Operations in Afghanistan

Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 13 July 2010.

From left: Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun (All rights reserved.)
From left: Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun (All rights reserved.)

The three soldiers, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), were killed in a suspected premeditated attack by a member of the Afghan National Army.

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:

The despicable and treacherous act which has taken the lives of these three brave men will not dent the resolve of the colleagues they leave behind.

The efforts of 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles have directly improved the security situation in the Nahr-e Saraj district; their bold acts have improved the lives of the Afghan people and their mission to partner and train the Afghan National Army is vital to our success.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the servicemen killed in this atrocious attack, their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Major Josh Bowman (All rights reserved.)
Major Josh Bowman (All rights reserved.)

Major James Joshua Bowman

Major Josh Bowman was 34 years old and from Salisbury. He started his career in the British Army as a rifle platoon commander in B Company 1st Battalion The Light Infantry having commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1999.

As a rifle platoon commander he deployed to Northern Ireland as part of the Rural Reinforcement Battalion.

In Northern Ireland he operated from an isolated patrol base and for his outstanding performance throughout this tour he was awarded a General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland commendation.

Following rifle platoon command he was posted as an instructor to the 3rd Battalion Infantry Training Centre in Catterick.

He then returned to regimental duty in Paderborn, Germany, in the Armoured Infantry role as the Second in Command of D Company 1 Light Infantry.

He deployed on Op TELIC 3 to Maysaan province, Iraq, before then taking command of the Mortar Platoon.

It was following his Mortar Platoon appointment that Major Bowman began to broaden his horizons with numerous overseas postings.

From August 2005 he completed a year in International Military Advisory Training Team (Freetown) Sierra Leone as the Operations Training Officer / Battalion Operations Advisor.

In September 2006 he returned to the UK as an SO3 instructor in the Junior Officer Tactics Division to the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster.

On completion of his two year appointment he had been selected for promotion to major.

Prior to attendance on the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) he squeezed in a five-month tour as the Assistant Chief Instructor at the Iraqi Military Academy Ar Rustamiyah (IMAR).

This was an eight-man training team supporting 600 Officer Cadets and 300 Iraqi Staff.

Major Bowman began his company command with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in May 2009 immediately after ICSC(L), swapping the lecture halls of Shrivenham for the heat and humidity of Brunei.

In August 2009 the Battalion conducted the Unit Move from Brunei to the UK and began the pre-deployment training for the Op HERRICK 12 deployment.

His Gurkha soldiers developed a natural respect and affection for a leader who balanced the best traditions of a rifle regiment soldier with humanity and hospitality that found him at home in A (Delhi) Company.

Major Bowman had led his company through some of the toughest fighting experienced by the Battlegroup on Op HERRICK 12 thus far.

He balanced the softer side of population centric counter insurgency with a genuine ability to motivate and lead his company onto the offensive when required.

But above all, he was a gentle and thoroughly good man, who often spoke of his family and his girlfriend, Lucy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during these tragic times.

Major Bowman’s family said:

He was the best possible son and brother who will be sadly missed by his family and many friends.

“He loved the Army and was very proud of the selfless work that he and his Company were doing.”

Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South, said:

Our Battalion has lost a brave leader. Major Josh Bowman commanded A Company with a rare determination.

The tragedy of his loss is beyond words. Since his arrival in Afghanistan, he led his Company deep into enemy controlled territory again and again.

It is a bitter irony that after driving the insurgents back throughout his area, he was gunned down as he slept in the supposed security of his patrol base. “Attached to the Royal Gurkha Rifles for two years, Josh is now forever one of our Regimental family.

Here in Afghanistan, he lifted us all daily as he concluded his reports of his company’s activity with a quick quip, be that a ping pong challenge to the Brigade Commander on their makeshift table, or his plans for yet another curry supper.

I learnt very quickly out here that I could rely on him implicitly, and that he would unflinchingly head straight towards danger if that was what was required.

He was truly courageous. We will desperately miss his light touch, his cheerful demeanour, and his love of his soldiers, even if it was tinged with constant puzzlement about the weird and wonderful ways of the Gurkhas.

We grieve for his loss, and share a small part of the burden of pain felt by his loved ones.

But while we do so, we will forge ahead and continue what he started, because that is what he would have wanted.

Major Charlie Crowe, Officer Commanding B (Sari Bair) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Josh, you joined the Battalion in preparation for this operational tour and I was delighted to hear that my numberie (same intake) from Sandhurst and the Platoon Commanders’ Battle Course would be a fellow company commander.

Knowing Josh and his eccentricities, I knew that the Royal Gurkha Rifles Officers’ Mess was the right place for him.

I know he made his mark in A (Delhi) Company and in the Mess and I was looking forward to rekindling a friendship which has lapsed as our service had taken us to different parts of the world.

Josh’s brutal and untimely death is bitter - so much promise left unfulfilled and a great character taken from our close Royal Gurkha Rifles family.

Josh, I never had the opportunity to enjoy your company within the Battalion environment and I bitterly regret it.

Your place in Regimental history, your leadership and love of A (Delhi) Company with never be forgotten. Jai 1 RGR.

Major Shaun Chandler RGR, Officer Commanding the Information Exploitation Cell in Battlegroup Headquarters, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battlegroup, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South, said:

Major Josh Bowman was a true gentleman and epitomised all that is good in an infantry officer. Humble, courageous, and good natured he had a real empathy with the men who were privileged to have had him as their commander.

Coming into his Company I see evidence everywhere of his touch and his passing is like the dimming of a light within his Company.

He led his Company through multiple operations during which he was always at the front and a transformed character during the heat of battle when to his calm nature was added a courage and drive that saw his men through the most dangerous and challenging of situations.

Our regiment is proud to have had him as our own and his influence lives on in his beloved Delhi Company. It is his influence which will see us through the challenges that lie ahead.

We have lost a friend and leader whom we will remember with pride, but it is at this time towards his family where our thoughts must turn for they have lost so very much more. It is with them that our thoughts rest during this most terrible and difficult of times.

Captain Rajeshkumar Gurung, currently standing in as the Second-in-Command for A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battlegroup, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South, said:

OC Sahib,

I feel very privileged to have known you and worked with you. It is almost a year that I have known you; you were the most gentle person I have worked with during my 20 years of service with the Gurkhas. I will always remember you as a kind person, understanding, professional solder and especially very brave under fire.

Sahib, we have lost a best friend and the bravest Gurkha officer, we will always be proud to say that Bowman Sahib was our finest Officer Commanding. You have touched the life of every single person in A (Delhi) Company; Sahib, every morning I look at the eyes of our soldiers I can clearly see they have simply lost their hero.

At this most difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, may god give the strength to his family and friends to overcome at this difficult juncture of life.

Captain Henry Barstow 4th Regtiment Royal Artillery, Fire Support Team Commander for A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battlegroup, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South, said:

In the short time I served under Josh it was clear that soldiering was what he loved most. He was inspirational in the heat of battle, where his passion and appetite for the scrap shone through. In camp, however, he was a mild mannered and genteel commander who garnered the respect of his boys with kind words and support.

Though Josh was not of a Gurkha background, it is a testament to his brilliant leadership skills that he was adopted as one of their own. I am truly proud to have served under him and my thoughts are with his family.

Captain Richard Thatcher RIFLES, Motorised Transport Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

A man of great warmth, friendly spirit and a part of the fabric of the Battalion adding value to where it mattered.

Nothing ever seemed to be too much for you, taking everything in your stride with confidence as a true Rifles Officer.

Professional and conscientious to the end, you had much more to offer to aspiring young Officers and soldiers alike.

Our single living out Officers ‘Come Dine With Me’ dinner nights will no longer seem the same without your presence at our table, and neither will your taste in expensive red wine or smelly cheese ever be matched.

In the time that I have known you, as a fellow Rifles Officer, you have been a loyal and trusted friend, who will be very sadly missed by all that have had the pleasure of being a part of your life.

You may be a fallen Rifleman, but you will never be forgotten.

Swift and Bold

Captain PRW Kaye KRH, attached officer from the King’s Royal Hussars to 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

I feel extremely privileged to have known Josh for the past eleven months.

He was a gentleman through and through and possessed an extremely positive outlook on life.

We had a common bond in that we were both attached Officers’ serving in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Josh was undoubtedly in his absolute element in Afghanistan, and spoke of his infamous Company operations fighting through various insurgent compounds, as if he were out for a walk in England’s green hills.

Dropping into his patrol base was always a pleasure, for he was so hospitable, and nothing was ever any trouble for him.

There always appeared to be a goat or chicken in the pot, and he would love to talk of England and weekends spent deer stalking, or the unsung qualities of pigeon shooting.

Josh visibly thrived off the challenge of soldiering in such a demanding environment and inspired confidence in those around him.

His enthusiasm made you want to get out and be a part of his operation, even if you were the other end of the area.

His death is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with his family and girlfriend over this horrendously difficult period.

Sergeant Manoj Gurung, Company TAC Commander and Intelligence Sergeant, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Major Bowman was a true hero to me and for all members of A (Delhi) Company.

He always involved himself to the highest level in all that went on in A Company.

He led from the front without failure. He was a very generous man and was so kind to everybody he met and worked with.

He had time to talk to everybody especially the junior riflemen.

We have so many fond memories of him which will never be forgotten.

You are sorely missed by all of your Company.

Lieutenant Neal Turkington (All rights reserved.)
Lieutenant Neal Turkington (All rights reserved.)

Lieutenant Neal Turkington

Lieutenant Neal Turkington was born in Craigavon in Northern Ireland and was soon to celebrate his 27th birthday.

After graduating from Imperial College London he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 2007.

He commissioned into 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in August 2008 and went on to successfully complete the Platoon Commanders’ Battle Course in Brecon, South Wales.

His first appointment at regimental duty took him to the jungles of Brunei where he quickly settled in at the helm of 2 Platoon within A (Delhi) Company.

Having settled in to regimental life in Brunei, Lieutenant Turkington continued his Gurkha education by attending the mandatory three months of language study in Pokhara, Western Nepal.

A keen adventurer and traveller he found many similarities between the foothills of the Himalaya and the other parts of the world which he travelled to so frequently, notably South America.

At the end of the language training he conducted a memorable trek through Nepal in support of the Gurkha Welfare Trust and perfected the art of speaking Nepali with an Irish accent.

On returning to Brunei Lieutenant Turkington turned his attention back to a profession that he showed a real zeal for. The demanding jungle of Brunei was the perfect environment for this passionate infanteer.

He had the highest expectations of himself and his platoon, to whom he dedicated himself wholeheartedly.

Lieutenant Turkington relished the intellectual challenges of infantry command as much as the physical.

Ambitious for his platoon, he was constantly challenging accepted practices in order to improve himself and his team, a trait that bore real fruits in the initial three months in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Turkington was in his element as a junior commander and leader in Afghanistan.

The time and effort that he had dedicated to his soldiers over the previous two years was paying dividends every day in the toughest of environments.

Under his command 2 Platoon had been playing a key role in the complex counter insurgency campaign that A (Delhi) Company are engaged in.

He understood it and he ensured that each of his soldiers did too.

In the early stages of this operational tour he had shown himself to be a decisive leader with a strong will, the boys followed him and would do so again and again through the most testing of situations.

Outside of his military life Neal had dedicated so much time to other people, he was a humanitarian at heart, except in the boxing ring, and this was shown through a charity that he and friends had established in South America.

Both in and out of work he was a professional of the highest standards, a leader of his generation.

Our thoughts are with his family during this tragic time.

Lieutenant Turkington’s family said:

Our family is devastated with the news of Neal’s death in Afghanistan on 13th July 2010.

One of Neal’s proudest moments was hearing that he had been commissioned to join the Royal Gurkha Rifle’s Regiment.

He felt honoured and privileged to serve with such distinguished, courageous and loyal men.

Neal was jovial, kind, considerate and loyal to his family and friends. Our family were inspired by his presence, and generosity.

He was relentless and steadfast in his pursuit of those causes he believed in with his passion for making a difference whatever the circumstance.

We are all so proud of him - we couldn’t have asked for a finer son, brother and friend.

Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South, said:

Lieutenant Neal Turkington was cruelly taken from us in his prime, gunned down as he took his turn on duty in the Company Operations Room.

He was a courageous and determined platoon commander who was already known across the battalion as a man who could be trusted.

All his soldiers will echo that sentiment. He was a true friend to his fellow officers and a leader to whom his soldiers would willingly entrust their lives. These are not hollow words.

He earned this respect through his integrity and raw ability.

He always had a twinkle in his eye and managed to bring lightness to the gravest of situations.

I could not have asked for a better officer. Since arriving in Afghanistan, he had been involved in some of the fiercest fighting in our area, but he took it all in his stride, never daunted by what he faced, but always spreading a quiet confidence amongst his men.

Having a leader who steers him on a calm and steady path when nerves are on edge and tension is in the air is all that a soldier will ask for, and Neal had the rare gift of being able to do just that.

We mourn his loss, and we share in the unfathomable grief of his family.

Neal, we are proud to have had you in our Regimental family and will treasure what you have given us.

Captain John Jeffcoat, Battlegroup J3 Operations Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

‘The Turk’, as he was inevitably known, loved his soldiers as much as they loved him.

His humility and humour endeared them to him from the off, loving every single moment of leading his men through thick and thin.

Neal’s gentle Irish brogue was always full of wit and wisdom whether it be coaxing the very best from his boys, whatever their endeavour, or over a drink or several in the Mess with his brother officers.

We are a small, tight knit band and his loss makes us all the more determined to persevere and beat the insidious insurgency that is doubtless faltering thanks to the bravery of men like Neal who day in and day out took the fight to the enemy.

His example humbles us all. Jai Turkington Saheb!

Captain Emile Simpson, Battlegroup Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Neal was genuinely courageous, refreshingly argumentative, great fun, and led his men from the front by force of personality.

The most vivid memories I have of Neal were on walks through Himalayan foothills with the five of us as young officers on the Nepali Language Course.

They would invariably descend into four of us arguing the most absurd points with Neal as we walked from dawn to dusk.

You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace mate.

Lieutenant Tom Baker, fellow platoon commander in A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Neal, whether it was in training, out on the town, or defending the Company from a Taliban flanking attack in Helmand, you have always been there to get me through a scrape and help your friends. Not only has the Battalion lost its most committed and intellectual subaltern, but we subbies have lost an older brother.

Our dress sense is bound to slip without you there to control it.

It is hard to believe that we will not see you in Shorncliffe yelling out support to the boys on route marches in your excellent Nepali with that unique Ulster twang.

It seems harder to think of 2 Platoon carrying out their jobs without their beloved Platoon Commander.

Do not worry though, CSgt Hom is nearly as much of a perfectionist as you and the Turkington ‘stamp’ is well and truly embedded on the Platoon making it amongst the best in the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Neal, I will not forget the warm welcome you gave me when I joined A (Delhi) Company nor will I forget the pranks you played on me - like telling me it was Gurkha tradition for new officers to show respect to the Gurkha Major by leaving a live chicken on his desk.

Do not worry I will be passing on this fine Gurkha prank to the next subbie.

Neal, you always gave good advice whether asked for or not in soldiering, engineering, boxing and in friendship you always excelled.

I cannot begin to describe how much you will be missed by Garith and Cathy, by all your family and every single member of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

But even though you will be sorely missed, you will never ever be forgotten. Jai PC 2!

Colour Sergeant Hombahadur Gurung, Platoon Sergeant 2 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Lieutenant Neal Turkington was not only a great leader and Platoon Commander but also a good friend.

He always made time to listen to the concerns of his most junior Rifleman and did everything he could to understand and help them.

He was an example and led from the front, and will always be remembered.

Our thoughts and prayers will always be with him and with his family.

Corporal Pritihilal Ghale, Section Commander 2 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Lieutenant Turkington was a man of his own.

He always believed in what he was trained for and applied it practically as well as in real war.

His command and leadership never faltered and he always did everything he could for 2 Platoon.

His professionalism towards A Company and our Regiment was exceptional.

Our thoughts and condolences are always with him and his family.

We will never forget you Lieutenant ‘Turk’ Saheb.

Rifleman Praveen Rai, 2 Platoon A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Lieutenant Turkington was not only a great officer but also a dear friend to the whole platoon.

Being a tough man he also had a great sense of humour which made him easy to speak to, even to the most junior rifleman in his platoon.

At times he was strict but his dedication towards his men was unquestionable.

His command and leadership in the field was outstanding and he was always concerned about our morale.

The exceptional part of his personality was being able to smile and look at us even in difficult times and just this was enough to boost our spirit.

We all shared some really good moments with him and as long as we remain it will always be in our memory.

Rifleman Sanjaya Babu Rokaha, 2 Platoon A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Lieutenant Turkington was a man of highest quality and I feel that he was a person born to be a soldier because of his hard work to ensure his skills and military knowledge were the best.

He used to tell us to read books in our spare time rather than playing games and just hanging around.

His deep knowledge and experience led us on a better track and his role was like a parent to us.

I feel like I have lost my beloved friend as well as my commander and we look forward to fulfilling his dream by working our hardest to make sure our skills are the best like his.

May his soul rest in peace in heaven and we will not forget him. Jai 1 RGR.

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun (All rights reserved.)
Corporal Arjun Purja Pun (All rights reserved.)

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was 33 years old and was raised and recruited from Khibang village in the Magdi District in Nepal.

He passed the notoriously gruelling Gurkha selection process and was enlisted into the British Army on 30 January 1995.

His career was varied and successful and he was a hugely popular soldier wherever he served.

In 1998-99 he was a member of the Gurkha Reinforcement Company attached to B Company, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

Most recently, he was posted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he supported the training of future Officers for the British Army and other national forces.

Corporal Arjun was in 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles based in Brunei at the time when they deployed on Op HERRICK 7 as the Reserve Battlegroup as part of Regional Command South based in Kandahar.

He deployed on Op HERRICK 12 in early June 2010 as a battlefield casualty replacement.

He brought with him a wealth of experience which quickly became highly valued by the chain of command.

Soon after his arrival, his Company Commander Major Bowman, who was also tragically killed in the same incident, commented on Corporal Arjun’s excellent attitude and approach.

This is exactly what was expected from him as a junior non-commissioned officer who had been awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in January 2010, his first possible look at such an award.

Corporal Arjun was a soldier who excelled and thrived on new challenges and the list of courses that he attended and completed is extensive.

He completed the Section Commanders’ Battle Course in Brecon, South Wales in October 2002 and was promoted to substantive Corporal in June 2003.

He was an instructor and advisor in mine awareness and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defence, a testament to his pioneering background.

His selfless approach and professionalism is reflected in the way in which he arrived in Afghanistan to replace an injured comrade.

The Company had suffered losses before and Corporal Arjun was exactly the sort of individual that this Battalion wanted to see arrive to fill a gap.

He was an outstanding member of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, a credit to Nepal and himself; he shall never be forgotten.

He leaves behind his wife and two children and will truly be missed by his family in Nepal and the UK.

Corporal Pun’s wife, Durga, said:

Arjun Puja Pun was a tremendous husband. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing a job he loved.

“We are devastated by the loss of Arjun who was a loving husband and father. We are proud of the fact that Arjun was prepared to do his duty helping the people of Afghanistan.”

Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Combined Forces Nahr-e Saraj South, said:

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a true Gurkha.

Brought out to Afghanistan at short notice to replace an earlier casualty, he immediately immersed himself in the task in hand. Steadfast and loyal, he was true to his regiment to the very end.

We are a close knit community, and our Gurkhas are bonded through many years of service in a country far from their home.

To all, Corporal Arjun was a guru-ji and a trusted elder brother.

His loss is a cruel one. Torn from us in an unexpected night attack in the heart of his patrol base, we are stunned by the suddenness of his unexpected passing.

I spoke to him shortly after he arrived in Afghanistan, and like all of us, he was apprehensive about what he might face.

He also realised the enormity of the responsibility that he was taking on, leading his section on operations in which his decisions carried far reaching consequences.

But he was not daunted, and he stepped into the breach, immediately earning the respect of his men.

Nothing can describe the pain that his wife, son and daughter are going through.

We share a small part of that pain as we mourn his loss.

Corporal Arjun, we will cherish your memory.

Major Simon Archer RGR, Officer Commanding Gurkha Company (Sittang), The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said:

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun had been in the Army for over 15 years, had a wealth of experience, was the model soldier and provided an excellent example for the Officer Cadets at Sandhurst.

He was the consummate professional; intelligent, determined, and brave.

He was also a very good leader who knew how to get the best out of his men, especially when the situation demanded it.

More than this though, he will be remembered for his true Gurkha spirit and his ever present smile.

Corporal Arjun lived and died doing the job he loved.

He will be missed by everyone at Sittang Company but none more so than by his wife and family.

Captain Prakash Gurung, 2 Platoon Commander, Gurkha Company (Sittang), The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said:

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a hardworking, loyal and honest soldier who never ever let me down.

A top rated soldier in the Company, Cpl Arjun was very fond of football.

He displayed all the attributes of a Gurkha soldier who was highly regarded by his superiors and much loved by his peers alike.

He was a fit and capable soldier who always led from the front.

My deepest sympathy goes to the bereaved family at this hour of need.

Sergeant Hisbahadur Thapa, 2 Platoon Sergeant, Gurkha Company (Sittang), The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said:

Cpl Arjun Purja Pun was one of the best and most capable soldiers that I have known.

He mingled well with everyone in the Platoon and Company.

A robust soldier, he always led the platoon from the front, be it in military activities or any championship events being run.

He was at the forefront of every social aspect in the Company.

He will be sorely missed by all.

I send my deepest sympathy to his family and pray to God to give them strength in this hour of need.

Sergeant Buddhibahadur Gurung, Recce Platoon Sergeant, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun is one of the best numberie (same intake) I have ever had in my life.

He was a never complaining, tireless and honest numberie.

He sacrificed his life amongst his friends doing the job he loved the most.

Even though he is not with us his memories will always be. He was self motivated and the best commander amongst us.

He was respected by the juniors and loved by the seniors.

My deepest sympathies go to his wife and two children following this tragedy.

The sacrifice and memories he leaves behind will always make him alive within us.

He will never be forgotten amongst his family, colleagues and everyone that worked with him.

He will always be remembered by all numberies, may his soul find peace in heaven.

Corporal Ekbahadur Pun, Section Commander, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a true hero to me, 1 Platoon and all.

He always led from the front and spoke up when he needed to.

He loved his job and was very proud; he was always cheerful and motivated.

He was a very good footballer and enjoyed watching and playing.

He will be strongly missed by me, 1 Platoon and all members of A (Delhi) Company.

Our hearts go to his son, daughter and wife.

Corporal Dhanbahadur Dura, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

Corporal Arjun Purja Pun was a very hardworking individual.

He had a good relationship with junior and senior members of the Battalion.

It took him no time at all to make friends and was a very loyal and honest individual.

He was quick to understand people, listening to them and remaining relaxed.

He loved football and basketball and was excellent at playing both.

My thoughts and prayers go to his wife and children during this terrible time. Jai 1 RGR.