Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh flew Feb 28 over the valleys of Nepal to the town of Pokhara to meet some 200 Gurkha ex-servicemen who fought for Britain.
LV Ex-servicemen walk towards into position
SV Major Bag Dhan Rai, walking on crutches
LV Cheering crowd
LV Queen, Duke and King Mahendra alighting from plane and being greeted
SV Queen greets Gurkhas
LV Ex-servicemen lined up, Queen speaks to them
CU Captain Thapa
CU Medals on Thapas chest
SV Queen talks to Thapa
SV Duke speaks to Gurkhas
LV Queen meets Gurkhas
SV Gurkha troops in jeep
SV Police keep back crowd
LV Queen and Duke in jeep through archway
SV PAN..Queen and Duke in jeep wave to crowd
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Background: Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh flew Feb 28 over the valleys of Nepal to the town of Pokhara to meet some 200 Gurkha ex-servicemen who fought for Britain.
They stood in two long lines at the edge of a small airstrip - a proud assembly, and many of them in old uniforms carefully preserved with their medals.
One such man was Captain Lal Bahadur Thapa, holder of the Victoria Cross - Britain's highest military award - for his valour at the front in Tunisia in 1943. Another veteran was Major Bag Dhan Rai, holder of the Military Cross, for courage on the Italian front. Crippled in both legs he hobbled across the parade ground on crutches.
The veterans came from many parts of Nepal, some by air, others had trekked to Pokhara from neighbouring districts, sometimes many days' march distant.
Old, wrinkled faces which had seen service in the First World War stood alongside younger, sturdier men who fought in Africa, Italy and Malaya, and at the end of the line stood or sat the men who had made the journey with sticks or crutches, taking the place of a missing leg.
Heavy low clouds over the towering Himalayas almost caused the parade to be cancelled at the last minute. The Annapurna, 26,000 ft high, overshadowing Pokhara's valley and its picturesque lakes, was blotted out from view. But this was a visit the Queen insisted on making - nearly 200,000 Gurkhas fought in the two World Wars. Over 50,000 were killed. Ten of Nepal's Victoria Crosses were won in the second World War.