Harkbir Thapa AM

b. ?  d. 25/11/1949 Nepal.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 31/05/1935 to 02/06/1935 Quetta, India (now Pakistan).

Very little is known about Rifleman Harkbir Thapa other than his actions during the Quetta Earthquake between 31st May and 2nd June 1935.



On the morning of the 31st May, Rifleman Thapa was detailed as part of a rescue party which was going to dig out some living people behind the Police Lines. On the way to the work he heard noises in a building and obtained permission from the N.C.O. to try to get these people out. At about 6.30 a.m., the Adjutant visited the area to ascertain how work was progressing. He found Rifleman Harkbir Thapa had worked his way with his hands through the debris under a tottering roof, and was nearing two people who were alive but buried. As there was clearly every chance of the roof collapsing on top of him as he removed the debris, the Adjutant assisted him by propping up the roof as far as possible. Rifleman Harkbir Thapa continued his work and brought out two children alive. He undoubtedly saved those two children at the risk of his own life. On 2nd June this Rifleman’s conduct was again brought to notice. On this occasion he formed part of a detachment working in Hudda Village. The upper storey of a crumbling house was being cleared, part of the roof had fallen through the floor into the lower storey, thus rendering the floor most dangerous. A living child was discovered in the lower storey. This man and one other volunteered to dig through a corner of the floor opposite to where it had crumbled. They did so with khukries and their hands and got through to the lower storey and rescued the child. They did this at considerable risk to their own lives, as the walls were in danger of falling and the floor might have collapsed at any moment.