Remember the Gurkhas too

Professor Sir Ralph Lilley Turner, MC, who served with the 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the First World War of 1914-1918, wrote of 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.”

Many Gorkhas of Nepal traditionally returned to their homeland of Nepal following their military service, to resume a life of subsistence farming or labour. The country’s poor infrastructure and lack of welfare system led to a high number of ex-Gorkhas facing destitution. When the extent of their hardship came to light in the late 1960s, officers in the British Army established a charity – The Gurkha Welfare Trust – to ensure that all former soldiers would live out their retirement in dignity.

[H/T Chuckles]

5 comments for “Remember the Gurkhas too

  1. Woody
    November 15, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I live on the Hampshire / Wiltshire border. I’m incredibly happy to see increasing numbers of extended Gurkha families settling in our area. A lot of it thanks to Joanna Lumley I think who campaigned for their right to reside.

  2. November 15, 2016 at 9:35 am

    As I wrote on another blogsite at the time of the luvvy-inspired plan to allow 2000 Gurkhas to resettle in Britain; but which subsequently allowed 10,000 (inclusive of the wider and usually very large families):-

    In amongst all the paeans of praise and joy at the perceived defeat of the Government by Joanna Lumley and the retired Gurkha’s who presumably will all now flock to either Southall or Slough, I don’t hear many small voices of protest against this grotesque Government climbdown from a principled position under heavy fire from an actress less than two years away from her own pension book.

    I am sure we have all read the words and speeches as she badgered, implored, criticised and attacked the Labour Government on behalf of these superannuated mercenaries, primarily on a platform of, “If they fought for Britain, surely they can live in Britain!”

    However, these Gurkhas all knew the whole ballgame when they signed up for service in the Brigade of Gurkhas. They signed up to ‘A Gurkha soldier must be recruited as a Nepali citizen, must serve as a Nepali citizen and must be resettled as a Nepali citizen.’ They also knew and accepted, as terms of service, that their pay would be far less than their British contemporaries, but at the same time it would make them all rich men in terms of Nepalese earnings; and knowing that a typical Gurkha NCO retiring at 33 after 15 years’ service now receives a pension greater than the salary of a Nepalese government minister.

    They were all recruited as Gurkhas, and they all knew that they were recruited as Mercenaries. They did not fight for Britain, they fought for cash! When they advanced against the Argentinian positions, and the Argentinians ran, their reputations had indeed preceded them, but; and it is a big ‘but’, all those Gurkha soldiers weren’t fighting to remove a dictatorship from British soil, I’m afraid they were there for the money!

    Medical attention, yep! Permanent Residence? No way!

    • Mudplugger
      November 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Wholeheartedly agree. The Gurkhas have always been mercenaries, but we seem to shy away from that harsh truth when the mercenaries happen to be on our side. Then when a vociferous, vested interest, celebrity-led campaign is mounted, a weak government caves in just to quell the noise.

      I fully respect the service provided by the Gurkhas for their employers, employers who rewarded them very well, both at the time and in perpetuity in their home environment.

      Yak-herding was always an option, they chose the deal the British Army put on the table, no-one forced them to take it. My father was conscripted to fight, he’d have much preferred the yak-herders’ options to have been available to him too but he had no choice in the matter – who got the best deal ?

  3. November 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    If it was a choice of paying for them or the hordes we are paying for, I’d opt for the former.

    Incidentally, it’s totally irrelevant and forget I even mentioned it but Joanna Lumley, at 35-40 looked uncannily like my WN1 who in turn was not unlike JL in that show with JS. She was a bit of all right if you shut certain things out.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      November 15, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Crikey Jimmy, steady on old stick, now there’s a good fellow!

      Stiff upper lip and all that, what?

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