KATHMANDU: A British Gurkha soldier who single-handedly fought off an attack by at least a dozen Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan has been awarded the United Kingdom’s second highest medal for bravery, British media reported.
Acting Sergeant Dip Prasad Pun, 31, who hails from western Nepal and serves in the British Army, exhausted all of his ammunition and resorted to using the tripod of his machine gun to repel the militants who were in 15 to 30 in number.
According to the BBC, he said he was very proud to be given the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
"I think I am a very lucky guy, a survivor," he added. "Now I am getting this award, it is very great and I am very happy."
Pun was alone on sentry duty at a checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand province of Afghanistan on September 17 last year, fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to thwart the Taliban assault.
When an insurgent tried to climb up to his position, his rifle failed and he resorted to throwing his machine gun tripod to knock him down.
The citation on his medal - which is only one level below the Victoria Cross - states that he saved the lives of three comrades who were inside the checkpoint at the time.
“Pun could never know how many enemies were attempting to overcome his position, but he sought them out from all angles despite the danger, consistently moving towards them to reach the best position of attack.”
Pun’s father and grandfather were also in the British Army, according to the Mail Online.
A total of 136 servicemen and women - most of whom served with 4 Mechanized Brigade in Afghanistan between April and October last year - were awarded honours on Thursday, four posthumously.