This week I had a very special, once in a lifetime, opportunity to interview the last surviving Victoria Cross holder of the Brigade of Gurkhas, Captain Rambahadur Limbu VC MVO*.
We were given a warm welcome from Rambahadur’s lovely family, and his granddaughters sat spellbound listening to his childhood stories while we recorded him for over three hours. Umesh and I have recorded over twenty interviews during the last nine months but I’ve never seen Umesh react with such joy as I did this week!
I’ll be editing Captain Rambahadur Limbu’s interview for the forthcoming Gurkha Stories book to be published later this year. (Previews from the veterans’ stories can be read on our website at www.gurkhastories.com)
My colleague at Gurkha Stories, Captain Umesh Pun MVO, had a special surprise for Rambahadur – he presented the veteran with the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal (PJM)**
Rambahadur is visiting the UK from Nepal as he was invited to participate in the amazing Gurkha200 Pageant last week at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, hosted by the Gurkha Welfare Trust. He returned to Nepal the day after we met him.
Gurkhas are entitled to receive the PJM medal, awarded by the Malaysian government, but not all veterans know about this or have applied for this medal. If you know of any veterans who are entitled to apply please spread the word.
* Captain Rambahadur Limbu VC MVO is a Nepalese Gurkha recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Rambahadur won his VC as a Lance Corporal in 1965 for his brave actions during the Borneo confrontation under enemy fire.
**The Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) (English: Malaysian Service Medal) is a medal given by the King and Government of Malaysia. Established 3 March 2004, the medal recognizes service by members of the Malaysian Armed Forces during the Malayan Emergency, Second Malayan Emergency, and the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. The medal was also offered for award to members of the Commonwealth forces from Australia, Fiji, India, Nepal, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom who served in Malaysia during the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. The award is in recognition of “distinguished chivalry, gallantry, sacrifice, or loyalty” in contributing to the freedom of independence of Malaysia. The medal can be conferred and accepted posthumously by next of kin.