More Aldershot Memorials – The Gurkha & the Para

In days gone by I’ve shown you a few of the many war memorials in Aldershot, ‘The Home of the British Army’ – just put Aldershot in the Search Box for a list – but there have been a couple of additions in recent times that you might not be aware of – why should you be – that I thought you might find of interest.

Both memorials can be found in Princes Gardens, and both were created by the same sculptor, Amy Goodman.

The more recent memorial, surmounted by a Gurkha carrying a British soldier to safety,…

…was unveiled on 25th September 2021.

It shows Rifleman Kulbir Thapa, 3rd Bn. Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, himself shot in the shoulder, rescuing a wounded British Tommy (one Bill Keightley, actually, 2nd Bn. Leicestershire Regiment), from the battlefield in French Flanders in 1915.

Subsequently awarded a Victoria Cross, Kulbir Thapa was the first of thirteen Nepalese-born Gurkhas to have so far received the award (the most recent being in Malaysia in 1965); his name appears again on the face of the step beneath the main panel (below).

‘Rifleman Kulbir Thapa Magar VC – Retired as Havildar’

Not so easy to see in the sunshine, but the other twelve VC winners’ names can be found,…

…grouped in fours,…

..if one follows the same step…

…around the memorial’s base (click to enlarge).

Along with the ‘Gurkha Memorial Project Team Members’, at the top of this panel,…

…the panels on both sides and the reverse consist of lists of names beneath the heading ‘Thank you to the individual and organisational donors for the below contributed amounts’,…

…followed by the contributed amounts.

Moving on, a short distance up the slope behind the Gurkha,…

…we find the second memorial.  This very cool statue of a paratrooper was unveiled on 6th July 2019.

‘The Airborne Soldier’

British airborne forces called Aldershot home for over fifty years after the Second World War, and the statue celebrates the link between the paras and the town before they moved to Colchester in 2000.

The paratrooper, in 1982 kit, stands, as if ready to hurl himself into the void, on a block of Falkland Islands granite,…

…a tribute to the paras’ participation in the Battle of Mount Longdon in 1982,…

…an action that cost them twenty three men killed in action, and another forty three wounded.

In total, the Parachute Regiment suffered 137 casualties during the Falklands War, of whom forty two were killed.

And, of course, two Victoria Crosses were awarded, both, sadly, posthumously.

Excellent job, Amy, if I may say so.  On both counts.

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2 Responses to More Aldershot Memorials – The Gurkha & the Para

  1. Nick Kilner says:

    Both wonderful memorials. Superbly done. Thank you for sharing them with us all.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Cheers Nick. I was down there for a Military Society meeting last week and for once remembered to take the camera!

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