Subadar Lal Bahadur Thapa VC, 1st Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles, 1943 (c)
Photograph, World War Two, 1943.
Subadar Lal Bahadur Thapa was awarded his VC for an action on the night of 5-6 April 1943 when he led two sections of 'D' Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Gurka Rifles, in an attack on the position in Resse-es-Zouai near Wadi Arakit in Tunisia. The capture of this position was vital to the company's advance and could only be achieved by an advance up a narrow gully that could be swept with fire from a series of enemy machine gun positions. 'The London Gazette' of June 1943 described the action thus:
'The garrisons of the outer posts were all killed by Subadar Lal Bahadur Thapa and his men by kukri or bayonet in the first rush and the enemy then opened very heavy fire straight down the narrow enclosed pathway and steep arena sides. Subadar Lal Bahadur Thapa led his men on and fought his way up the narrow gully straight through the enemy's fire, with little room for manoeuvre, in the face of intense and sustained machine gun concentrations and the liberal use of grenades by the enemy.
Next the machine-gun posts were dealt with, Subadar Lal Bahadur Thapa personally killing two men with his kurki and two with his revolver. This Gurkha officer continued to fight his way up the narrow bullet-swept approaches to the crest. He and two riflemen managed to reach the crest, where Subadar Lal Bahhadur Thapa then secured the whole feature and covered his company's advance up the defile.'
From a collection of 52 photographs collected by Lieutenant-Colonel J A C Greenwood, 4th Indian Division.
NAM Accession Number
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National Army Museum, Study collection
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