Kulbir Thapa Magar, VC

A new memorial, dedicated to the first Gurkha to win the Victoria Cross, Kulbir Thapa Magar, has been unveiled in Princes Gardens, Aldershot.

“The statue will serve as a lasting memorial as well as a symbol of their long history and friendship with the (British) Army.”

Kulbir was born in Nepal in 1889 and enlisted as a Rifleman (Rfn) in 1907 in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Queen’s Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, transferring to the 2nd Battalion at the outbreak of World War One. On 25 September 1915 at Mauquissart in France Rfn Thapa, having been wounded himself, found a badly injured soldier from the Leicestershire Regiment behind the first line German trench and stayed with him throughout the night.

Early the next day, he carried the soldier through German wire, taking him to a place of comparative safety and then returned to bring in two wounded Gurkhas. Eventually, he went back in broad daylight to retrieve the British soldier and complete the rescue under enemy fire.

He later achieved the rank of Havildar (equivalent to sergeant, a rank still maintained in Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese armies today) and retired after 30 years of service. He died in 1956, aged 67.

His Victoria Cross and other medals are displayed at The Gurkha Museum in Winchester, Hampshire, England.

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