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Gurkha Memorial Museum part 4, 3rd floor Gurkha regiments

 Gurkha Memorial Museum part 4, 3rd floor

Gurkha Museum entrance
Gurkha Museum entrance

The 3rd floor has information and displays of specialty units within the Gurkha regiments.  In addition, it also has a segment on the Gurkha Singapore police unit.  The museum identifies The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, Queen’s Gurkha Signals, Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, Gurkha Contingent Singapore Police Force and other units.

If you missed parts one, two, and three, you can access them by following the links.

The Queens Gurkha Engineers

The Queens Gurkha Engineers' uniform
The Queens Gurkha Engineers’ uniform

The British government created the Queens Gurkha Engineers in December 1948 in Klaung, Malaya.  The unit contained 300 re-enlisted Gurkha Riflemen.  This Regiment supported infantry riflemen in several operations, but the 2 major ones were Borneo Confrontation, and Unrest in Hong Kong.

The Borneo Confrontation took place between 1962 and 1967.  Brittan developed this regiment to build bridges, landing strips, and landing pads.  Lieutenant Stephens and Lieutenant Thapa ordered the construction of a 1,700-foot-long airstrip.  The regiment finished the airstrip to civil engineering specifications.

Unrest in Hong Kong took place in 1967.  The Queens Gurkha Engineers built a 20-mile-long barbed wire snake fence.  In addition, they built 2 parallel high apron fences that were infilled with 4 lines of Dannert coils.

Queens Gurkha Signals

hand signals
Signals used before there was electronic equipment

The British military assembled Queens Gurkhas Signals in November 1948 in Kuala Lumpur.  They accepted 102 Gurkha men.  Major Gregory separated the men into 3 units Operator wireless and line, Lineman Field Permanent Line, and Dispatch Riders.

Queen’s Gurkha Signals supported many regiments in different operations, but the operation they are best known for was the Borneo Confrontation 1962 to 1965.  Queens Gurkha Signals provided communication between battalion commanders and operation directors. They also built rebroadcast links on mountains to allow units in the jungle to communicate with commanding officers.

Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment

Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment uniform
Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment uniform

Brittan formed Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) in June 1958 in Kluang Malaya.  The British government merged The Queen’s Own Gurkha Transport Regiment, and The Gurkha Transport Regiment, and The Gurkha Army Service Corps to form the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment in April 2001.

Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment supported many regiments in different operations, but the operations they are best known for are Borneo Confrontation 1962 to 1966 and Gulf War 1991.

QOGLR moved into Brunei and Labuan Borneo in 1962 at the start of the conflict.  They commanded over 1000 miles of road and water ways by 1963.  They supplied other regiments with rations, ammunition, batteries, and clothing.

QOGLR entered the Gulf war in 1991.  They assisted ground regiments by driving trucks, ambulances and other support vehicles.

Gurkha Contingent Singapore Police Force

Gurkha Singapore Police Force uniform
Gurkha Singapore Police Force uniform

The British government created the Gurkha Contingent Singapore Police Force (GCSPF) in April 1949 in Duxton Plain Singapore.  Major Scott Leatheart commanded this police force because the Kikh police force deteriorated under Japanese rule.  GCSPF originally had 142 Gurkha members, but it grew to 300 shortly after.

GCSPF is best known for suppressing riots and acts of violence and is known for their discipline, turnout, and bearing.

25 and 9 years of service medal for Gurkha police
25 and 9 years of service medal for Gurkha police

Other Units

Gurkha women working the lines in a dress, flip flops, and hard hat.
Gurkha women working the lines in a dress, flip flops, and hard hat.

Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps

Gurkha women also have a long history of fighting alongside their male counterparts.  They also have many other talents, which they argue they can do better than the men!  One such talent is nursing.  Brittan accepted Gurkha women into the nursing corps in the 60’s. Radha Rawat was the first Gurkha women to be assigned a nursing position.  She retired as a Major in the 80’s.

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw famous quote
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw famous quote
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Gurkha Memorial Museum part 3, 2nd floor Gurkha Rifles

Gurkha Memorial Museum 2nd floor Gurkha Rifles

Gurkha Museum entrance
Gurkha Museum entrance

The second floor of the Gurkha Memorial Museum is dedicated to the Gurkha infantry regiments.  The displays on the second floor consist of uniforms and accessories. In addition to the displays and regiment information, instances of Gurkha bravery and gallantry are highlighted.  If you missed parts one and two of the first floor, you can access them through the provided links.

2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles)

2nd gurkha officer uniform
2nd Gurkha officer uniform

The adjunct general of India asked Lieutenant Frederick Young to lead a group of “irregulars” (hill men).  Young raised the Sirmoor Rifles on April 24, 1815. He collected 1,223 men and arranged them into 10 companies.  They remained in India until 1947 to join the British army.

Before the Sirmoor Rifles left India, they had a major battle in Delhi, which became their defining moment. Hindu soldiers revolted against the British East India Company on May 10th, 1857, because they were given ammo cartridges greased with cow fat, which was against their religion. The Sirmoor Rifles defended against the mutineers for 3 months.  Then with the help of reinforcements, they attacked rebellion stronghold.  The Sirmoor Rifles suppressed the rebellion on September 14th, 1857.

Queen Victoria recognized their bravery and valor and presented them with the Queens Truncheon.

Miniature metals received by the 2nd Gurkha regiment.
Miniature metals received by the 2nd Gurkha regiment.

6th Queen Elizabeth’s own Gurkha Rifles

6th Gurkha Rifles uniform
6th Gurkha Rifles uniform

The 6th Queen Elizabeth’s own Gurkha Rifles (6th Rifles) was originated in Cuttack, Orissa in India.  Captain Simon Frasier created the regiment to help keep order in the area.  The first Gurkha soldier joined the group in 1824 and by 1886 it was solely composed of 656 Gurkhas.

Before the 6th Rifles left India in 1947 to join the British army, they fought the Japanese in WW 2, which was their defining moment.  The 6th Rifles had orders to attack a railroad bridge in Mogaung, Burma. The Japanese had a strong position, which they reinforced with machine guns and bombs.

The 6th Rifles received heavy casualties along with other units. Tulbahadur Pun, one of the last men alive in his section, seized a bren gun and while firing from the hip he charged the Japanese base.  He single-highhandedly captured the base despite a heavy concentration of automatic fire directed at him.  Pun received the Victoria Cross for his bravery.

7th Duke of Edinburgh’s own Gurkha Rifles

Gurkha military patch
Gurkha military patch

The 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s own Gurkha Rifles (7th Rifles) has a mixed history.  It originated in 1902 but didn’t have any Gurkha soldiers until 1959. They moved through north east India and Pakastan for a while and were even converted to a field artillery unit for a short time. This company has 2 defining moments.

The Japanese advanced on Imphal, Bruma in June 1944. The 7th Rifles went to Burma to defend against the Japanese attacks. Japanese’s enforcements used tanks and superior fire power to break through the rear guard at the Tiddim road blockade.  Rifleman Ganju Lama immobilized 3 tanks and killed many enemy soldiers. He received the Victoria Cross for his actions.

Japan stationed 3,000 men in Meiktala, Bhutan. They had a strong position and were effectively fighting the 7th Rifles.  2 Gurkha soldiers, Naik Dalbir Rana and Narbir Pun, charged over open ground firing their rifles at the enemy. As they advanced on a position, 2 Japanese soldiers fled into a nearby building. Narbir Pun chased after the enemy and engaged them with his kukhuri. Pun killed the soldiers then rejoined Rana at the front of the fight.  They defeated the Japanese a short time later.

Pun and Rana received the Victoria Cross for the bravery.

10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles

Metals for Gurkhas in WW 1
Metals for Gurkhas in WW 1

England created the 10th Princess Mary’s own Gurkha Rifles (10th Rifles) in 1890, to support Burma.  After service, the 800-man regiment left Burma and went to Pakistan.  lieutenant colonel MacGregor led the 10th Rifles.

Macgregor deployed the 10th Rifles to Gallipoli to fight Turkey in WW 1.  The 10th Rifles fought the most successful operation of the campaign even though the allied forces eventually had to withdraw from Turkey.  The 10th Rifles engaged the Turkish army and gained 1,000 yards and 5 lines of trenches.  They killed over 10,000 enemy soldiers and wounded 6,000 more. They withdrew from Gallipoli when Turkish reinforcements arrived on July 5th.

Royal Gurkha Rifles

England scaled back its military on July 1st, 1994.  England condensed the Gurkha Rifles in to the Royal Gurkha Rifles, because of budget cuts. They served in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Iraq, and Afghanistan with other UN forces.

Acting Sargent Dipprasad Pun was 1 of 4 men guarding a base in Afghanistan.  The rest of his platoon were off base on assignment.  Pun had sentry duties on the evening of September 17, 2010.  That evening his base was attacked by an unknown number of Afghan guerilla forces.  Pun identified hostile enemies approaching and engaged them with a grenade launcher and automatic fire.  The enemy counter attacked, but Pun anticipated their movements and gained a strategic post.  This occurred three times.  By the end of the fire fight Pun had killed 3 men and made the others retreat.

Pun receiving a metal and recognition.
Pun receiving a metal and recognition.
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Gurkha Museum part 2

Gurkha Memorial Museum part 2

Gurkha Museum entrance
Gurkha Museum entrance

This blog post is a continuation of the Gurkha Memorial Museum.   Part one introduces the museum, its departments and displays.  It also gives a brief history of the museum and Gurkhas before 1857, which is where the museum starts recording the heroic actions of Gurkhas.  Part 2 identifies minor conflicts the Gurkhas were in.  If you haven’t already read part 1, please check it out before continuing to part 2.

The Borneo Operation 1962-1966 aka the Indonesian Confrontation

Borneo Operation
Borneo Operation map

On Dec 8, 1962, the president of Indonesia, President Sukarno, began attacking areas tactical importance in Brunei, which was under the control of Malaya’s prime minister Rahman.  Prime minister Rahman asked the British government for assistance in uniting his country and quelling the invasion. The British sent British and Gurkha troops to fight; Gurkhas beat President Sukarno’s troops in 10 days.

The British and Gurkha forces succeeded in reclaiming the lost ground, but President Sukarno was persistent in his conquests.  In 1963 president Sukarno resorted to gorilla style warfare.  British and Gurkha regiments began patrolling and ambushing enemy units.  The Gurkha and British forces conquered all the Indonesian forces by March 12, 1966. Indonesia and Malaya signed a peace treaty on August 11th.

Permanent base for Gurkhas in England

IN 1972 a Gurkha infantry battalion received a permanent base in Church Crookham England.

Minor engagements

Gurkha Khukri
Gurkha Khukri, a symbol of bravery and ferocity

Gurkha forces went to Belize in 1978 during the Belizean-Guatemalan territorial dispute.  Their jungle warfare skills aided the Belize in defending attacks by Guatemala.  The Gurkha forces remained there for several years.

Gurkha units assisted with the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.  They did not participate in a lot of combat, but they did play a major role in moral support.

The Gurkhas also had a minor role in the 1991 Gulf War. Their engagement was limited to officer attachments and stretcher bearers.

From 1990 to 2002 Gurkha forces were deployed to multiple international destinations to support NATO and United Nation forces.

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Gurkha Memorial Museum

Gurkha Memorial Museum

Gurkha Museum entrance
Gurkha Museum entrance

The Gurkha Memorial Museum was founded to honor the brave men and women who join the Gurkha army.  The museum is sectioned into 3 floors, with each floor becoming increasingly specialized and dedicated to a specific aspect of the Gurkha army.  The 1st floor introduces the people that live in the Gorkha district and a history of the Gurkha military.  The 2nd floor displays the uniforms of different personnel of the Gurkhas. Finally, the museum ends at the 3rd floor, which identifies the specialty groups in the Gorkha regiment, like engineers, signals, and transport regiments.

Instead of telling you about the museum, I will tell you stories exhibited in the museum, which identify acts of bravery by Gurkha soldiers.  It was because of these acts and acts like this, this museum was created.

History of the museum

The museum officially opened in Kathmandu in 1994, with a goal of maintaining records of Gurkha bravery.  At that time the museum was only an archive of information with few military items on display.  By 1998 they received more donations and enlarged their display.  From 1998 to 2000 the museum expanded to 3 rooms after the Gurkha Museum in Britian sent donations.

A major advancement happened in 2004 when Commander Colonel Peter Sharland gave leased land outside of Pokhara to the Gurkha Museum.  The first floor of the new construction was completed and then opened for public in 2005. By 2008, 2 additional stories were added and open to the public.  In 2015 the parking lot was built.

A Brief history of the Gorkha District.

Present day Nepal was created by the war efforts of the Gorkha Kingdom.  In the 16th century Dravya Shah gained control over the Gorkha kingdom by winning a foot race. This is the beginning of the Shah dynasty, which lasted until 2008. After his inauguration, he set his sights on kingdom expansion.  He used Magar warriors to fight battles with neighboring territories.

In the 17th century Dravya’s son gained control of the kingdom and continued its expansion.  At this time, he created the unified kingdom of Gorkha and continued to expand its territory until the Anglo-Gorkha war in 1814.  Though he was defeated by the East India Trading Company, he maintained control of the kingdom.

In 1846 the Shah dynasty was briefly interrupted by the Rana Dynasty, which lasted until 1951.  At this time Matrika Koirala became the prime minister, but after 2 terms he gave control of the country to the Shah rulers.  In 2008, after the murder of the royal family, the country became a constitutional monarchy.

 First floor

The history of the museum begins in 1857 with the engagement of the Sepoy mutiny.  The royal Nepali army, led by a Rana king, assisted the British army commanded by General Campbell for the relief of Lucknow. By 1914 the Gurkha military personnel began to be recognized for their bravery.  The author Sir Ralph Lilley Turner wrote this about the Gurkhas:

“As I write these last words, my thoughts return to you who were my comrades, the stubborn and indomitable peasants of Nepal. Once more I hear the laughter with which you greeted every hardship. Once more I see you in your bivouacs or about your fires, on forced march or in the trenches, now shivering with wet and cold, now scorched by a pitiless and burning sun. Uncomplaining you endure hunger and thirst and wounds; and at the last your unwavering lines disappear into the smoke and wrath of battle. Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you.”

Most of the Gurkha soldiers fought in Turkey, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Iran, Russia, France, and Egypt.

WW1 Gurkha bravery

Rifle, sword, and medals issued to Gurkha soldiers in World War 1
Rifle, sword, and medals issued to Gurkha soldiers in World War 1

This is my favorite story from the WW1 section of the museum:
Rifleman Karanbanadur Rana entered in a firefight with German soldiers on April 10, 1918 in Palestine.  He and a few other rifle men, under enemy fire, encroached upon the German position with a Lewis gun.  Their objective was to take out a machine gun, that had just demolished most of their unit.  When they reached their strategic position, Rana’s comrade opened fire on the machine gunner, but was immediately shot. Rana, without hesitation, moved his fallen comrade aside and began an assault on the enemy objective.  He took down the machine gun team under a hailstorm of counter fire and bombs.  After the machine gun was neutralized, he fought back the enemy riflemen and bombers.

He saved his battalion from heavy losses and remained steady in his pursuits even when his Lewis gun jammed twice.  He received the Victoria Cross from King George V in 1919 for his actions and bravery.

victoria cross medal
Victoria Cross medal


Gurkhas came to arms again after the announcement of the 2nd world war.  They were stationed in Malaya and Burma to defend against Japanese attacks, North Africa to fight Ramel, and later Italy, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.  In total 120,000 men were deployed to the front.  Unfortunately, as it is in war, 20,000 men died during their deployment.

Gurkha soldier

WW 2 rifleman lachhiman Gurung
WW 2 rifleman lachhiman Gurung

This story highlights the bravery and dedication of Gurkha soldiers during the second world war:
Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was stationed in Burma at a strategic location to intercept japaneese persenel as they were moving through the country.  His outpost was one of the fist areas enemy soldiers passed through.  On May 13th, 1945 his platoon was attacked by advancing soldiers.

At 1:20 in the morning the Japanese soldiers began throwing hand gernades into Gurung’s trench. One fell on the ridge lip of the trench; he grabbed it without hesitation and threw it back at the enemy.  Then another grenade landed inside the trench, which he once again fearlessly grabbed it and threw it back.  Just after that, one more grenade landed just outside his trench. As he was reaching to grab it, it blew up, ripping through his hand arm and part of his face.

A short time later the enemy began advancing on his position, where he was the only one still living.  Gurung, still able to fight, began defending his base by shooting and loading his firearm with his left hand. For 4 hours after his injury he prevented the enemy from taking over his position and gaining a tactical advantage on his comrades.

He was evacuated and treated for his injuries when reinforcements arrived.  He regained full health minus his right arm and right eye at the hospital.  After his recovery, he received the Victory Cross on December 19, 1945 for his bravery and actions.

The Malayan Emergency

The Malayan Emergency resulted from the power void left by the evacuation of the Japanese at the end of WW2 (1948-1960).  In short, a rough organic military developed in support of the Malayan Communist Party and to oppose the Federation of Malaya.  6 Gurkha battalions were brought in and by 1957 most of the threat from the Malayan Communist Party.

Gurkha to Gorkha

Because of a tripartite agreement between Britain, Nepal, and India, the Gurkhas were spilt into 2 fractions.  Soldiers going with Britain became Gorkhas, while those staying with India remained Gurkhas.  After this fraction, the Gorkhas and Gurkhas maintained a presence in the many wars that followed.

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