b. 22/07/1924 Sangmo, India. d. 01/07/2000 India.
Ganju Lama was born in Sangmo, southern Sikkim, India, on July 22, 1924. He enlisted in British Gurkha Army in 1942 at the age of seventeen. His parents were both Sikkimese, which made him unusual, as he was neither an ethnic Gurkha nor a Nepalese subject. At that time, however, Gurkha regiments were prepared to accept any recruit who closely resembled the Gurkha and lived near the border of Nepal. Ganju Lama's tribe lived in the kingdom of Sikkim. His name was Gyamtso Shangderpa, but a clerk in the recruiting office wrote it down as Ganju, and the name stuck. After leaving the regimental centre in 1943, he joined the 1st Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles, near Imphal, India.
On 12 June 1944 at Ningthoukhong, India , 'B' Company was attempting to stem the enemy's advance when it came under heavy machine-gun and tank machine-gun fire. Rifleman Ganju Lama, with complete disregard for his own safety, took his PIAT gun and, crawling forward, succeeded in bringing the gun into action within 30 yards of the enemy tanks, knocking out two of them. Despite a broken wrist and two other serious wounds to his right and left hands he then moved forward and engaged the tank crew who were trying to escape. Not until he had accounted for all of them did he consent to have his wounds dressed.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GURKHA MUSEUM, WINCHESTER, HAMPSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: CREMATED AT SANGMO, INDIA.
Ganju Lama's medals on display at the Gurkha Museum, Winchester, Hampshire (August 2012).
Constitution Hill Memorial
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Ganju Lama VC (second on left) with the King of Nepal in May 1998.