World War True: The story of Captain Bhaktasing Pun MM
Last week, The History Channel released a video about the Gurkhas as part of their World War True series.
As the video says;
“They come from a very hard environment and at a young age they grow up knowing what it means to survive in brutal conditions. They carry this through into being soldiers and are renowned for their grit and dedication to carrying out their duty.”
Captain Bhaktasing Pun MM
The main focus of the video is to share Gurkha veteran Bhaktasing Pun’s incredible story, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday.
Bhaktasing enlisted into the Brigade of Gurkhas in 1937. He was a young Gurkha soldier from the Himilayan foothills who, at the outbreak of World War Two, was serving in India before being sent to Singapore to reinforce the island.
Just 17 days after he arrived there, the Japanese Armed Forces captured the allied military personnel in the Southeast Asia and Pacific areas. When Singapore surrendered in February 1942, among the vast number of Japanese prisoners of war (PoW) were the entire Second Battalion of 2nd Gurkhas, including Bhaktasing.
After Bhaktasing was liberated at the end of the War he continued to serve with the Gurkhas and showed remarkable commitment to his duties.
He went on to reach the rank of Captain before retiring from the Army in 1964. During his military career, he served in the India, Malaya, Borneo, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK and more.
In 1951, during the Malayan Emergency, he led his men on a particularly successful operation and was awarded an MM (Military Medal) for his bravery, leadership and skilful patrolling.
In a later citation for bravery one of his senior officers even commented that Bhaktasing clearly saw the Second World War as a missed opportunity to show his bravery and that he was now making up for lost time.
Bhaktasing still lives in Nepal today and beams with pride each time he sees one of his thirteen grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren. He puts his long life down to routine exercise, sticking to a strict daily routine and keeping a positive outlook on life.
His son Bishnu, himself a Gurkha veteran, who now works at The Gurkha Welfare Trust in the UK said
“I am very proud of my father because he survived three and a half years of hell as a prisoner of war and came out fighting and went on to serve a further 20 years earning many bravery awards and went on to reach the rank of captain.”
“For me, Gurkha means maintaining the traditions and showing your loyalty and following the footsteps of your forefathers.”
The video on will also be broadcast on The History Channel later this month.