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Civilian Gallantry

Civilian Gurkhas become first to receive Queen’s Gallantry Medal
G4S, Gurkha, Gallantry

Four ex-Gurkhas employed by G4S, the leading global integrated security company, have been given one of the UK’s highest awards for gallantry for the part they played in resisting an attack on the British Council compound in Kabul in 2011.

Janga Bahadur Gurung, Jeetman Sharu Magar, Shyam Kumar Limbu, and Deepak Kumar Thapa have become the first group of employees working for a private security company to be awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM).

Hameed Choudhry, also an employee of G4S, has been awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery (QCB) for his actions during the attack, which equates to a Mention in Dispatches.

The men, working for G4S as part of a British Government contract, received the prestigious awards after helping to save two members of the British Council during a siege on their building. The citation for the awards said: “It is beyond question that the actions of all the Gurkha guards greatly assisted in saving the lives of the British Council staff. They all remained at their posts, despite several of them being wounded. Their bravery and swift action bought critical time for others to find sanctuary “.

A memorial service was recently held in Kabul to remember three G4S Afghan staff and one New Zealand Special Forces soldier who lost their lives in the attack.

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal was first introduced in 1974 and replaced the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, for bravery. The medal is awarded for ‘exemplary acts of bravery’, and is primarily a civilian medal, although military personnel can also receive the award. It is the third highest award for bravery which can be awarded after the George Cross and equates to a Military Cross.

G4S has employed ex-Gurkhas within its Risk Services business for over 20 years, mainly working on British Government contracts overseas, in high threat environments.

David de Stacpoole, a director at G4S Risk Services, said: “We are very proud that the work of ex-military security staff is being recognised in such a way. They do a very difficult job in supporting elements of the diplomatic community in Kabul, keeping people and assets safe. Whilst we are exceptionally proud of our staff, our thoughts are also with all the families of these who lost their lives during this violent and tragic incident.”

Deepak Kumar Thapa, said: “This is a real honour and I feel very proud to receive such a prestigious award. I am very grateful to my colleagues for all their support.”

Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Sir Richard Stagg, said: “I am delighted by the announcement of these awards. They are exceptionally well deserved. The five men receiving the awards all showed remarkable courage and commitment in a very difficult and dangerous situation.

“Thanks to their heroism, British Council staff had time to find sanctuary. This undoubtedly helped to save their lives. We all in the British Embassy community in Kabul owe the five, and those who tragically gave their lives or were wounded in the course of their duties, a debt of gratitude.”