Major (Gurkha Commissioned Officer) Pahalmansing Gurung
MBE IDSM Bronze Star (USA)

Pahalmansing was enlisted in the 1st Battalion in 1929.  Serving as a Lance-Naik in Waziristan in August 1937 he was commanding a section involved in an action near Gardai for which he was recommended for the Indian Order of Merit, but instead received the Indian Distinguished Service Medal.  His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Tuker, wrote in the Digest of Service that it was ’an act that would probably have earned a Victoria Cross in former wars’.

In the early part of the Second World War he served with the Battalion in Iraq and Persia as a Havildar.  Commissioned as a Jemadar in January 1942 he was a platoon commander throughout the North Africa campaign.  He took part in all the major 1st Battalion actions and was wounded at El Alamein.  In Italy he frequently commanded all-arms company groups and was awarded the American Bronze Star as well as being mentioned twice in despatches.  By the end of the war he was a Subedar and in the immediate post-war period was Second-in-Command of A Company.

In 1948 he was one of a small group of distinguished King’s Gurkha Officers to be promoted to Gurkha Commissioned Officer rank, giving him the same status as a British Officer – but with vastly more experience than most of his British counterparts.  In 1949 he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion where he commanded a company during the Malayan Emergency, earning another mention in despatches in 1952 and being awarded the MBE in 1956.  Killed that year when the light aircraft in which he was carrying out a reconnaissance crashed, he was buried with full military honours at Cheras Road Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.  His medals are in the Gurkha Museum.

An obituary published in the Regimental Journal stated ‘It is difficult to write of Pahalmansing without using superlatives, and this would be quite wrong as he never used them.  His speech was simple and direct, like the man.  He was reserved and a little shy until he knew people.  There was always a twinkle in his eye and his sense of humour was infectious.  He thought deeply and his judgements, expressed in simple language, were invariably sound and to the point.  He was possessed of great humility and never claimed or sought credit for his whole lifetime of work for the Regiment.  To see him with his company was to see a commander who was devoted to his men and at the same time was worshipped by them.  He was wise and of great experience and his influence in the Regiment was ever present and helpful.  He had talked of retirement and entering politics in Nepal; Nepal’s loss is as great as ours.  Above all, Pahalman was a warrior.  He died as he had lived, fighting the Queen’s enemies.


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