of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country
more faithful friends than you." Those words, written by Sir
Ralph Turner, a former officer in the 3rd Gurkha Rifles, in
order to describe the Gurkha soldiers who service in Britain,
India, Singapore and Brunei as a special arm force. 'It is
Better to die than to be a coward' - the motto of the world
famous Gurkha Soldiers. They equipped with modern SA80 rifles
and are renowned as natural marksmen. But they still carry into
battle their traditional weapon - a 16" long curved knife known
as Khukuri. In times past, it was said that once a Khukuri was
drawn in battle, it had to 'taste blood' - if not, it's owner
had to cut himself before returning into its sheath. The
Appellation Gurkha - by now the other name of Valor,
Courage, Steadfastness, Loyalty, Neutrality and Impartiality
come from the Gorkha, a small hilly town in mid - west Nepal.
Now, most of the people say for the legendary Gurkhas - "When
his rifle misfires, or when his bullets have run out, a Gurkha
draw out his Khukuri and makes his final 'do - or -die' run on
the enemy in a fury to finish the business."
The term Gurkhas is traditionally used to describe the men of
Nepal who serve as soldiers in the armies of Nepal, Britain, or
India. The word Gurkhas originated from Gorkha, a hilly state in
Nepal, where king Prithivi Narayan Shah reigned early 17th
century. He had very strong, loyal, tough and devoted Gorkhali
armies from whose contribute he succeeded in uniting Nepal into
one kingdom around 1768-69 AD. In 1814, the war broke out
between brave Gorkhali and mercantile East India Company (which
is called Anglo - Nepalese War 1814-1816). In that conflict,
British in Indian first experience the effectiveness and inner
power Gorkhali when they faced the Gorkhali in Western Nepal.
After two years bloody campaigns, a peace treaty was signed.
During the war, a deep feeling of mutual respect and admiration
developed between the British and their adversaries. Although
the British defeated Nepal, they were so impressed by the Gurkha
fighters that they enticed them to enter the British (and
subsequently, Indian) army. Under the terms of the peace treaty,
following the war, large numbers of Gorkhali were permitted to
volunteer for service in the East India Company and from those
volunteers were formed the first regiment of Gurkhas in 1815.
Since then, many Nepalese mostly the Rais, Limbus, Gurungs and
Magars have served and still serve in the British Army.
Gurkha Regiments have fought in various conflicts over the
following 40 years before proving where their loyalty lay during
the Indian Mutiny in 1857. At the outbreak of World War I in
1914, the entire Nepalese Army was placed at the British crown.
They fought with bravery in France, Mesopotamia, Egypt,
Palestine and Laos. Two Gurkhas won Victoria Crosses, British
highest military honor. When the World War II broke out in 1939
the Gurkhas again come to British's aid, more than 112,000 men
served in 40 battalions in battles in the Western Desert, Italy,
Greece, Malaya, Singapore and Burma. Ten Victoria Crosses were
awarded to the Gurkha soldiers.
In the 185 years they have served in the British Army, the
Gurkhas have won 26 Victoria Crosses, along with other British
military honors, more than any other single group in the army.
More than 200,000 Gurkhas fought in two World Wars, with 14,000
killed in engagements in France, Middle East, Malaya, Boreno,
Cyprus, and the Falklands. The Gurkhas have loyally fought in
nearly all of the World's major wars and have earned Britain's
highest service awards. The Gurkhas have earned their fame and
have made their mythical and legendary figure toward the world.