Crown Copyright/MOD 2010
October 4, 2010
It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Rifleman Suraj Gurung from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 2 October 2010.
Rifleman Suraj, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), was killed during a follow-up foot patrol after an attack on his patrol base. He was caught in an explosion when a suicide bomber detonated himself and he was killed in action.
He died at the front of his platoon, leading the way as he had done for the previous six months.
Only recently married he leaves behind his wife and family in Nepal.
His family said:
“Our family is devastated with the news of Suraj’s death in Afghanistan on 2 October 2010. He was a very caring son and loving husband. He followed his forefather’s footsteps as both his grand father and father served with the British in India: and his father- in- law served in the British Army.
“He loved the army and was very proud to be a Gurkha: and died doing a job he loved. His family members are very proud of him.”
Lieutenant Colonel G M Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South said:
“Rifleman Suraj Gurung was the Vallon man for my Tactical Headquarters Team. Throughout this tour, he led the way through areas of high Improvised Explosive Device risk with fortitude and courage. Never once did he complain or shy away from his duty, despite the fact that his team had suffered a partial detonation of one device and found several others during their time in Afghanistan.
“This was his first operational tour. It is telling that when we trawled the battalion for photographs of Suraj, the ones that came forward showed him with his arms around groups of grinning local children. He had a good heart, and was here to help the Afghan people.“He was a very fine Gurkha soldier; tough but compassionate, and always there for others. To all around him he was a source of strength. His ready smile is now gone from us, but his memory remains. We mourn his passing, and share in the grief of his family who have lost a very special man. I am intensely proud to have served with him.” Read the full eulogy here
From those who know him best:
Tributes paid to recently married soldier killed in Afghanistan
A recently married soldier killed by a suicide bomber in southern Afghanistan was ''everything that the man who killed him was not'', his comrades said.[...]
The 22-year-old, who was raised in a Nepalese hill town, was only recently married to his wife, Permila, and earned himself the nickname ''netboy'' for time he spent contacting her on the internet at night.
Major David Jones, Officer Commanding C Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: ''Rifleman Suraj was everything that the man who killed him was not. He was brave, courageous, considerate, compassionate and kind.
''He truly believed in the job that he was doing and took immense pride in the fact that he was helping people less fortunate than himself every single day.
''A cracking soldier, respected by all, he had unflinchingly led his multiple down some of the most daunting alleyways and across some of the most haunting ground, every single day for the last six months.
''He was one of the very best of his generation and almost certainly destined for promotion.
''I personally will remember him for his trademark booming voice cheerfully singing out 'morning sahib' as he passed my office on his way to breakfast each day. Tomorrow there will be no such greeting.''
His devastated family said in a statement:
''He followed his forefathers' footsteps as both his grandfather and father served with the British in India, and his father-in-law served in the British Army.
Rifleman Gurung was a radio operator and as ''vallon man'' he led his fellow men out on patrol, checking the path for bombs.
Major Khusiman Gurung, Gurkha Major, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: ''A dark cloud has been cast over us all by the tragic loss of Rifleman Suraj Gurung.
''His life was taken in a cowardly act whilst he was carrying out an important role for the security and development of Afghanistan.
''He was utterly loyal and dedicated to his profession; it was a job he loved. He was known for being courageous, selfless and ambitious and he will be remembered as such. He will always remain in our hearts and memories.
''Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Permila, and family currently in Nepal.''
His close friends, Rifleman Asham Thapa and Rifleman Santosh Gurung, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: ''He was a brave soldier, always wanting to lead the multiple from the front and loved the responsibility of being the vallon man, the job he was doing when he died.
''He would always help and mentor those junior to him and provide advice to his commanders...
More at the Telegraph here.
Rest in peace, Sir.