day repairs on the Battalions vehicle fleet. Characterized by his kindness, personal motivation and professionalism, he later began mentoring those less experienced them himself.
He went on to successfully support the Battalion on Operations in Bosnia and Kosovo before returning to Brunei. Our loss is of nothing compared to that of his loving wife, his parents and his sister – our thoughts and prayers are with them over this difficult time. They remain a part of our family and they can be assured of our unswerving support. Rifleman Vanish had many close friends and respectful colleagues, Officers and Other Ranks alike. He will not be forgotten and we will honour his memory with our continuing work in Brunei and Afghanistan.
Parbate December 2007