Mourners Turn Out In Hundreds For Funeral of Lachiman Gurung VC

Relations, friends, old comrades and members Nepalese community present at Buddhist service

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Havildar Lachhiman Gurung VC

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More than 1000 mourners attended the funeral of Lachiman Gurung VC on Wednesday 22nd December.

The Deputy Lieutenant, Robert Leader, the Mayor, Councillor Ellar and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Sharma, greeted Mrs Mana Maya Gurung, (widow), Resham Lal Gurung and Krishna Bahadur Gurung (sons) and Amrita and Chitra Gurung, grandchildren of Lachiman Gurung VC on their arrival and later welcomed the Nepalese Ambassador, Dr. Chalise: Field Sir John Chapple GCB CBE DL; Lieutenant Sir Peter Duffel KCB CBE MC; Brigadier JC Lawrence MBE; Brigadier J A Anderson; Colonel DG Hayes CBE and other dignitaries.

Relations, friends, old comrades and members of the Gurkha / Nepalese community were present at the Bhuddhist funeral service conducted by Lama Pemba and Dil Gurung.

Mrs Mana Maya Gurung and her sons lit the candle and Last Post was played by a bugler from 1RGR, followed by two minutes silence and Reveille.

Speeches were then made by the Mayor; the Ambassador; Colonel Hayes; Resham Lal Gurung and Mr Padam Bahadur Gurung.

Floral tributes were placed by the coffin by members of the family, military and civil representatives, members of community organisations, old comrades and friends. The departure of the coffin was saluted by the standards of the Royal British Legion branches and other ex-service organisations from the Borough.

Councillor Lynch, of Chiswick Royal British Legion, thanked all those who helped on behalf of the family, and was presented by Major Hemchandra Rai with an engraved kukri, given by the family to the Borough in commemoration of Lachiman Gurung VC.

The family then departed for a private burial in Chiswick New Cemetery.

Announcing his death, Chairman of Chiswick Branch of the Royal British Legion Councillor Paul Lynch said, "Havildar Lachhiman Gurung VC passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, aged 92. During an extensive set of engagements on on 11th November, Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph, the opening of the Chiswick War Memorial Homes, and the inauguration of the new gallery of VCs at the Imperial War Museum he seems to have caught cold, which later developed into pneumonia. His last public appearance was at the Feltham War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

"His VC was awarded for an extraordinary action on Nay 12th 1945 in Burma. Occupying his unit's most exposed position; he continued to fire his rifle at the enemy for two and a half days, repelling repeated attacks, despite having lost his right hand and eye to a grenade explosion. His comrades could hear him shouting "Come and fight a Gurkha!" His bravery saved the position and very many lives. Thirty-one of the enemy were later found dead in front of his trench.

"He came to live in England in 2008, and was formally welcomed to the Borough of Hounslow in a ceremony by the Mayor and Council. He later became a Freeman of the Borough of Hounslow in 2009 at the ceremony conferring the Freedom of the Borough on the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He attended many functions of the Nepalese Community in Hounslow and elsewhere, and was honorary vice-President of the Chiswick Branch of the Royal British Legion.

"He was a kindly man, cheerful despite the difficulties caused by his wounds. He had a twinkle in his eye and enjoyed the jokes and banter that make Nepalese conversation so lively. He helped with fund-raising for the Royal British Legion, for Help the Heroes and other military charities. He leaves a widow, Manmaya and five children."

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Lachimann Gurung exemplified the bravery of the Gurkhas. He came to London late in life and in the few years he was here he contributed enormously to civic life in Chiswick and the London Borough of Houslow. London and Londoners are immensely proud that he chose our city to be his home and he will not be forgotten."

December 23, 2010