b. 21/12/1898 Mangalthan Gulmi, Nepal. d. 25/07/1973 Litung, Nepal.
Karanbahadur Thapa (1898-1973) was born on 21st December 1898 in Mangalthan, Gulmi, Litung, Nepal. He was a Rana of the Magar clan and probably joined the 2/3 Gurkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1914 at the age of 16.
On 10th April 1918 at El Kefr, Egypt, during an attack, Rifleman Karanbahadur Rana and a few other men crept forward with a Lewis gun under intense fire to engage an enemy machine-gun. No. 1 of the Lewis gun team opened fire but was shot almost immediately, whereupon the rifleman pushed the dead man off the gun, opened fire, knocked out the enemy gun crew and then silenced the fire of the enemy bombers and riflemen in front of him. During the remainder of the day he did magnificent work and finally assisted with covering fire in the withdrawal, until the enemy were close on him.
On the same day of his Victoria Cross action, Rifleman Karanbahadur Rana saved the life of Captain Frederick Barter VC, MC. He was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 21st June 1918, and was presented with his medal at Buckingham Palace on 2nd August 1919 by King George V. Whilst in London, he also took part in a procession of Indian troops through the city. He left the Indian Army in the mid-1930s and unfortunately not much has been recorded about his life after the First World War.
He died on 25th July 1973 aged 82 in his home village of Litung and was buried at Bharse, Gilmi, Litung. Later his VC and six other decorations were obtained from one of his sons by a representative of the Gurkha Museum, and they arrived at the Museum on 1st November 1974. They included the British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, Indian General Service Medal (1908-1936) with one clasp (Waziristan 1919-1921), King George V Silver Jubilee Medal 1935, King George VI Coronation Medal 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953. They are displayed at the Gurkha Museum, Winchester, Hampshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GURKHA MUSEUM, WINCHESTER, HAMPSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: BHARSE GULNI, LITUNG, NEPAL.
Karanbahadur Rana's medals including VC on display at the Gurkha Museum, Winchester, Hampshire. (Thomas Stewart)
National Memorial Arboretum