Medals relating to the Malaya and Korea Campaigns from the Philip Burman Collection

Date of Auction: 9th May 2018

Sold for £2,200

Estimate: £1,600 - £2,000

A good 1951 ‘Malaya operations’ M.M. pair awarded to Corporal Keshu Thapa, 1st Battalion, 2nd (King Edward VII’s Own) Gurkha Rifles, for his sustained gallantry as a Bren Gunner, firing from the hip, during a ‘bandit’ ambush in the Labis area of Johore, 28 May 1951. Carrying his gun ‘at the double’ for over 2,000 yards, Keshu Thapa personally accounted for 6 of the enemy

Military Medal, G.VI.R, 2nd issue (21144802 Rfn. Keshu Thapa. 2.G.R.); General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Malaya, G.VI.R. (21144802 Rfn. Kesu. [sic] Thapa 2 G R) edge bruising, therefore nearly very fine or better (2) £1600-2000


M.M. London Gazette 17 August 1951:

‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Malaya.’

The recommendation states:

‘On 28 May 51 in the Labis area of Johore rifleman Keshu was the Bren gunner in the centre platoon of his Company which was advancing in line through the rubber in search of bandits who had been reported in the vicinity. The left hand platoon of the Company was suddenly engaged by the enemy and hearing the firing Keshu’s platoon commander ordered his men to double to their assistance. Over a distance of close on two thousand yards, and in spite of the weight of his Bren gun Keshu was the leading man of his platoon throughout this period. On arrival at the scene of section the platoon was heavily attacked by the bandits. The platoon commander immediately gave the order to charge and Keshu, disregarding his natural fatigue, was again in the van. Without a thought for his personal safety rifleman Keshu advanced again the bandits firing his Bren gun from the hip. In this encounter, by his determination to get to grips with the enemy and his accurate fire he killed four bandits. Subsequently, when the enemy tried to break off the action, Keshu together with some comrades was responsible for cutting them off, and personally accounted for a further two bandits killed.

Rifleman Keshu’s outstanding bravery, tireless devotion to duty and skill at arms were an inspiration and example of the highest order to the men of his platoon.’

Keshu Thapa was born in 1929, and enlisted in the 2nd Gurkha Rifles in February 1948. He served with the Regiment in Malaya 1948 - August 1951, July 1952 - September 1953, December 1957 - April 1958 and November 1960 - May 1963. Keshu Thapa advanced to Corporal and was discharged, 16 November 1963, having served 15 years and 275 days with the Colours.

Sold with a (faint) copy of recipient’s service record.