Are Gurkha rifles related to the rifles?

CharleyBourne

War Hero
Book Reviewer
There were stories of the hierarchical system being used by the more senior soldiers to gain material advantages on a regular basis. That’s a bit of a Nepalese cultural thing I suspect.

In terms of actual soldiering at the sharp end, their reputation is a good one without any doubt. I’ve never worked with them though. They were exempt from NI service for a number of reasons which in those days was the busy part of the job for the army apart from BAOR etc.

Initial training for infantry soldiers covers fieldcraft at depot before you get to your battalion but like anything, practice makes perfect and you will keep improving on those skills after you reach your battalion. I would imagine that a young Nepalese guy coming from a relatively remote area of Nepal where educational opportunities are scarce will often need a bit more attention paid to him to get his skills up to a reasonable standard.

That might be why some of them come across as not quite up to it. They just need a bit more experience. Something that isn’t necessarily a concern related exclusively to Nepalese recruits. As a boy soldier, I’ve come across some right numpties when field training in North Wales and places like that.

None of that detracts from the battle honours and the bravery awards that many Gurkha‘s have won while fighting for the UK around the world though.
The guy I work with is ex Gurkha Transport Regiment/Gurkha Logistic Squadron* and said that as a recruit he had to do the full infantry course alongside those going to the infantry battalions, as did the QGE and Sigs, before going onto trade training. I believe this is still the case. Nice bloke and very good worker.

*I typed Burkha Transport Regiment which would look something like this:
1655552506981.png

Here's a better one:
1655552573383.png

Yes, I know, not a proper letterbox but she purty.
 

exsniffer

War Hero
I can see the empathy between the Gordon Highlanders and the Gurkhas:

On the one hand you have a bunch of mercenaries from an impoverished, mountainous third world country

On the other you have the Gurkhas.

Ah my coat, thank you.
 
Back in the late 1970s I screwed up a knee on a brigade exercise on the Plain. It took a year to get it fixed, soon after which there was another brigade exercise, on STA, another nub of the universe.... By then I was in the Int Section and all three in the brigade (3RRW, 4RRW and 3RWF) were given a day map exercise at Brecon barracks beforehand. I was still using a stick but went anyway. We all gravitated to the boozer on the Friday night and when I bought my round I found I couldn't manage the glasses and stick at the same time. A bunch of squaddies stood there watching me until a Gurkha stepped over, took the stick and hung it over my forearm - with the obligatory grin.
 
Apart from the old KRRC affiliation with 2nd Gurkha Rifles (the only Gurkha regiment not having a Pipe Band) most had affiliations with Scottish Regiments.
IIRC 7GR wore the Douglas tartan to mark their affiliation with The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
10GR wore the Hunting Stewart tartan of The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment).
3GR (ceded to India on Independence) and the first Gurkha regiment to have a Pipe Band had an affiliation with the King's Own Scottish Borderers whose Pipe Major trained and formed their Pipe Band prior to Dargai where their friendship was cemented.
I believe all other Gurkha Rifle regiments' Pipers wore the Government (Black Watch) tartan.
 
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Apart from the old KRRC affiliation with 2nd Gurkha Rifles (the only Gurkha regiment not having a Pipe Band) most had affiliations with Scottish Regiments.
IIRC 7GR wore the Douglas tartan to mark their affiliation with The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
10GR wore the Hunting Stewart tartan of The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment).
3GR (ceded to India on Independence) and the first Gurkha regiment to have a Pipe Band had an affiliation with the King's Own Scottish Borderers whose Pipe Major trained and formed their Pipe Band prior to Dargai where their friendship was cemented.
I believe all other Gurkha Rifle regiments' Pipers wore the Government (Black Watch) tartan.
you sure?

Will have to dig back into Bde history, IIRC the origin of the red and black dicing, the kilmarnock etc was pre mutiny and involved bagpipes too
 
As TA I had limited experience of working with them, mainly on ex with Queen's Gurkha Engineers doing assault boats and on courses. I was always suprised that some of the ex-regulars in my unit who had worked with them in Hong Kong and Brunei etc were less than complimentary about them, criticising their field skills and saying they were over-rated. Needless to mention they didn't say it in front of them.
I went on a six week exercise in Johore in Southern Malaysia with B Company 6 GR in 1986 from Hong Kong. They seemed to know there stuff. Apart from the OC the only other white British officer was a young 2/Lt platoon officer just out of Sandhurst. The other two platoon commanders were two Gurkha QGO Lt's in their early 40's who had just been promoted. They seemed a bit elderly for the role having spent their more recent previous service as SNCO's and Warrant Officers in a more sedate enviroment in offices and stores.
The guy I work with is ex Gurkha Transport Regiment/Gurkha Logistic Squadron* and said that as a recruit he had to do the full infantry course alongside those going to the infantry battalions, as did the QGE and Sigs, before going onto trade training.
GTR were regarded as the dregs by the rest of the Brigade. They ended up with the recruits not good enough for the Infantry and too thick for the QGE and QGS. The men in the last two units were mainly line boys- the sons of Gurkha soldiers who had been educated in British Army schools in HK and Brunei. QGE was popular with the Gurkha soldiers as it gave them a skill to take back to Nepal.

At that time in the mid eighties the Brigade was still very much rooted in the old Indian Army. I went to Cassino Lines the home of 6GR in the NT for a pre exercise briefing and it was like stepping back in time to the foothills of British India in the ninteen thirties. There were 4 Gurkha Inf bns, QGE, QGS and QGE in HK, 1bn in Brunei, 1bn in Church Crookham and a QGE Sqn in Chatham.

Many of the British officers I spoke to from the R Sigs, RE and RCT doing tours with the relevant units were critical of some of their skills and said that they would not cut the mustard in BAOR. This was because they were mainly confined to HK with their main role being internal security and border patrol which at that time consisted of trying to catch illegal immigrants from China.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
As TA I had limited experience of working with them, mainly on ex with Queen's Gurkha Engineers doing assault boats and on courses. I was always suprised that some of the ex-regulars in my unit who had worked with them in Hong Kong and Brunei etc were less than complimentary about them, criticising their field skills and saying they were over-rated. Needless to mention they didn't say it in front of them.
There have been plenty of instances when our little friends have used the language barrier to their advantage!
They still operate a Caste system where those higher born are eligible for the better regiments and those lower down join support arms.
I ws happy mostly with my temporary colleagues but you had to watch them otherwise they would slacken off the pace and if the REPB said nco and ten men for a task woe betide if you didnt have enough Ghurkhas on hand.
 
you sure?

Will have to dig back into Bde history, IIRC the origin of the red and black dicing, the kilmarnock etc was pre mutiny and involved bagpipes too

SBP, I stand corrected...though when I served alongside them in Borneo (2/2 GR) they didn't have a Pipe Band...and later when I visited them at Church Crookham in the mid 1970s they didn't have one there either.
I am not aware of the history of the dicing on their Kilmarnocks I shall have to do some research.
Grand photo BTW.
 
SBP, I stand corrected...though when I served alongside them in Borneo (2/2 GR) they didn't have a Pipe Band...and later when I visited them at Church Crookham in the mid 1970s they didn't have one there either.
I am not aware of the history of the dicing on their Kilmarnocks I shall have to do some research.
Grand photo BTW.
I'm also seeing if i can dig out my gurka history books, not sure whether it was ED Smith's or some digging i did on old VCs like MacIntyre
 
There have been plenty of instances when our little friends have used the language barrier to their advantage!
They still operate a Caste system where those higher born are eligible for the better regiments and those lower down join support arms.
I ws happy mostly with my temporary colleagues but you had to watch them otherwise they would slacken off the pace and if the REPB said nco and ten men for a task woe betide if you didnt have enough Ghurkhas on hand.
They are all members of the same class. The Martial caste - warriors and farmers but there are a lot of sub caste's. The Gurkha Major, the senior Gurkha in a battalion who is an LE officer has a huge amount of influence and can if he so wishes influence the careers of those who may or may not be members of his sub caste. Officialy caste plays not part in the Brigade of Gurkhas, unofficialy however......
 
SBP, I stand corrected...though when I served alongside them in Borneo (2/2 GR) they didn't have a Pipe Band...and later when I visited them at Church Crookham in the mid 1970s they didn't have one there either.
I am not aware of the history of the dicing on their Kilmarnocks I shall have to do some research.
Grand photo BTW.
If there was one event which the CTs Were not going to prevent, it was the Centenary celebrations of the the Regiment’s most prized battle honour: Delhi.

Delhi Day fell on Saturday, 14 September, 1957. It recalled the Great occasion in 1857 when Major Charles Reid led his gallant Sirmoor Battalion (as the 2nd Goorkhas were then called) from
Dehra Dun to Delhi at the time of the Indian Mutiny, and held the Main Piquet on the Ridge. It was a fight which, in General Tuker’s words, “raged for three scorching months from June to September with hardly a day’s remission, at odds of ten, twenty, thirty to one, against an army well equipped and well trained by
ourselves—no savage horde—it may also be one of the decisive battles of the world, If the Main Piquet had fallen, the Ridge would have gone, and, as likely as not, the Bombay and Madras armies and the Punjab would have blown into blazes. India would have relapsed into the morass from which Britain had raised her. The
Main Piquet at Delhi stood firm for more than the people of Britain realized in 1857 or, even now, in 1957.”

HQ Malaya Command had agreed to let the 1st Battalion take its retraining period from August to October; later the 2nd Battalion was also released—from 5 to 18 September. The proximity of both battalions to each other and to Singapore was a stroke of luck, for it was clear that Slim Barracks and the availability of a suitable
parade ground made the Island the ideal venue. A keystone to the plans was the presence of Major-General L. H. O. Pugh, Colonel of the Regiment.

The Centenary Parade was planned for 14 September. Among the guests invited were Captain Tikajit Pun, MBE, Captain Ramparsad Khattri, MBE; Honorary Capt Kalusing Chhettri, Sirdar Bahadur, OBI MC; and the two VCs, Lalbahadur and Bhanbahagta. Kalusing, as the senior pensioner, was picked to hold the Queen’s Truncheon during the march past. An alert and sprightly veteran of 61, this was a worthy reward for the years
he had spent in captivity in the country he was revisiting after twelve years.

For most of the Regiment, the day began well before daybreak. Reception parties and guides had to be in place to receive the Spectators from an early hour, while those taking part in the Parade
had to leave barracks at dawn. The morning was sunlit but cool, the grass on the parade ground
wet with dew. Behind the Saluting Base, an embankment formed a grandstand for some two thousand spectators. At the far end of the ground the Gurkha families sat in colourful array. Among the
VIPs, who sat on either side of the Saluting Base, were the Commanders in Chief of the Services, Mr Duncan Sandys and the Commissioner General of South-East Asia. To the right and left of the seat reserved for HE The Governor, sat the two Gurkha VCs.

At 0740, the Regiment marched on parade, the two battalions abreast in column of threes, preceded by the Band and Bugles playing the Centenary March, composed for the occasion by Major Bailey. At the Saluting Base, the Regiment wheeled left towards the centre of the ground, and on reaching the forming up
line the battalions separated in a left and right wheel to form Regimental Line.
General Pugh, Colonel of the Regiment, took over the parade at 0750 from the two Commandants, and at once gave the order for the Queen’s Truncheon to be marched on parade to take its place, to a Royal Salute, in the centre of the line.
Promptly at 0800, His Excellency the Governor arrived, mounted the Saluting Dais and received a Royal Salute as the Union Jack was struck alongside the Regimental Flag. General Pugh rode up on
his bay charger to report his Regiment on parade. His Excellency, accompanied by two Gurkha Orderly Officers, then mounted a Land-Rover to inspect the Regiment. On his return to the Dais,
two orderlies set a table before him, on which were laid the Centenary Bugles and the two Bugle Majors’ staffs presented by the Adjutants. The selected buglers marched forward to take up their new bugles, four at a time. Reforming, they marched back to their places, playing a bugle march, the first occasion on which
these bugles had been heard in public.

The Regiment then advanced in review order and gave a Royal Salute, His Excellency’s main part in the parade was now over, and he moved from the Dais to take his seat between the two VCs.
Captain Kalusing Chhettri, wearing Number 3 Dress, moved forward to the front of the Dais to receive the Queen’s Truncheon from the Truncheon Jemedar and Escort, and stood waiting in proud dignity.

Now, the Colonel of the Regiment dismounted and joined Lieutenant V. R. West and a sergeant of The 6oth Rifles opposite the Truncheon Escort. West placed a Truncheon Belt, a presentation from The 6oth Rifles, across the shoulders of the Truncheon

Next, the Colonel presented his own trophy, a ceremonial sword. The Escort, in its new embellishments, then took its place behind Captain Kalusing. The Colonel remounted and gave his command for the Regiment to march past by companies in line.
As the Band struck up "Lutzow’s Wild Hunt”, a third flag was broken at the saluting base, a replica of the Delhi Colour, green with the word DELHI written in English, Persian and Hindi.

With General Pugh at their head, the eight companies of the Regiment marched past the Queen’s Truncheon and the Colour which it had replaced. Closing at the far end of the ground, the Regiment turned about, marched past in close column to ““Wha’s a’ the Steer Kimmer” and reformed line. The Truncheon Escort
moved out to receive back the Queen’s Truncheon and, to a Royal Salute, was marched off parade. Finally, each battalion turned inward, and reforming column of threes abreast marched up to the Saluting Base, wheeled right and, followed by the Band and Bugles, left the parade ground.

Apart from the Parade, there were also five days of celebrations, including a nautch, memorial service, sporting events and dinner nights, culminating on 18 September with the Delhi Centenary
Ball held by the Officers of the Regiment in the Mess at Slim Barracks.

During the Memorial Service at St George’s Church, Tanglin, a plaque in memory of the officers, NCOs and men of the Regiment who had lost their lives during the Emergency in Malaya was dedicated by the Bishop of Singapore, the Right Reverend H. W. Baines. Bugles of the Regiment then sounded the Last Post and
Reveille.

Delhi Day was also celebrated at Winchester by the Regimental Association in combination with The 6oth Rifles (The Green Jackets). The Guides, the Indian (later Pakistan) Regiment which had fought alongside these two regiments at Delhi, were unable to attend.

The celebration included a ceremonial parade by the Green Jackets Depot, a dedication service, luncheon and a tree planting ceremony. Reid’s Diary, reproduced in full in a handsome edition
with hard cover and illustrations, and embellished with reproductions of the Queen’s Truncheon and badges of The 6oth, The Guides and 2nd Goorkhas, was printed to mark the occasion. Copies were presented, among others, to the Queen and Prince Charles.

The Parade was held on 14 September, the weather remaining fine. General Loftus-Tottenham took the salute, and later addressed the Parade. He presented a copy of the Diary of the Siege to the Colonels Commandant of The 6oth.

After the Parade, the spectators moved to the Garrison Church for a Dedication Service to commemorate the gallant deeds of the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles), not merely on the famous Delhi Ridge, but throughout its long history. Memorials were also dedicated to those members of the Regiment who were killed in the first Sikh War in 1846 and at Delhi in 1857, and to certain officers of the Regiment to whom no other memorial was known to exist (The Regimental Memorials brought from
Dehra Dun had already been erected in this Church).

“The simplicity and singleness of purpose of the service was something that went to the hearts of the whole congregation,” the Regimental Journal records.

Following the service, luncheon was taken at the Guildhall. After lunch, a tree was planted at St Cross Cricket Ground to commemorate 100 years of ever-growing friendship between The 6oth and the 2nd Goorkhas. In glorious sunshine, Sergeant C. Hotson of The 6oth, and Sergeant Karnabahadur Thapa of
the Regiment, shovelled earth round the roots of the Himalayan Cedar which had already been placed in position by nurserymen. The Chaplain-General then dedicated the tree. A plaque, inscribed
to mark the occasion, was placed in the Pavilion until such time as the tree was big enough to carry it.

“So ended a short and simple ceremony, but one which will
mark the occasion for many a year to come, for the tree will certainly
still be flourishing long after those who witnessed its planting have
gone.”
 
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edited to add to the above,
Source: 'A Pride of Gurkhas,2nd King Edward VII's Own Gookhas (The Sirmoor Rifles) 1948-1971 Harold James and Denis Sheil-Small.'
CTs - Communist Terrorists
'Lutzow's Wild Hunt' - Regimental march of the 60th (KRRC/2RGJ) adopted by 2GR in 1937
‘What’s A’ the Steer Kimmer?’ The connection to 2GR isn't known. A secondary quick march of the 2GR, though originally a pipe or fiddlers tune, it was played by the GR band & bugles
 
Delhi Day was also celebrated at Winchester by the Regimental Association in combination with The 6oth Rifles (The Green Jackets). The Guides, the Indian (later Pakistan) Regiment which had fought alongside these two regiments at Delhi, were unable to attend.
I take it there is no record of the CGS of the Indian Army being invited then?
 
Apart from the old KRRC affiliation with 2nd Gurkha Rifles (the only Gurkha regiment not having a Pipe Band) most had affiliations with Scottish Regiments.

'Cos all except the founder of 2GR were Scots. He was a Mick.
 
There have been plenty of instances when our little friends have used the language barrier to their advantage!
They still operate a Caste system where those higher born are eligible for the better regiments and those lower down join support arms.
I ws happy mostly with my temporary colleagues but you had to watch them otherwise they would slacken off the pace and if the REPB said nco and ten men for a task woe betide if you didnt have enough Ghurkhas on hand.
Not disputing the continued existence of caste in the Brigade, however it is significantly lessened in import. Selection boards are now routinely in line with APC norms (minor wailing in some areas) and the Infantry have a policy of deliberately mixing jhaat and cross posting between 1 and 2. While the East West flavour remains, is lessens by the year. English requirements for selection are higher than the UK standard (to offset the second language piece).
 
They are all members of the same class. The Martial caste - warriors and farmers but there are a lot of sub caste's. The Gurkha Major, the senior Gurkha in a battalion who is an LE officer has a huge amount of influence and can if he so wishes influence the careers of those who may or may not be members of his sub caste. Officialy caste plays not part in the Brigade of Gurkhas, unofficialy however......
No longer the case, recruiting is jhaat agnostic and recruits routinely come from the less traditional jhaats including Sherpas, Srestha, Tharu, Newar, Dalit etc. The higher numbers in certain jhaats in todays recruiting tends to be a reflection of who applys as opposed to who we seek to recruit. GM Saheb does tend to have a fair bit of clout, rightly, Brigade tolerance for misuse of this has changed over the years.
 
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