The History of the Gurkhas
The History of the Gurkhas
|Posted by Gau Gurung, on Friday, 02 July 2010 08:29|
WHO ARE THE GURKHAS?
Gurkhas are recruited from the hill people of
They first encountered the British in the Gurkha War of 1814-1816, which ended not just in stalemate, but with an abiding sense of mutual respect and admiration between the two sides.
The Peace Treaty that ended the war enabled Gurkhas to serve under contract in the East India Company's army, for whom they first fought in the Pindaree War of 1817. Thus began
Gurkhas fought on the British side in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and at the end of the war, Gurkhas became a part of the British Indian Army. In recognition of their service at
From 1857 until 1947, the Gurkha regiments saw service in
British officials in the 19th century declared the Gurkhas as a 'Martial Race', a term describing people thought to be 'naturally warlike and aggressive in battle' possessing qualities of courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, the ability to work hard for long periods of time, fighting tenacity and military strength.'
"If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha."
Today, Gurkhas are marked by their graciousness, loyalty and very great courage. As gentle and shy in daily life as they are fearless and tenacious in battle, they are a dignified people and ideal soldiers.
Gurkhas are famed for carrying a kukri. It is the national weapon of
Their famous war cry, "Ayo Gorkhali" translates as "The Gurkhas are here", their motto, 'Kaphar hunnu bhanda marnu ramro' means, 'It is better to die than to live like a coward.'
WHERE ARE THEY FROM
Nestling in the foothills of the
The Victoria Cross is the highest award in the British Army for gallantry when facing the enemy. It is awarded without regard of rank. Since 1858 The Brigade of Gurkhas has won 26 Victoria Crosses. Of these, 13 have been awarded to British officers and 13 to Nepalese Gurkhas. Each Victoria Cross won has its own unique story of courage and devotion.
10 Facts about Gurkhas and the VC
1. The elderly father of Rifleman Lachiman Gurung VC was carried for 11 days from
2. Enough metal remains from the
3. Unlike any other award for gallantry the VC is not made in a die nor struck but cast exclusively by Hancocks and Co,
4. 12 medals are made at one time with remaining stock held by the MOD. Thus, there has never been a VC made for a specific individual.
5. According to regimental sources, no photographs existed of Rifleman Thaman Gurung when he was awarded the VC posthumously. His officers asked men with similar features to pose for artists. Sketching continued until the Rifleman's comrades agreed the portrait was an accurate representation.
6. HM, Queen
7. Rifleman Kulbir Thapa VC had never been under fire until the battle where he was awarded his Victoria Cross
8. Measuring less than five foot, Rifleman Lachiman Gurung would fail today's army selection criteria.
9. VC holder, Rifleman Ganju Lama's real name was Gyamsto. While not an ethnic Gurkha, the war effort welcomed all willing men. With a stroke of a clerk's pen, his name at enlistment and subsequent entry on honour rolls is Ganju, not Gyamtso.
10. During the relief of
Today, the Gurkhas remain an important part of the British Army. In more recent times, Gurkhas have served in the Falklands and Gulf Wars,
They remain renowned for their loyalty, professionalism and bravery.
Becoming a Gurkha is a matter of great pride. Tens of thousands of young Nepalese men apply, but few are accepted.
Those who pass muster find themselves at Catterick Garrison in
After passing out, the young Gurkha soldier joins a Regiment or corps unit. Depending on his aptitude and interests, he could serve as an infantryman in The Royal Gurkha Rifles or as a sapper, signaller, professional driver or trainee chef in one of the Brigade's three corps units.
Ahead lie years of adventure, loyalty, service, and indeed danger. Even in recent days, Gurkhas have paid the ultimate sacrifice on operations in