Lance Corporal Gyanendra Rai

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by andym, Jun 16, 2007.

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  1. It starts again.I thought that this needed a seperate thread.

    The Arrse lot have mobilised again.Also the Solicitors that worked for Mr Pun have taken the case.Have a look at www.vchero.co.uk/ for further info.

    Exract from the Statement of Lance Corporal Gyanendra Rai


    "I was a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the 7th Gurkha Rifles, posted to the Falklands during the 1982 war with Argentina.



    I arrived in Port San Carlos on 1st June 1982. We marched to Bluff Cove and a place called Wether Ground, with 60 kg (just under 9.5 stone) packs and supplies on our back. We had to march in freezing temperatures, in biting wind, and sometimes at 14 below zero. It was unbelievably cold. The march lasted for 3 days. We would march each day for 10 to 12 hours, with short breaks. I was "B Company's" Detachment Commander. I was responsible for the GPMG-SF "General Purpose Machine Gun - Sustained Fire", which is a heavy (24 lbs) 7.62 mm machine gun. It can fire up to 750 rounds per minute, over a distance of up to 1800 metres (1.1 miles). As well as being used by infantry in the field (being operated by 2 men on a tripod), the GPMG-SF is sometimes mounted on helicopters and armoured vehicles. I was tasked to use this weapon to support and protect British and Gurkha troop positions, and lay down suppressive fire in case of Argentinean counter-attacks en route to Port Stanley. In addition to the weight of the GPMG-SF, me and the 9 Gurkhas under my command had to carry heavy rounds of ammunition. Like me, there were 2 other Gurkhas specially trained in the use of the GPMG-SF.



    On the 10th June, the night before I was wounded, we took in-coming artillery fire from Argentinean positions at Sapper Hill, close to Port Stanley. The artillery was being fired from the Argentine guns approximately 15,000 metres from our location (approximately 9.3 miles away). Luckily, on that occasion the artillery rounds went over the tops of our heads and exploded some metres away. No-one was hurt during this attack. However, this is the first time I had suffered a full-scale bombardment in the battlefield. My Company made a tactical withdrawal to safer ground, in case the Argentinean spotters moved the artillery fire closer to our positions. We dug-in and made trenches. It was very hard work. Just below the sticky, muddy surface were large rocks, and as we dug we got down to the water table. We therefore stood in trenches filled with freezing water, which covered our mud filled boots. However, the Gurkha's trenches were so good that even 10 years later, during military exercises on the Falklands, British soldiers reported that they were still there and intact.



    On the morning of 11th June 1982, I recall that it was again bitterly cold. We were securing our trench positions around Bluff Cove when I heard a whizzing, whistling noise in the sky above me. I immediately recognised that it was another round of in-coming Argentinean artillery fire. Two rounds exploded close to us, but none of my men was injured as we took shelter. It was very much like a scene from the First World War, as we sheltered in and around our muddy, waterlogged trenches. I then heard the familiar whistle of another in-coming artillery round. This time, the round exploded some 5 to 6 metres (15 to 20 feet) from me and my men. All that I can remember of the initial explosion was a massive bang that immediately deafened me (I was subsequently left deafened for about 10 minutes). The air was taken out of my lungs and I found it hard to breathe. Everything went black and I could not see. I was totally disorientated. I was confused and my head was spinning.



    Initially I did not feel any pain, though I remember smelling smoke and burning flesh. I think that I was knocked out or stunned by the artillery shell's impact. I began looking around to see if my men were hurt, but I could not move. I could see that the left side of my camouflaged uniform was torn and was now smothered in dark red blood. One of my fellow Gurkhas shouted at me, but I could not hear him as I was temporarily deafened. The soldier was pointing to my back. I noticed that my uniform was torn, smouldering and singed. I used my hand to smother any smouldering cloth, as I thought I might catch fire. It was then that I noticed the left side of my back had been torn out by shrapnel from the artillery round. I tried to crawl, but I just could not move. I was incapacitated and was, by now, smothered in my blood. In addition I had sustained a shrapnel laceration to my right shoulder, but this was less serious than the life threatening wound to my left lumber region.



    It was at this point I was absolutely convinced that I would die. I knew that I was badly wounded and I thought of Pashupatinath Temple, which is the most sacred Hindu Temple in the world. The Temple is in Kathmandu, in my homeland of Nepal. I knew that if I thought of this temple, as I lay dying on the battlefield, I would definitely go to heaven.



    However, my thoughts of a quick death were soon shattered. Within seconds, another Argentinean artillery round whistled across the sky and I knew that we were under attack from 4th artillery round being driven in to our sector. The round landed only 2 metres (12 feet) from me and my colleagues. However, it was our good fortune that the round did not explode. All 9 of my men would have been killed had the shell exploded that close to us. I recall, as I lay in a pool of my own blood, that I looked at the dud artillery shell and could see 155 mm on the side of it. I thought to myself, at least now I know what type of artillery the Argentineans are using against us, and what precisely had wounded me.



    As I looked around, I could see that the shell that had cut me down had also wounded 2 of my Gurkha comrades. One of my Gurkhas had his face, neck, and hair smothered in blood. Pieces of shrapnel had hit his helmet and gone through the rear of it. Luckily, the velocity of the shrapnel was slowed down sufficiently by the helmet, so that he was not mortally wounded. I think if he had not been wearing his helmet, however, the shrapnel would have definitely ripped his head off. I then noticed another of my men, lying on the ground holding his leg. He had taken shrapnel just above one of his knees (I cannot remember which knee, as I was drifting in and out of consciousness by this time). My comrade’s leg; his combat trouser leg; and his boot were smothered in thick red blood.



    I told those of my men who were not injured to retreat to safe positions to protect themselves from the continuing artillery barrage. It was clear the Argentineans had gotten our range by now. I then think I went unconscious. However, I think it took about 15 to 20 minutes for a British Army ambulance with a large red cross on the side, to make its way to us in the field. I later found out that the British Army could not call in helicopter support to us, as there were no helicopters available at that precise moment.



    By the time the army ambulance arrived, I was in severe pain and had lost a lot of blood. It was like someone had driven a 2 kg (4.5 lb) sledgehammer through the side of my back. I simply cannot describe the pain, as it was so unbearable. However, I noticed that neither my men nor I were screaming or shouting by this stage. I think we had all accepted, which is typical of Gurkhas, that we were going to die honourably on the battlefield.



    I remember an Army Medic rushing over to me. He immediately gave me morphine, and within minutes the pain eased. When you are given morphine, they mark an "M" on your forehead so the surgeons know not to give you more when you arrive at the field hospital. I never got to thank this man properly, but I owe him my life. The medics lifted me, semi-conscious, onto a stretcher. I remember that the stretcher filled up with my blood, so much so that it was coloured dark red by the time they rushed me to Fitzroy Field Hospital where surgeons began to save my life.



    I feel the British Army surgeons who operated on me were the finest in the world. They had to work on terrible injuries, including my own. Despite the battlefield situation, they did everything they could to save my life and the lives of my fellow British army comrades who were also dying around me.



    When I recovered, the surgeons gave me the piece of artillery shrapnel which they had removed from my back. The shard of jagged steel was approximately 6 cm by 2 cm. I now keep the shrapnel piece as special memento of the day I nearly died during the Falklands War."



    Cont…



    "Some time later, I learned that during my lifesaving surgery in Fitzroy Field Hospital, in order to cover the hole in my back caused by the artillery round, I received a graft of muscle and skin from a British soldier. I assume the soldier had just died at Fitzroy Field hospital that same morning, and that this man had given the gift of life to me by his sacrifice on the battlefield. I still think and wonder who that soldier was, and I regret he lost his life the same day that my life hung in the balance. It is ironic that when British Embassy in Kathmandu refused my application to come and live in the UK and receive medical treatment, they said that I "did not have strong ties to the UK". I have since thought to myself that I am literally part-British, because a fallen British soldier's skin and muscle was grafted to me in order to save my life, on 11 June 1982.



    I was subsequently taken back to the UK for more intensive surgery. I had 2 further major operations on my wounds. I was in constant pain at the time, and still have considerable pain today. In fact, part of my left side is now slightly paralysed and numbed due to my wounds. I was told that when I went back to Nepal, I would get army medical treatment. However, I have never had any medical treatment from the army, in Nepal. I cannot always get the painkillers and medications I need, and to be honest I cannot afford the medical treatment. Even though I served in the British Army for 13 years, being discharged with "exemplary" conduct, I am 2 years under the 15 years required to receive a British Army pension. Therefore, life is very, very hard for me even though I have given my all for Britain and did my duty without question.



    When I was required to leave my army service, my wife was pregnant and we were not allowed to stay at the Regimental Barracks in Hong Kong. I had to return to Nepal without any pension or income. We were so poor that we could not live in the town of Dharan, which was then the main British Gurkha recruitment camp for Nepal and a place to find work. My wife and I returned to my remote village, called Bhojpur. There was no hospital in that village, nor were there any medical facilities close to our village. Shortly after my army retirement, my wife gave a birth to our child at our home in the mountains. Unfortunately, during childbirth all the afterbirth did not come out. My wife became very sick, and I was forced to try and take her to a nearby airport to see if there would be someone to give her first aid or medical treatment. I carried my sick wife for 6 hours on foot, carrying her on basket on my back, to Tumlingar Airport. Sadly, my wife died on the way to the Airport. My heart was broken, but I could not give up, as I had to support my young children.



    As I did not have any income, following my discharge from the British Army and the death of my wife, I was so poor that I went to Iraq and worked illegally and earned some money to send back to my children in Nepal. I ran a great risk working illegally in Iraq. I arrived in Iraq on 12 January 2004 and worked there for 22 months until 31 October 2005. I provided private security to the British Army in Bazra, and also security for the Iraqi Prime Minister and governmental complex in Baghdad. I then returned back to Nepal, because I missed my family. I now scrape a living in Nepal, and I am humiliated by having to borrow money from local loan sharks.



    I do not want to come to Britain for any charity, as all Gurkhas are honourable people. I do not want to take anything from a country which I love and fought for. I applied to live in the UK so that I could get medical treatment for my wounds and to help stop the nightmares which I still suffer as a result the horrors I saw in the Falklands. It would be a great honour for me to live and work hard amongst the British people, but sadly the British Embassy in Kathmandu do not think I am worthy of such an honour. It is heartbreaking that the British Embassy has forgotten that I nearly died in battle, fighting alongside brave men of the British Army that day in 1982."



    Cont…



    "My father was Hasta Bahadur Rai. During the Second World War, he answered Britain's call for help and joined the 10th Gurkha Rifles. My father was seriously wounded attacking a Japanese position in Burma. He sustained a rifle bullet wound just below his right knee, fired from the rifle of a Japanese solider defending an enemy position. My father was so badly wounded that he spent 2 1/2 years in hospital in India (then part of the British Empire). For the rest of his life, my father walked with a stick and was badly crippled. However, I can still remember how proud my father was of his Burma Star, which was awarded to him by Britain. I know that my father would be deeply proud of me, and that I too have fought for the British people and the honour of the Gurkha Regiments"



    Cont…:-



    "It was a family tradition to be a Gurkha. In Nepal it is always a great honour for our finest men to fight for and protect Britain. My family always viewed Britain as a great Empire and the home of democracy. My family knew that if we joined the British Army we could be proud to say that we served as Gurkhas. Also, our lives would be fundamentally different being part of such a great country and great army. I would have no hesitation in joining the Gurkhas again and would still be willing to lay down my life for the British people, as I was willing to do on the battlefields of the Falklands in 1982.



    I have heard of the British peoples' support for my fellow Gurkha veteran, Mr Tul Bahadur Pun VC, and their support for all the Gurkhas. I am very grateful that the British people have not forgotten us, especially those of us Gurkhas who are now in need of Britain's help.

    Lance Corporal Gyanendra Rai 1/7th GRG (Rtd)"


    feel free to right click and use the avatar and poster in my sig.
     
  2. Total and utter disgrace: we're so grateful that these people WANT to join our Army and fight for us, but once they've otlived their usefulness, they're thrown away like a fish & chip wrapper. Equal rights for Gurkhas, regardless of when they served - NOW !!!
     
  3. It's terrible, when will this Government learn, these people are willing to lay down their lives (and that of their families as well) for the love of this country. How does the government repay them! By treating them like dirt! If he'd been from many other countries to the East (who until a short while ago were 'the enemy') he would have been Ok. Any person no matter what his status who treats any Gurkha Soldier, past, present or even future (and their families) should be considered a traitor to this country and treated accordingly.

    Interesting to mote that if you do time in any other countries armed services you virtually automatically get the right to become a citizen of that country and if invalided out due to any reason it stands that you have finished that alloted time!
     
  4. Andy. Perhaps you can set me right here but after the last outcry about Gurkha's, pensions and general after service treatment, the Government caved in and decided to sort it for those currently serving and those recently retired. Their previous assertion had been then they did not need as big a pension or as good aftercare as cost of living and healthcare was much cheaper in Nepal. Perhaps another nudge will get them to sort it for all surviving from earlier conflicts as well. How far back would we go however? Pensions for the over 1m Indians that fought for us in WW2 might get pricey!

    Totally agree on the point about, if you serve in the armed forced you should automatically get citizenship, I suspect this has not been done in the past as a misguided intention not to let too many of Johnnie foreigner into the country.
     
  5. Emails sent to the following

    Alyn Smith MEP
    David Martin MEP
    Ian Hudghton MEP
    Elspeth Attwooll MEP
    Struan Stevenson MEP
    John Purvis CBE MEP
    Catherine Stihler MEP
    Alison McInnes MSP
    Nigel Don MSP
    Maureen Watt MSP
    Nanette Milne MSP
    Richard Baker MSP
    Alex Johnstone MSP
    Alex Salmond MSP
    Malcolm Bruce MP
    Marlyn Glen MSP
     
  6. Phil,the Indians are slightly different as they came under auspices of The Indian Army at the time,its a technicality.
     
  7. Received this reply from Alex Johnston Con MSP. Notice he can't spell defence.

    Dear Mr xxxxxx,

    This matter is not covered by the Scottish parliament. Please contact a member of the House of Commons, where matters relating to immigration, defense and social security are covered.

    Alex Johnstone MSP.
     
  8. Reminds me of the cartoon with the captions: kindly take yor problem down the corridor to someone who gives a rat's arse.
     
  9. How could this proud and brave man be anything but a welcome addition to this country.It is all very well to ask a man a favour and forget to say thankyou it is a whole different matter to ask a man to risk his life for your country and then to forget him completely.To ALL the men and women of the armed services who give (and have given) so much and gain so little, this country owes us/them a debt of gratitude,and if paying that debt has become so troublesome for polititians then perhaps they should not be so cavalier about sending us into harms way.
    How many polititians have served in the armed forces, how many have sons in the armed forces and quite frankly how on earth do these people sleep at night (very well i suspect as most are unfamiliar with the concept of shame).If there was ever a chance for polititians to stand up and do something good this is it.This man has done so much,lost so much and needs so little from us.YOU OWE HIM,WE OWE HIM.BRING HIM BACK TO THE COUNTRY HE LOVES.
     
  10. The reply from Alex Johnston Con MSP. "This matter is not covered by the Scottish parliament. Please contact a member of the House of Commons, where matters relating to immigration, defense and social security are covered."

    Then why did the Scottish parliament spent several days debating the war in Iraq??? What a waste of money that place is.

    We owe Lance Corporal Gyanendra Rai a debt of gratutide, that we can never repay. We should let him and all Gurkhas reside here. Thanks aberdeenlad for keep me informed.
     
  11. From that MSP's letter, the defence of the realm does not extend north of the border. So a soldier's sacrifice for the UK means nothing to the twits in the Scottish Parliament. A message of solidarity wouldn't have been amiss.
     
  12. I agree entirely, and all the other commonwealth soldiers who serve with the UK forces should enjoy the same priviledges, there are apparently problems now occuring with Fijians serving in the army. It should simply be, if you serve you stay.
     
  13. As a Scotsman and an ex-serviceman, I'm absolutely gutted at the response from a Scottish MSP.

    Scotland used to be very proud of its servicemen and women, what's happening?

    L/Cpl Rai deserves support from ALL corners of the U.K.
     
  14. hackle

    hackle Badgeman Moderator

    Agreed on that last, BUT, all the MSP said is that defence isnt a matter for the Scottish Parliament. Some of us express outrage when MSPs "poke their noses into" defence matters. It would be a great pity and very misleading if anyone comes away with the idea that Scotland is somehow any less proud of our servicemen and women than other corners of the UK. In fact the reverse is true. Note the thoroughly well-deserved popular success of the Black Watch play.
     
  15. "….all the MSP said is that defence isnt a matter for the Scottish Parliament".
    I agree hackle and I dont think anyone was accusing Scots of not supporting their own.

    My anger is directed at the comment in relation to MSPs stating defence is nothing to do with the Scottish Parliament, I agree that in part he is right but then why is Defence debated in session and reported on? Some examples (all available on the website are) are:

    Thursday 16 January 2003 9:30 am Debate on The Current International Situation- IRAQ

    Monday 24 March 2003,
    S1M-4054 Robin Harper: Attack on IRAQ,
    S1M-4050 Mr John Swinney: The Current International Situation—That the Parliament deeply regrets the commencement of military action in Iraq……..
    Supported by: Michael Matheson, Bruce Crawford, Ms Sandra White, Christine Grahame, Andrew Wilson, Nicola Sturgeon, Fiona Hyslop, Mrs Margaret Ewing, Kay Ullrich, Irene McGugan, Colin Campbell, Fiona McLeod, Tricia Marwick, Alex Neil, Fergus Ewing, Mr Gil Paterson, Mr Kenny MacAskill, Linda Fabiani, Brian Adam, Michael Russell, Shona Robison, Mr Kenneth Gibson, Richard Lochhead, Alasdair Morgan
    S1M-4049 Dennis Canavan: Stop the War—That the Parliament condemns the commencement of war against Iraq and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities with a view to recommencing efforts to find a peaceful solution.
    Supported by: Mr John McAllion, Elaine Smith, Margo MacDonald, Tommy Sheridan, Robin Harper, Mr Lloyd Quinan, Dorothy-Grace Elder

    14th Meeting, 2004 Scottish National Party Debate on the International Situation-
    S2M-1374 Mr John Swinney: International Situation-That the Parliament reaffirms its support for the United Nations and its belief in the primacy of international law….

    Thursday 11 November 1999 Official report into Pardon for Executed Soldiers
    That the Parliament believes that it is not too late to restore the names and reputations of the soldiers of the British empire forces court martialled and executed…….

    Thursday 12 May 2005 debate on motion S2M-2794, Scotland's veterans in the name of Malcolm Chisholm.

    Two points here. Firstly if it is nothing to do with the Scottish Parliament, stop wasting money discussing it and writing official reports. However, secondly there is an obvious precedence for a debate on this matter in relation to what I have read on the SP website, and there is a way of officially raising the plight of these brave Gurkha in the form of a statement or questions to Westminster.
    Why MSPs are you willing to ignore this problems and trying to pass it to someone else.
     
  16. Gents posted on request from our friends on aarse.

    Dear All

    I just want to give you an update.

    I post a thank you on PPruNe for their help. I still can't seem to register on RumratioN, so could someone please pass them this word of thanks:

    "Dear RumratioN

    I am so very grateful to all your forum members for the work they have done to get my client, Tul Bahadur Pun VC, into the UK. I am also proud of the work you are doing to help Gurkha Lance Corporal Gyanendra Rai (see www.VCHero.co.uk for more details) who was very seriously wounded in the Falklands and who has also been told that he does not have "strong ties" to the UK.

    You are all welcome to come and welcome “home†Mr Pun VC who arrives in the UK on 4 July 2007, at Heathrow Airport, at 5:55 pm, on the Virgin Flight VS301 from New Delhi. The bigger the crowd, the more my client will know that this country (not its politicians) respect what he did 63 years ago on 23rd June 1944. I also want to make sure the media knows that this country respects those who wear the uniform and hold the line (including one very special man from Nepal with a little bronze cross on his chest!).

    I am forever indebted to you for the help you have given to my Gurkha clients and for the help you are giving to OUR Gurkhas.

    Kind regards

    Kieran O'Rourke
    Howe & Co Solicitors
    Ealing, London "

    If someone is already registered on RumratioN could they please kindly post the above thank you for me. I would be so very grateful. I am waiting for PPruNe mods to allow my "novice" posts “through†so that I can personally thank PpruNers for their support.

    I will continue to make all the main posts here, on ARRSE, as the central focal point and then the word can be spread amongst our many friends by other forum members. No disrespect is intended to any other Service or Forum, it’s just I have only 1 set of hands but 1000s of helpers!

    Finally, for your information, we have done an email shot to the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA) (1982) and the response to the position of Lance Corporal Rai, in just 24 hours, has been amazing. They are a good bunch of people in that organisation. Anyway, what's been done to my client L/Cpl Rai is outrageous, as the pictures of his wounds and the fact he fought for this country's honour in the Falklands should have been enough to allow him to live here if he chooses.

    If you have any Falkland veterans in your contacts books, then please refer them to VCHero.co.uk and get them to note what is being done to one of their comrades. Hopefully, the media will now finally pick up Lance Corporal Rai’s cause!

    Thanks forever ARRSERs! See you on 4th July at Heathrow and afterwards!

    Kieran O'Rourke
    Howe & Co Solicitors
    Ealing, London
     
  17. I have e-mailed my MP about L/Cpl Rai and he has promised to write to the Home Office & the MoD.
     
  18. I think we can extend the list of contacts to any veteren or serving person.
     
  19. Update to letters sent.

    Alyn Smith MEP - No reply.
    David Martin MEP - Replied by email. Wrote to Home Secretery.
    Ian Hudghton MEP - No reply.
    Elspeth Attwooll MEP - No reply.
    Struan Stevenson MEP - No reply.
    John Purvis CBE MEP - No reply.
    Catherine Stihler MEP email reply. She has writen to Home Secretery.
    Alison McInnes MSP - Replied by post. Passed my email on to my MP.
    Nigel Don MSP - No reply.
    Maureen Watt MSP - Replied by post. She wrote to Home Secretery, copied her letter to me.
    Nanette Milne MSP - Received email reply, has asked Cons at Westminster to deal with.
    Richard Baker MSP - No reply.
    Alex Johnstone MSP - Replied by email. Not my problem gov, tell Westminster about it. Sent a dissapointed email back to him, have heard nothing from him since.
    Alex Salmond MSP - No reply, Never phones, Never writes.
    Malcolm Bruce MP - Replied by email and post. He also wrote to Home Secretery and copied me with letter, he does seem to back the armed forces.
    Marlyn Glen MSP - Replied by post, asked me to contact my MP.
     
  20. I received a further reply from Malcolm Bruce today. He has made quite a few representations on behalf of the Ghurkas and has kept me informed along the way. In his latest letter he has copied me with a reply from Richard Biscoe (standard fob off data protection act blah blah). Mr Bruce MP decided he didn't like the response and has written to the home office again. Will let you know what reply he gets.

    It should be noted that Malcolm Bruce has supported every campaign regarding the military that I have brought to his attention. If only we had another 300 MPs like him.

    I also received a reply from Alex Salmond - nothing to do with me mate, I have passed your concerns on to your MP Mr Malcolm Bruce. It seems all the MSPs and MEPs like to pass the buck when it comes to our armed forces and the buck seems to stop with Mr Bruce.

    Lindsay
     

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