Ram Bahadur Limbu in action
22nd March, 2018
hardships, bravery, achievement of a firm and bold Gurkha Soldier followed by his sturdy character
Both Battalions of the Regiment made truly outstanding contributions to the success of the Borneo ‘Confrontation’ campaign in the mid-1960s, as did the Brigade of Gurkhas as a whole. In terms of enemy accounted for, gallantry awards won, and sheer professional accomplishment, the regiment’s record was second to none. It was therefore a fitting climax to the campaign when it was announced in April 1966 that LCpl Rambahadur Limbu of 2nd Battalion had been awarded the Victoria Cross.
Rambahadur earned the award on 21st November 1965, when C Company 2nd Battalion, under Captain ‘Kit’ Maunsell, attacked a strong Indonesian position on a Jungle hill across the border near Serikin. Rambahadur was in the forefront of the attack, killed the first enemy, and constantly braved enemy fire to carry out his duties as section second-in-command. Above all, for twenty minutes he persisted in supremely brave attempts to save two wounded men, and, in spite of intense machine gun fire concentrated on him personally, he finally succeeded in carrying them to safety.
But Rambahadur’s achievement did not end when the firing died down on that hill in Sarawak. There followed trials of a different kind which proved he was a man of many qualities.
Almost as the announcement was made Rambahadur had to bear the loss of his first wife, and to help his young children through that tragedy. Then there was the protracted ordeal of the countless press conferences, interviews and public appearances. Of the many events in UK when Rambahadur came to receive his Cross from Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, one in particular serves to show both the British public’s admiration for Rambahadur in particular, and the special regard in which they hold Gurkhas in general. This was when he was taken to visit the Stock Exchange, that most hard-headed and unsentimental of institutions. Standing in the public gallery he was soon recognized and the people working ‘on the Floor’ left their tasks, gathered below and applauded him for a full three minutes. Then they gave him three cheers. The Chairman now asked to meet Rambahadur, and led him onto the Floor, where the workforce formed a path of honor and gave him another standing ovation. Never before had the Stock Exchange given such an honor spontaneously to an unannounced visitor. Business with the world’s markets stood still for the Gurkha VC, in a unique tribute.
It can be no easy thing to bear the weight of world publicity, but Rambahadur bore it with all the quiet dignity and humanity of his noble race. He continued to play his part as a true gentleman through to his retirement in 1985, and continues it still. His eldest son is now a Sergeant in the Battalion.