Tributes paid to first Gurkha to be killed in Afghanistan

Victim of Taliban attack only volunteered for second tour because colleague had fallen ill

THE FIRST Gurkha soldier to be killed fighting in Afghanistan was only there because he had volunteered to go on a second tour after a fellow soldier in his battalion fell ill, it emerged yesterday.

Rifleman Yubraj Rai, of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, was shot dead on Tuesday in the Musa Qala area of southern Afghanistan when a patrol came under attack from the Taliban.

The 28-year-old, from the Khotang district in eastern Nepal, who joined the army in 1999, was the first Gurkha soldier to be killed in action since 1999, the Ministry of Defence said.

He was taking part in a joint International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and Afghan National Security Forces operation in Helmand Province.

Major Ross Daines, commander of B Company, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, said Rifleman Rai "died as he lived his life, selflessly and with great humility". He added: "Willingness to do the hard graft and share danger was his hallmark."

He said the Gurkha's death was a "great sadness", adding: "He was a fine man and I miss him already."

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "Yubraj Rai was an extraordinary character and a hard professional soldier with a proven operational record.

"Having served his time as a driving force in 5 Platoon, he moved to a supporting role in Musa Qala, but it was typical of the man that he volunteered for a place on the operation in Dagyan when another member of his company fell ill, and a measure of his professionalism that he did it so seamlessly.

He added: "Big, strong and highly experienced, Rifleman Yubraj was one of the cornerstones of his company and he was known throughout the battalion for his presence, drive and his ability as a soldier. Part of a small and tight-knit team, he understood intuitively what needed to be done, how, when and by whom, and would move heaven and earth to ensure he got the support to his friends and comrades whatever the circumstances.

"Yubraj was a proud Nepali, a proud soldier and was exceptionally proud of being a Gurkha Rifleman.

"He knew the dangers involved in becoming a soldier and understood better than most what it meant to go to war; this was one of his greatest strengths. He died doing what he did best, among his greatest friends and admirers and for a cause he had taken the time to understand.

"He was brave, strong, hard and noble; he epitomised all that makes the Gurkhas great – the best. I am proud to have known him; he will not be forgotten."

The Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton, said: "I was very saddened to hear of the death of Rifleman Yubraj Rai. I am told he stood out as a selfless, tough and dependable soldier. These qualities marked him out very early in his career as an ideal candidate for service with one of our three Gurkha Reserve Companies.

"Clearly the loss of Rifleman Rai is sorely felt by all those who worked with him and I extend my condolences to his family, comrades and friends."

The fallen Gurkha, who was the main breadwinner for his mother, sister and three brothers living in Nepal, had served in Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Iraq. A MoD spokesman said: "He received medical treatment at the scene but died later from his wounds.

"He had been eager to deploy back to Afghanistan, his selfless attitude once again coming to the fore."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam