Phara Sing Pun

Phara Sing Pun Corporal

(Portrait © Gurkha Voices Oral History Project)

  • Galla Wala recruits

  • Testing vehicles out

  • Volleyball time!

  • Motor cycle training

  • Dashain festival: sacrificing of the animal

Corporal Phara Sing Pun spent his career in the army mainly as a driver for Motor Transport. He was seconded to the Royal Green Jackets. Phara was also trained as a basic signaller to support Signals and operated in this role for a few months in the jungle during the Borneo Conflict which he says was his most challenging time during his army career.

Gurkha Stories has been given permission to use a selection of photos by Jonathan Godwin whose father, Bill, was a Major in the British Army in the 1950/60s with the 31 Squadron, Gurkha Transport Regiment in Sarawak, Hong Kong and Singapore.  He was one of the first officers to run the GTR in its early days and was also on active duty for the Malayan Emergency, in the late 1950s. Although these are not Phara’s photos they evoke the environment he would have trained and lived in at his time of joining the Gurkhas.  Thanks to the Godwin family for the use of these evocative photos.

(More veteran stories are in our book, published later this year. Keep posted via our blog:

Interview extract (based on interpreter’s translation):

From the outside people perceive the Gurkhas to be so courageous and brave but the reality is that there is no other choice, …well, it’s not something we choose to do, it’s not something that’s there. It’s just that we’ve got no other option and if we don’t show that bravery then we lose and nobody cares about the life and death. And so someone looking from the outside thinks it’s amazing things that we have but when we’re in that position that’s all we can do [in combat].

After 4pm it was game time so every day we were happy after 4pm! And then there were the normal festivals that everyone had, Dashain, and all that. But every day after 4pm we just played games [laughs]. I wish I didn’t have to go to the jungle but I had to! [laughs]. Yes, that’s the only thing I didn’t like.

Oral histories: © Gurkha Voices Oral History Project