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Is this VC okay?


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Thanks, gents. I was pretty sure that it wasn't a real one when I saw it. Apparently, it's the VC described by the Gurkha regimental museum as that of Tul Bahadur Pun VC. The suspender doesn't look right, for one thing.

0403.jpg

This is Pun VC wearing the real thing. The image isn't high definition but it is good enough to spot the difference between the suspenders of the VC worn by Pun years before the regimental museum acquired the cross and the VC displayed by the museum. Perhaps the museum has put a copy on display.

PK

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Setting aside the immense and fairly shameful controversy over Pun's medals, I sincerely doubt this is the original VC. Most museums do not display the real ones. As the New Zealanders learned to thei peril.

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Setting aside the immense and fairly shameful controversy over Pun's medals, I sincerely doubt this is the original VC. Most museums do not display the real ones. As the New Zealanders learned to thei peril.

I'm glad to say that the Australian War Memorial continues to display original VC's. I'm not sure what security the Kiwis had, but the Valour Room at the AWM is very secure.

Regards,

Johnsy

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Extract from a Nepalese article of July 2007:

According to Pun, he was ?ordered? to hand over his VC for just 40,000 Indian rupees - about 500 pounds today - in 1974 by the British Army which said it was taking it for safe-keeping. The British Ministry of Defence claimed that Pun?s VC displayed in the Gurkha Museum in Winchester, was purchased from him in 1974 for market value.

He had received a letter in March 1974 from the 6th Gurkha Rifles saying an officer would visit him to take back the medal. Pun quoted the official approaching him to take back the medal as saying, ?He informed me the medal was too valuable to be in my possession and the army would be withholding it for safekeeping. Some time later I received IRs 40,000 in return. My Victoria Cross was taken to the Regimental Headquarters in Hong Kong. It was kept there for a number of years."

I think anyone with an understanding of how things used to work in British society can glean a fairly clear, stark picture of what happened. IRs 40k was about ?500.00 at the time. The old boy was told by an officer sahib to hand his medal over and, being a good and loyal Gurkha, did so. He was later given a 'gratuity' and the British Army assumed ownership of his VC. I was interested in medals in 1974 and I must say that I have having trouble remembering any VCs changing hands on the open market at the time for ?500.00. I could be mistaken but I seem to recall prices being somewhat higher.

PK

Edited by PKeating
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In 1969, an Indian Mutiny VC to William Rennie was sold for ?1,700.00 to the regimental museum. The previous record was set in 1966 when the Middlesex Regiment paid ?900.00 for a Somme VC. Yet the MOD apparently claim to have bought Mr Pun VC's cross from him for "market value" in 1974, allegedly paying him ?500.00 for it. That is hardly "market value". Or maybe they felt, given the times that were in it, that a medal to a non-whiteman was worth half that to a whiteman.

However, if the chronology of events is examined, Pun VC received a letter from Regimental HQ in Hong Kong, directing him to give the VC to an officer who would come to fetch it, probably an officer charged with travelling around Nepal paying pensions to veterans, because of its high value. The Pun cross was then displayed at Regt HQ in Hong Kong for several years, before ending up in the UK in the possession of the regimental museum there.

There has been no reply yet to my query to the museum about the whereabouts of the genuine Pun cross. Even more worrying is the account I was given recently of Pun VC himself examining "his" VC at the museum and commenting that it did not look like his, that the engraving seemed different. Hopefully, the museum can at least produce the real cross, something they seem to have failed to do so far, by various accounts.

PK

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