Final Salute to the Hero Gurkha Who Saved Joanna Lumley's Father

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Byline: Tamara Cohen

A GURKHA hero who won the Victoria Cross for saving dozens of lives including Joanna Lumley's father's has died.

Tul Bahadur Pun won the highest military award for bravery for singlehandedly charging a Japanese machine gun position in Burma in June 1944 under heavy enemy fire.

One of the lives he saved was that of Major James Lumley, whose experience fighting alongside the Gurkhas for 30 years led his daughter to campaign tire-lessly for their rights.

Mr Pun became a figurehead for the campaign for Gurkhas to be allowed to settle in the UK.

Miss Lumley was abroad and unavailable for comment yesterday, but Mr Pun's lawyer, Martin Howe, said the actress would be 'devastated' by the death of a man she 'deeply respected'.

Mr Pun died in his home village of Myagdi in Nepal on Wednesday. Officially his age was put at 88, but birth records there are not always accurate and his real age was believed to be 92. Yesterday General Sir David Richards, the Chief of Defence Staff, led the tributes.

'The facts have not been, or needed to be, embellished - they stand bold as a report of selfless, steadfast and undiluted ferocious courage - no quarter expected and no quarter given,' he said.

'His warrior spirit lives on in those young Gurkha soldiers who serve in our proud Gurkha Regiments of today's Brigade of Gurkhas, in the service of the Crown. …