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Falklands hero joins Gurkhas' fight

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: May 18, 2009

  • Dr Rick Jolly, OBE, lives in Torpoint, South East Cornwall

  • Dr Rick Jolly says Gurkhas are seen as 'cheap brown labour'

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A FALKLANDS War hero has added his voice to the campaign for Gurkhas to be allowed to settle in Britain.

Dr Rick Jolly, OBE, lives in Torpoint, South East Cornwall, and is a former Royal Navy Surgeon Commander. He is one of the most decorated soldiers of the conflict in the Falklands.

He said a Gurkha hero whose life he saved 27 years ago was in desperate need of medical attention, which he had no hope of getting in his native Nepal.

Dr Jolly spoke of his outrage that L Cpl Gyanendra Rai had not been allowed to live here and claimed some Whitehall civil servants still regarded the Gurkhas as "cheap brown labour".

The former Surgeon Commander was the only soldier to be decorated by Britain and Argentina in the Falklands War.

He was awarded Argentina's highest military honour, the Oficial Orden de Majo, for treating Argentinean casualties in the 1982 South Atlantic conflict.

L Cpl Rai is one of five "test case" Gurkhas refused leave to remain here in 2007 because they did not have "strong ties" to Britain. Their applications were again rejected 10 days ago.

L Cpl Rai, 53, suffered appalling injuries at Bluff Cove in East Falkland. He was forced out of the Army after 13 years without medical benefits or pension and remains in constant pain.

Dr Jolly said: "I remember the day he was brought in. A large piece of shrapnel had torn into the left side of his body, creating a big, ragged hole in his flank."

He said L Cpl Rai lived in abject poverty in Kathmandu, with diabetes and constant back pain. "He requires physiotherapy and needs to be reviewed regularly by an experienced GP. He cannot hope to get any of this in Nepal. Unfortunately, there are civil servants in the MoD who still see Gurkhas as cheap brown labour, and it is a disgrace.

"Like all Gurkhas, L Cpl Rai served this country with unflinching courage and total commitment and it is high time this is recognised."

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    ANGRY BRIT, LISKEARD, CORNWALL  |  May 19 2009, 8:08AM

    It is so wrong that these brave people are not allowed to live here as they have "no ties with Britain". What about all the others with "no ties" who are just let in willy nilly?

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    Simon Sugrue, Cadgwith, Cornwall  |  May 18 2009, 12:48PM

    Good to see you Rick! I think that anyone who is prepared to die for this country should be allowed to live here if they want to. This applies to all Commonwealth soldiers as well as Gurkhas. This issue is just another way this lamentable so-called Government is out of touch with the views of the general public.

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