Rifleman Sher Bahadur Thapa, VC, Indian Airforce

Rifleman Sher Bahadur Thapa, VC

On 18th September 1944, a battalion of 9th Gurkha Rifles was fighting its way forward into San Marino in Italy against bitter opposition from German prepared positions dominating the river valley.

Rifleman Sher Bahadur Thapa was No.1 Bren gunner in a rifle company. He and his section commander charged an enemy post, killing the machine gunner and putting the rest to flight. Almost immediately the section commander was badly wounded. Without hesitation, Rifleman Thapa rushed at the attackers and, brought his Bren gun into action against the main body of the enemy.

At the end of two hours both forward companies had exhausted their ammunition and were ordered to withdraw. Rifleman Thapa covered their withdrawal until his ammunition ran out. He then dashed forward and rescued two wounded men, lying between him and the advancing Germans. He paid the price of his heroism and fell riddled by machine gun bullets range.

The great bravery of this Gurkha soldier was instrumental in saving the lives of many of his companions and his outstanding devotion to duty contributed largely to the severe reverse which the enemy eventually suffered.