By Robert Hutton, PA News
 A courageous Gurkha who was awarded the Victoria Cross after charging down 
three enemy guns which were wiping out his troops has died, aged 81.
 Agansing Rai, who was praised for his "magnificent initiative, bravery and 
leadership" in battle against Japanese forces, died in hospital in Katmandu, 
the Nepalese capital, on Saturday, his family said.
 A spokeswoman for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association said: "He 
was a very fine, wise man. He was very self-contained and quiet, but he had a 
wonderful sense of humour and enjoyed life greatly."
 Agansing Rai was aged 24 and an acting naik - corporal - when his regiment, 
the Fifth Royal Gurkha Rifles, was fighting to keep the Japanese from 
crossing from Burma into India during the Second World War.
 The jungle battles of 1944 involved some of the bitterest fighting of the 
war, with Japan desperate to punch through into India before the monsoon 
season began. Their failure is regarded as the turning point of the Burmese 
 In the midst of this fighting, Rai's company was ordered to recapture two 
outposts that had been overrun by the Japanese.
 As they approached the first, they were pinned down by heavy machine gun and 
artillery fire, and began taking heavy casualties.
 Realising that the gun had to be taken out as quickly as possible, Rai led 
his men directly across 80 yards of ground to the machine gun, and killed 
three of the four soldiers manning it himself.
 With the first outpost overrun, Rai and his men charged at a .37 mm gun 
firing on them from the jungle. All but three were killed before they reached 
halfway, but they gained their target and wiped it out.
 Finally, as the battle culminated in an advance on the second outpost, Rai, 
with a grenade in one hand and a submachine gun in the other, single-handedly 
assaulted a bunker that was inflicting heavy casualties on his fellow 
soldiers, killing all four occupants.
 Rai's Victoria Cross citation described his "calm display of courage and 
complete contempt for danger" and added: "Rai's magnificent display of 
initiative, outstanding bravery and gallant leadership so inspired the rest 
of the company that, in spite of heavy casualties, the result of this 
important action was never in doubt."
 After the war Rai became a captain in the Indian Army. He had three 
daughters and two sons.
 He visited Britain regularly, most recently in April last year, to meet with 
other veterans.
 His eldest son, Lt Col Rewati Rai, said he died on Saturday in hospital in 
Katmandu, a few days after returning from New Delhi, where he had been 
receiving treatment.
 He said: "We brought him back to Nepal after the doctors in New Delhi 
suggested we discontinue radiotherapy and chemotherapy."
 The family is waiting for Rai's youngest son to arrive from Hong Kong for 
the funeral, which will be at their home in Dharan, 250 miles from Katmandu.
 Ten Gurkhas won Victoria Crosses - the British army's highest distinction 
for valour - during the Second World War.
 The Nepalese soldiers have served Britain for 200 years and have a fearsome 
reputation, helped by the 13-inch curved kukri knives they carry into battle.

It says quite a lot about the quality of today's journalist (present company 
excepted) that we see mistakes like

Rai and his men charged at a .37 mm gun firing on them from the jungle

so often.

Kenneth Pantling
Whatever happens they have got
The Maxim Gun, and we have not.

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