Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa, VC, Indian Airforce

Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa, VC

On 5th April 1943, during the attack on the Rass-ez-Zouai feature, Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa was second in command of a company. The commander of No.16 platoon was detached with one section to secure an isolated feature on the left of the company's objective.

Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa took command of the remaining two sections and led them forward towards the main feature on the outer ridge to break through and secure the one and only passage by which the vital commanding feature could be seized to cover the penetration of the division into the hills. On the capture of these hills depended the whole success of the plan.

First contact with the enemy was made at the foot of a pathway winding up a narrow cleft. The garrison of the outer posts were all killed by Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa and his men by khukri or bayonet in the first rush and the enemy then opened very heavy fire straight down the narrow enclosed pathway and steep arena sides.

The next machine-gun posts were dealt with, Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa personally killing two men with his khukri and two more with his revolver. This Gurkha officer continued to fight his way up the narrow bullet-swept approaches to the crest. At the crest, Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa killed another two men with his khukri, the rifleman killed two more and the rest fled. Subedar Thapa then secured the whole feature and covered his company's advance up the defile.

The outstanding leadership, gallantry and complete disregard for his own safety shown by Subedar Thapa were an example to the whole company.