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Gurkha killed by suicide bomber is named

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 5, 2010

Kentnews The Folkestone-based Gurkha soldier who died while on duty in Afghanistan’s Helmand province has been

Rifleman Suraj Gurung


Rifleman Suraj Gurung, 22, was killed during a follow-up foot patrol in south Nahr-e Saraj on Sunday, October 2 after an attack on his patrol base.

He was caught in an explosion when a suicide bomber detonated himself at the front of his platoon.

Rifleman Suraj was born and raised in the hill town of Gorkha in Nepal and had served in the British Army since December 2007, becoming the first member of his family to do so.

In early January 2008 he trained as a rifleman at Catterick in North Yorkshire before beginning his Gurkha infantry training.

In October 2008 he was posted to Brunei to join the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, who divided their time between there and Folkestone’s Shorncliffe barracks.

Rifleman Suraj returned to the UK in August 2009 and was selected as the lead man in his patrol, known as the vallon man, for the upcoming tour to Afghanistan.

He was sent to Afghanistan in April this year and led his patrol for six months, finding IEDs and choosing safe routes.

He was only recently married and leaves behind his wife Permila and family in Nepal.

Rifleman Suraj’s family said in a statement: “He was a very caring son and loving husband.

“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.

“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.”

Ltn Col G M Strickland, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said:

“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.”

His close friends Rifleman Asham Thapa and Rifleman Santosh Gurung said:

“Rifleman Suraj was frank and friendly to all of us – he never hesitated to talk to his senior gurujis [spiritual teacher] and was always a very honest and hard-working person.

“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.

“He was a very good shot, competing at Bisley in the annual shooting competition for the battalion.

“He could often be found messaging his wife on the internet, picking up the nickname ‘Netboy’.”

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “I was extremely saddened to hear about the death of Rifleman Suraj Gurung.

“He was a brave and highly respected soldier who showed a lot of promise and led by example.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends and former colleagues at this difficult time.”

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