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July 21, 2006

Some people are just obtuse b@st@rds.

Heh. I hate piously sanctimonious field grade officers. Yeah, I know, that means I'm punching myself a lot.

Imagine this.

You are a holder of the Medal of Honor. On the advice of your superiors, you donate your Medal to a Divisional Museum, for safekeeping and preservation.

Over the years, you go visit the museum and you get the Medal and wear it for ceremonial occasions.

Then your age and infirmities put you in a position where you can no longer do that.

You're dying, and you'd like to wear your Medal again before you die.

And some piously sanctimonious field grade a$$hat says:

‘Tulbahadur Pun’s medal has been donated to the museum by his regimental association. We have a duty of care to ensure this medal is available to the public to see and it is secure.’

As if, in the cosmic scheme of things, the "Public" truly gives a flying flip in this regard. My guess is, Major Davies, if you were to poll the public as they filter through the doors, they'd be aghast at your attitude.

I am.

I'm sure there are rules and regulations to be followed. I have no doubt of that. I used to be a US Army paid military historian with staff responsibility for what amounts to a regimental museum here in the US.

And I would have found a way to get that Medal back to the guy whose name is on the back of it. I might have had to do a little fundraising to go to the extreme of actually sending someone with it, to bring it back, but I would have moved heaven and earth to get that Medal (in this case, a Victoria Cross awarded to a Gurkha soldier) back to its named recipient.

In this case, Honorary Lieutenant Tulbahadur Pun, VC, of the 6th Gurkha Rifles.

© Crown Copyright Imperial War Museum (Ref MH2606)<br />

As the author of this post notes:

It’s a shoddy way for an old, dying man to be treated, after the part he played in our eventual victory. This man is one of only 12 VC winners still alive, so you’d think he’d be granted a little more respect and honour. I have e-mailed the Major at the museum with a link to this article and I will let you all know what his response, if any, is. Whilst I appreciate heritage being preserved, this all smacks of red tape, callous neglect and short memories. I simply can not accept that the logistics of reuniting Mister Pun with his medal one last time are unachievable.

In this country, when Sergeant Alvin York through poverty sold his Medal of Honor, a subscription drive was raised to re-purchase the Medal and restore it to him.

Surely something similar can be done (and I would argue Major Davies should be doing it) to grant Lieutenant Pun a chance to wear the Victoria Cross with his name on it.

Shame, Major Davies, shame for giving such a staff wallah bumf-driven reply.

Should you wish to share your thoughts with the museum on the subject: curator@thegurkhamuseum.co.uk