Folkestone: Gurkha Honoured For Courage

A Gurkha from Kent, who was shot in the helmet by an Afghan insurgent, avoided being blown up by a grenade, then took the insurgent on in hand-to-hand combat is among more than 100 members of the armed forces recognised in the latest round of military honours.

Some 117 people from all three services are included in the latest Operational Honours list.

They include Acting Lance Corporal Tuljung Gurung, from The Royal Gurkha Rifles, based in Folkestone, who is awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry and courage when he took on an insurgent who mounted an attack on the patrol base where he was on guard.

ALCpl Gurung, then a Rifleman, was on duty when the Afghan, along with another insurgent, mounted the attack on the patrol base near Lashkar Gah in the early hours of the morning in March.

When they were challenged, they opened fire, and ALCpl Gurung was hit by a bullet on his helmet, knocking him to the ground.

Still dazed from the blast, he then saw a grenade bounce off the ceiling of the guard tower he was in and picked it up and threw it out just before it detonated, knocking the 28-year-old over again.

ALCpl Gurung, from Nepal, said: "I realised that if I ran away it would explode. I realised that I needed to do something, so I rolled it away.

" I fell down on the floor, there was dust everywhere, it was like a storm.''

But as he got to his feet after the explosion, he saw one of the attackers climbing into the tower and drew his kukri - the traditional Nepalese knife used by Gurkhas - to take him on in hand-to-hand combat.

"He was quite a bit bigger than me and was wearing quite thick clothes,'' he said. "I just hit him in the hand, body, I just started to hit him.

"He tried to push me inside. During the fight I was screaming so my next colleague could hear me and send somebody.''

During the fight, the men fell three metres from the tower, landing on the ground outside the base, and ALCpl Gurung continued to fight with his kukri, forcing the man to turn and flee.

"I just thought, ' I don't want to die. If I am alive I can save my colleagues','' he said today.

"I thought, 'Before he does something I have to do something'. I was like a madman.''

ALCpl Gurung, who was left with a sore neck and swelling to his back, said he never expected to receive the honour.

" I didn't expect it,'' he said. "When my commanding officer called me into his office and congratulated me I was surprised and very happy.''