Joanna Lumley recounts extraordinary bravery of Gurkha Tul Bahadur Pun VC being honoured again

Joanna Lumley recounted the extraordinary bravery of a Gurkha given the highest award for gallantry as he was honoured again on Wednesday.

Tul Bahadur Pun VC led a charge on an enemy position in Mogaung in Burma on June 23rd 1944, "in the face of a hauling onslaught from the enemy - people dead and dying around him," Joanna Lumley said.

Pun saw members of his platoon killed and continued the charge alone, killing three enemy soldiers and forcing five more to flee. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and today Great Western Railway named a train in his honour.

Tul Bahadur Pun Credit: Gurkha Welfare Trust

"He never stopped, he shot and shot and fired he took three of the enemy. He captured their guns he was just extraordinarily brave and modest about it. And for that he was quite rightly given the VC [Victoria Cross]," Joanna Lumley said.

"This train Great Western Railway have decided to name in his honour and it's quite wonderful for the Gurkha Welfare Trust, for the The Brigade of Gurkhas and for our relationship with Nepal," Ms Lumley added.

GWR marked last year's 75th anniversary of the end of WWII by naming seven of its Intercity Express Trains after remarkable people involved in the conflict. Highly-decorated spy Odette Hallowes, D-Day veteran Harry Billinge MBE and 'Cockleshell Hero' Cpl George Sheard were added to its list of #greatwesterners before the Covid-19 pandemic prevented any further ceremonies from taking place. Now GWR has honoured Tul Bahadur Pun VC, who passed away in 2011 but whose name will go down in history as one of only 13 Gurkhas to have received the Victoria Cross.

Joanna Lumley added: "When I asked him about what happened on the awful day at Mogaung, the storming of the Red House - my father was there as well. Mr Pun VC said it had to be done - I picked up my gun and ran then when I was tired I sat down for a bit - but he was reluctant to talk about it. He would have been very amused by today, but I think he must have been extremely proud."

Joanna Lumley's father served in the Gurkhas and fronted a campaign in 2008 to provide Gurkha veterans who served in the British Army before 1997 the right to settle in the UK.

"At this awful time for the entire world with the pandemic we have written to the Prime Minister particularly for our special relationship with Nepal," she said.

"It's not a Commonwealth country and yet Nepalese soldiers - the Gurkhas - have been fighting for our country for over 200 years - valiantly, bravely, brilliant beyond belief and inspiring in every way.

"Nepal is a terribly difficult country to traverse, very, very hilly. It's got Mount Everest there it's the highest it can be. And they desperately need our help. We're hoping the Prime Minister might take a lead from Great Western Railway and remember to honour relationship with the Gurkhas," she added.