Gurkhas / Gorkhali are the Nepali soldiers who are enrolled into the British army and came to be for the last 200 years. Gurkhas are well known as brave in battle as they are neighborly in daily life. They persist prominent for their patriotism, dedication, and courage.
Where do Gorkhali arise from?
Gurkhas / Gorkhali are mainly enrolled from the mount people of Nepal. They receive their name from a Hindu warrior, Guru Gorakhnath, in the 8th century. He had envisioned that his people would become popular for their courage. The word Gurkhas / Gorkhali also comes from the name of a city, Gorkha, in western Nepal.
When the British East India Company fought against them during the Anglo-Nepalese War, they first encountered the British in 1814. British forces admired Gurkha’s military bravery and honorable tactics, and first, enroll Gurkhas / Gorkhalitroops in 1815.
Anglo Nepali War 1814 to 1816. Years of Gurkhas / Gorkhali incursions into Northern India led to a declaration of war on Nepal by the British East India Company in November 1814. It was a strange war for the time, with both sides behaving honorably, controlling looting, and respecting non-combatants. Technology favored the British and terrain, the Gurkhas. Mutual respect developed, and when the war ended with the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816 both sides decided that they would be better as friends rather than enemies, and from that point, Gurkha regiments began to be raised as part of the East India Company’s army.
Since then the Gurkhas / Gorkhali have served with distinction throughout the world, earning an incredible 13 Victoria Crosses for acts of extreme valor, along with countless other medals.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857. In 1857, some elements of the Bengal Army mutinied against the British and were joined by disaffected sections of the populace. All Gurkhas / Gorkhali units remained steadfastly loyal, with the Nasiri, Sirmoor, and Kumaon battalions (later the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Gurkha Rifles) being prominent in putting the insurrection down, helped by a brigade of 9,000 soldiers of the Nepal army.
The Sirmoor Battalion, alongside the 60th Rifles, was famously besieged on the ridge overlooking Delhi in Hindu Rao’s house, repelling 26 attacks in the process and suffering 327 casualties from a strength of 490. After Delhi, the Sirmoor Battalion became the Sirmoor Rifles. As Rifle regiments did not carry colors, Queen Victoria designed a Truncheon to reward the stalwart service of The Sirmoor Battalion and replace their colors. The Queen’s Truncheon is still carried by The Royal Gurkhas / Gorkhali Rifles today. Thus the proud Rifles heritage, and elements of dress and custom of all Brigade of Gurkhas units, was born.
Frontier Wars. Throughout the 19th and early 20th Centuries the Gurkhas / Gorkhali Brigade, eventually consisting of ten regiments, each of two battalions, fought in India’s near abroad. They fought in both Sikh Wars of 1845-46 and 1848-49, in the three Burma Wars of 1824-26, 1852 and 1885, and all three Afghan wars of 1839-42, 1878-81, and 1919, as well as playing their part in the garrisoning of the frontiers.
Gurkhas / Gorkhali don’t only serve in the British forces
They stood beside Australian troops in both world wars and also fought in the Falklands conflict and Afghanistan.
Gurkhas / Gorkhali have also served for the British in Hong Kong, Borneo, Cyprus, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.
Singapore and Malaysia have also employed them for their armies and police forces. That is why they will be in Singapore for the Trump-Kim summit.
Things You Need To Know About The Gurkhas / Gorkhali
The Gurkhas / Gorkhali have served with loyalty and distinction for over 200 years.
More than 46,000 Gurkhas / Gorkhalihave died fighting for the British Crown.
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw is quoted as having once said: “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or a Gurkhas / Gorkhali.”
Potential Gurkhas / Gorkhali recruits are encouraged to perform in a talent show before discovering whether they have made it into the British Army. Some of the recent hopefuls tried their hand at beatboxing and breakdancing.
There have been five Royal Navy vessels named HMS Gurkhas or Gorkhali. Three were sunk as a result of enemy action, while the last retired in 1984.
Between them, Gurkhas / Gorkhali regiments have received 26 Victoria Crosses, the highest military decoration awarded for “valor in the face of the enemy”.
The name “Gurkhas / Gorkhali” originates from the Nepalese hill town of Gorkha.
They still carry their traditional 18-inch kukri knife – a weapon of which it was said if drawn in battle had to “taste blood”, either of the enemy or its owner, before being resheathed.
At the peak of the Second World War approximately 112,000 Gurkhas / Gorkhali were fighting for Britain.
Gurkhas / Gorkhali soldiers are still recruited exclusively from Nepal, the majority coming from hill villages.
The selection process is one of the toughest in the world with 10,000 applicants vying for around 400 places. Tests include the infamous Doko race which involves a three-mile uphill run carrying 35kg (77lb) of sand and rocks in a basket strapped to the back.
In 2009 all retired Gurkhas / Gorkhali won the right to live in the UK.
In 2015, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, destroying the homes of many ex-Gurkhas / Gorkhali. The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers deployed to help with rebuilding efforts in an exercise known as Op MARMOT (‘rebuild’ in Nepali).
During the World Wars, stealthy Gurkhas / Gorkhali soldiers would sneak up on dugouts in the dead of night and feel unsuspecting inhabitants’ boots to find out if they were friend or foe – Axis and Allies had different ways of tying their laces.
Soldiers in today’s Brigade of Gurkhas each donate one day’s pay every year, in part to support their forebears – the older veterans in Nepal.
The museum is located in the center of Winchester. At the museum, you’ll study Nepal, the land of the Gurkhas, absorb Nepalese cultural diversity, beliefs, dress, and customs.
The museum has something to interest people of all ages and is suitable for a family outing.
Engaging and interactive, the museum hosts a wealth of exciting exhibits.
- Railway service in the name of VC Tul Bahadur Pun launched in the UK
- Air pollution causes, effects and solution
The Brigade of Gurkhas Today
The Brigade of Gurkhas is a diverse multi-cap badge organization that includes combat, combat support, and combat service support elements.
There are three Battalions of The Royal Gurkha Rifles; one in Brunei, one in 16 Air Assault Brigades in the UK, and the 3rd Battalion a Specialised Infantry Battalion.
The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers is based in Maidstone, Kent as part of the 36 Engineer Regiment, with an additional squadron in Catterick.
The Queen’s Gurkha Signals is predicated in Bramcote, Nuneaton with 30 Signal Regiment. There are independent Squadrons attached to Signals Regiments across the military also as detachments in Nepal and Brunei.
The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment is predicated in Aldershot, Hampshire with additional squadrons in Hullavington, Abingdon, and Innsworth, also as detachments spread across the breadth of the BG footprint.
The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas is predicated in Folkestone, Kent with the resident UK RGR Battalion.
The Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support Company provides personnel administrative staff support to all Brigade of Gurkhas units.
The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps has a Gurkha Support Battalion based in Innsworth and is formed from five Brigades of Gurkhas cap badges.
Gurkha Company, Infantry Training Centre, Catterick provides initial phase one and two infantry training for all Gurkha Trainee Riflemen before they join their respective Brigade of Gurkhas units.
Training Support subunits are based at the Royal Academy Sandhurst, the Infantry Battle School in Brecon, the Specialist Weapons School in Warminster, and therefore the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick.
Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas is in Robertson House, Royal academy Sandhurst, providing oversight for all Brigade of Gurkhas units and their personnel.