The Regiment

A short history of the 10th Princess Mary's own Gurkha Rifles

© 1990 by The Regimental Trust 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles.

First published in Great Britain in 1990 by The Regimental Trust 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles.
Minor editing and updating for internet publication 2008.

Researched, written and edited by DF Harding MA FRAS, late 10 GR,
incorporating material from an earlier edition by Maj (later Col) MG Allen for the period 1890-1975.

Contents

  1. Lineage, Badge, and Battle Honours

  2. The Regiment and its origins

  3. First period: 10th Madras Infantry, 1766-1890

  4. The War Services of the 'Old' Regiment, 1766-1890

  5. Second period: Service as a Gurkha Regiment, 1890-1994

  6. The First World War, 1914 to 1918

  7. Between the World Wars

  8. The Second World War, 1939 to 1945

  9. Service in the British Army: 1948 to1994

  10. Appendices
    1. Traditions and Customs of the Regiment

    2. Victoria Cross Citation

    3. Colonels of the Regiment

    4. Commanding Officers

    5. Native Commandants and Subadar-Majors

    6. Casualty Statistics, 1890-1994

    7. Awards for Gallantry and Distinguished Service 1890-1994


1. Lineage, Badge, and Battle Honours [Back to top]

Lineage of the regiment 1766 to 1994


1766 14th Battalion of Coast Sepoys
1767 The Amboor Battalion.
1769 11th Carnatic Battalion.
1770 10th Carnatic Battalion.
1784 10th Madras Battalion.
1796 1st Battalion, 10th Regiment Madras Native Infantry.
1824 10th Regiment Madras Native Infantry.
1885 10th Regiment, Madras Infantry.
1890 10th (Burma) Regiment of Madras Infantry.
1891 10th Regiment (1st Burma Battalion) of Madras Infantry.
1892 10th Regiment (1st Burma Rifles), Madras Infantry
1895 10th Regiment (1st Burma Gurkha Rifles), Madras Infantry.
1901 10th Gurkha Rifles.
1950 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles.


Badge


A bugle horn stringed interlaced with a kukri fessewise the blade to the sinister, above the kukri the cipher of HRH Princess Mary (The Princess Royal) and below it the numeral 10.

Battle honours and honorary badges


The Badge of a Rock Fort for Amboor.
The Badge of an Elephant for Assaye.

AMBOOR, CARNATIC, MYSORE, ASSAYE, AVA, BURMA 1885-87.

The Great War
HELLES, KRITHIA, SUVLA, SARI BAIR, GALLIPOLI 1915, SUEZ CANAL, EGYPT 1915, SHARQAT, MESOPOTAMIA 1916-18.

AFGHANISTAN, 1919.

The Second World War
Iraq 1941, Deir ez Zor, Syria 1941, CORIANO, SANTARCANGELO,
Senio Floodbank, BOLOGNA, Sillaro Crossing, Gaiana Crossing, Italy 1944-45,
Monywa 1942, IMPHAL, TUITUM, Tamu Road, Shenam Pass, Litan, Bishenpur,
TENGNOUPAL, MANDALAY, MYINMU BRIDGEHEAD, Kyaukse 1945,
MEIKTILA, Capture of Meiktila, Defence of Meiktila, Irrawaddy,
RANGOON ROAD, Pegu 1945, Sittang 1945, Burma 1942-45.

(The Honours shown in capitals are those displayed on the drums and officers' crossbelt badges. The Regiment did not carried colours after it became a Rifle Regiment in 1892.)


2. The Regiment and its origins [Back to top]

10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles was one of four Gurkha infantry regiments which served in the Brigade of Gurkhas, as an integral part of the British Army, from 1948 to 1994. The others were 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles, 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles, and 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles, joined later by the Queen's Gurkha Engineers, the Queen's Gurkha Signals and the then Queen's Own Gurkha Transport Regiment. These units maintained a record of Gurkha service to the British Crown dating back to 1815. Yet the history of 10th PMO Gurkha Rifles goes back even further than that, to 1766, when it was raised as part of the Honourable East India Company's Madras Army. Conversion to a Gurkha unit came in 1890, and in 1948, after Indian Independence, the Regiment became part of the British Army proper.

In the early period as a Madras unit the Regiment served in south and central India and in Burma, fighting the French and Dutch as well as the Mysoreans, Mahrattas and many other indigenous opponents. Drafts or volunteers from the Regiment also served in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Amboyna (Indonesia). In 1767, only a year after it was raised, the Regiment became the first sepoy unit to achieve a major success on its own: for its stubborn and strategically vital defence of the fort of Amboor against immense odds it was immediately awarded new colours bearing the word AMBOOR and the badge of a Rock Fort, which constituted the first battle honour or honorary distinction ever granted to any unit of the British Indian armies (those for earlier battles were all awarded retrospectively many years later). When the honour ASSAYE and the badge of an Elephant were added in 1803 the Regiment is believed to have become the first in the British Indian Armies to carry honours for two battles.

During the 104 years as a Gurkha unit after 1890 the Regiment far surpassed its earlier achievements, serving in peace or war in Belize, Borneo, Brunei, Burma, Cyprus, Egypt, French Indo-China (Cambodia and Vietnam), Gallipoli (Turkey), Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Italy, Java, Lebanon, Malaya, Palestine, Persia (Iran), Singapore, Syria, and the United Kingdom. In the First World War the Regiment served with immense gallantry and fortitude at Gallipoli, and took a full part in the final defeat of the Turks in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). In the Second World War the Regiment served principally in Burma and Italy, and its record in terms of time spent in action and numbers of gallantry awards won was second to none in the Indian Army. After the War it further enhanced its name in Malaya and Borneo, leading the field in tactical innovation and operational successes, and winning its first Victoria Cross.

Throughout its history the Tenth lived up to the saying that `the Regiment is for service and not for show'.



3. First period: 10th Madras Infantry, 1766-1890 [Back to top]

The Regiment was raised at Vellore in south India in June 1766 as the `14th Battalion of Sepoys on the Honourable East India Company's Establishment of Fort St George on the Coast of Coromandel' C or the 14th Battalion of Coast Sepoys. The `Establishment of Fort St George', better known as the Madras Army, was one of three distinct armies maintained on behalf of Britain by the East India Company until 1858, and thereafter directly by the British Crown.

The raising of the Regiment was carried out by Colonel Donald Campbell of Glensaddell, the officer commanding Vellore garrison, and when recruiting was complete Captain Mathias Calvert of the 2nd Madras European Regiment (and formerly of His Majesty's 36th Foot and 89th or Morris's Highlanders) was appointed the first Commanding Officer. The total strength was one thousand, including three British officers and several British sergeants. There were ten companies, including two `flank companies' of grenadiers.

Class composition of the 'old' Regiment



Indian officers and men of 10th Madras Native Infantry at Secunderabad, 1860, showing

old and new uniforms - best seen in the figures at far left (old) and far right (new)

In the earliest years the native Indian officers and men were a mixture, in proportions that varied over the years, of Hindus of all castes and Muslims, with a few Indian Christians. Some spoke Tamil as their first language, some Telegu, and some Hindustani, the latter being the `lingua franca' used by British Officers. All were required to live and work together without letting caste or religion interfere with their military duty. The Tenth recruited its men partly from the areas where it happened to be stationed, partly from the central Carnatic region around Vellore, and partly from among the sons of native Indian soldiers and officers. The sons were hardened to army life, as all the Madras sepoys' families lived with the Regiment and in the 18th century even went on campaign, thus creating a strong family tradition in the unit. The fact that many Madras sepoys were classed as `Rajpoots' has led to the mistaken idea that the men were recruited in Rajputana in northern India, but in the early days this term simply referred to Hindus of the warrior caste, the second grade in Hindu society.

Many officers of the British Army who served in India in the 18th century, including the Duke of Wellington, preferred Madras sepoys above all others then enlisted by the British. One such officer wrote:

`The discipline of the Coast Troops is infinitely superior to that of [Bengal] ... The military appearance under arms, the precision in manoeuvre and the attention on duty of many of their Battalions do them infinite honour. The Sepoys are not in general men of high caste. Their religion does not interfere with any part of discipline. They are hardy little men, and undergo severe duty with cheerfulness. Their courage is more an effect of discipline, & of confidence in their European officers, than the fire of innate prowess.'

Madras troops played the major role in defeating the French, Mysoreans and Mahrattas (the opponents who came closest to destroying British power in India) and the Madras Army remained loyal in the great Mutiny of 1857-59, keeping half of India tranquil at that crucial time. The 10th Madras Native Infantry was one of the most distinguished regiments of that loyal Army. Yet, by the late 1880s it was considered that for complex reasons Madras sepoys (as also the men traditionally recruited by the Bengal and Bombay Armies) could no longer compete in soldierly qualities with troops from more recently available classes, such as Gurkhas, Sikhs and Punjabi Muslims.

Whatever the earlier services of the Madras sepoys, or the reasons for their replacement, it is impossible to regret a change in personnel which bestowed on the Tenth that incomparable privilege and honour, of being a Gurkha Regiment.

19th Century Drum Major's mace depicting the Honorary Badges of an Elephant and a Rock Fort The Mahabir Swami stone from the Battalion Temple, depicting the god Hanuman and surrounded by successive Regimental badges.
The Mahabir Swami stone from the Battalion Temple, depicting the god Hanuman and surrounded by successive Regimental badges.

4. The War Services of the 'Old' Regiment, 1766-1890 [Back to top]

The First Mysore War, 1767-69

The Regiment first went to war in April 1767, within a year of being raised. The enemy was the usurper of Mysore, Hyder Ali Khan, his son Tippoo Sahib, and their ally, the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Under Captain Calvert the Regiment took part in the consolidation of the Palar river valley (April-June 1767), seizing the forts of Vaniambaddy and Amboor on its own and joining other units in the capture of Cauverypatam and the abortive siege of Kistnagherry. After Hyder Ali invaded the Carnatic the Regiment took part in the two main field engagements of the war. At Changamah (2nd September 1767) it was chosen by General Joseph Smith to lead the whole army in a desperate battle of disengagement, and three times it repulsed attacks by 6,000 enemy cavalry. The following day it was again selected to clear the road ahead for the whole force, and marched for 27 hours with only one short break. A few days later the army was in danger of starving until Calvert and his battalion brought in a convoy of three days' worth of rice from 60 miles away, evading a strong force under Tippoo Sahib, and thus allowing Smith to bring the enemy to battle again near Trinomally (26th September 1767) when Hyder Ali and the Nizam were soundly defeated.

At Calvert's request his Battalion was sent to garrison Amboor on the frontier, while the rest of the army returned to barracks to shelter from the monsoon. Before the rains were over Hyder Ali and the Nizam suddenly captured the outpost at Vaniambaddy and on 10th November 1767 besieged Amboor itself. For a month Calvert with his headquarters and about 500 men of the Battalion held at bay the entire combined armies of Mysore and Hyderabad, numbering in the region of 50,000 fighting men, so allowing the British time to re-form their field army and counter-attack. Calvert and his men overcame treachery from supposed allies within, successfully withdrew from the lower fort to the main citadel on the rock, withstood a bombardment from 27 cannon lasting thirteen days and nights, repulsed or pre-empted several probing attacks, and remained defiantly unimpressed when Hyder Ali set his vast armies in motion, with all their elephants, camels and horses, as if to make a grand assault. Calvert turned down with increasing scorn several summonses to surrender, and when Hyder then tried to tempt him with fabulous bribes, threatened to hang the next messenger. Hyder and the Nizam withdrew their forces at last on 6th December, helped on their way by an aggressive dawn sally by the defenders and by the approach of the British relief force, which finally arrived on the 7th.

The defence of Amboor was the most spectacular success so far achieved by British sepoys in India, and a new honour was devised for the battalion which had carried it out. On 16th December 1767, barely a week after the end of the siege, it was announced that the 14th Battalion would be given the title of `The Amboor Battalion' and be presented with `Colours suitable to the occasion'. The colours evidently bore the word `Amboor' and a badge depicting the fort on its domed rock (Battle Honour `AMBOOR' and Badge of a Rock Fort). Although earlier actions were later commemorated by retrospective battle honours, it remains a fact that Amboor was the first honour actually awarded to any unit of the British Indian armies, and it may also pre-date all battle honours currently carried by British Army regiments. In addition to financial rewards for many of the officers and men, Subadar Mooden Saib the `Native Commandant' was accorded the honour of being conveyed by palanquin at Government expense for the rest of his life, so making him one of the Madras Army's first `Palanquin Subadars'.

During the invasion of Mysore which followed the success at Amboor, the headquarters and six companies of the Battalion took part in the Siege of Venkatigherry (12th-17th June 1768), and Calvert and two companies captured the fort of Peddanaiguedurgam (circa 18th June 1768). On the night of 22nd June 1768 Calvert and his six companies used an astute stratagem or ruse to seize the spectacular and strategically important fort of Mulbagal, which had been considered too strong to besiege. At the end of the campaign the Battalion took part in the Defence of Colar (circa March 1769), and was among the last British units to withdraw from enemy territory. By any standards the First Mysore War had been a spectacular debut for the Regiment.

In the 1770s the Regiment took part in four memorable sieges, starting with the First Siege of Tanjore (22nd September to 27th October 1771). In 1772 it was at the Siege of Ramnad and four companies served in the final storming party (2nd June 1772). The following year it was at the Second Siege of Tanjore, which ended in a successful assault on 17th September 1773. The latter two sieges earned prize money for the officers and men. After a peaceful few years spent mostly in garrison at Amboor, in 1778 the Regiment fought the French at the Siege of Pondicherry (8th August to 17th October 1778), the second of three occasions on which France's main stronghold in India fell to the British.

The Second Mysore War, 1780-84

This war (Battle Honour `CARNATIC' awarded retrospectively in 1889) was perhaps the bitterest in which the old Regiment ever took part. The sepoys' home area of the Carnatic was cruelly laid waste by the enemy, the men were often in doubt as to the safety of their families, their pay was always many months in arrears, food was scarce, and the tide of war often seemed to flow against the British. In spite of everything the men remained loyal.

In November 1780 a detachment of three companies decisively beat off an attack by 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry while on the way to take possession of the fort at Shevelliputur (Action on the Shevelliputur Road). In February 1781 three companies (with support from other troops) defeated the enemy in three separate Actions at Trimungalum, Triviarum, and Sholavandan. There followed two unsuccessful assaults on the forts of Tricatapully and Putoocottah in August 1781, by a force of which the Tenth was a part. Fortunes revived later that year when the Regiment was part of a force which carried out the Assault of Manargudi (8th September 1781), the Capture of Mahadavypatam (16th September 1781) and the hard-fought Action at Alangudi (30th September 1781). There followed service against the Dutch, including the Capture of the Negapatam Redoubts (29th October 1781) and the Capture of Negapatam itself (11th November 1781).

In February 1782, 300 men of the Regiment were in a force which was surprised by Tippoo Sahib with a large army, and after 26 hours of desperate fighting on open ground against infantry, cavalry and artillery, without food, water or rest, the British force was obliged to surrender (Brathwaite's defeat at Annagudi, 17th-18th February 1782). Some of the men escaped, but others, with three British officers and three sergeants, suffered severely as prisoners of war in the infamous dungeons of Seringapatam, and many died before release came in 1784.

In April 1782 the Regiment carried out the successful Storming of Tiruvalur, killing 100 enemy and capturing 300. Detachments of the Regiment are believed to have been present at the Action near Combaconum (1st July 1782), and also in the Campaign in the Terioor Country (August 1782) including a victory over a force of 7,000 enemy. In 1782 the Indian Christian and out-caste men were drafted into a force for an expedition against the Dutch in Ceylon, and took part in the captures of Trincomallee (5th January 1782) and Fort Ostenburgh (11th January 1782).

The Third Mysore War, 1790-92

At the outbreak of the Third Mysore War (Battle Honour `MYSORE' awarded retrospectively in 1889) the Regiment was part of a force sent to support the Rajah of Travancore against Tippoo Sahib. When the war became general the force marched across southern India, reaching Coimbatore in time to deny it to Tippoo, and joined the main field army. The Regiment was in Lord Cornwallis's Grand Army at or in support of the Siege of Bangalore (5th-21st March 1791). It took part in the Siege and Storming of Nundy Droog (22nd September to 17th October 1791), an immensely strong hill-fort in Mysore, and the Flank Companies formed part of the successful storming party.

From 1796 to 1801 many men served in a force which was sent to capture the Dutch islands of Amboyna, Banda and Ternate in the Moluccas, between Borneo and New Guinea. On their return to the Regiment in India they received honorary arm badges inscribed Amboyna, in recognition of five years' voluntary unaccompanied service in the remotest places ever garrisoned by the Madras Army.

In 1799 the Regiment (now 1st Battalion 10th Madras Native Infantry) together with two companies of its 2nd Battalion, was sent to oppose the Rajah of Kimedy who had severed communications between Madras and Calcutta by overrunning a large area on the eastern coast of India. This Campaign in Ganjam was the only occasion on which both battalions went on active service together. Further service in this part of India followed for 1/10 MNI in 1802 in a little-known Campaign in Goomsoor.

The Second Mahratta War, 1803-04

In 1803 1/10 MNI served in the Second Mahratta War under Arthur Wellesley (later the 1st Duke of Wellington). It joined the field army on 26th August after marching 350 miles in just 19 days with a large convoy of supplies and money. At the end of a day's march on 23rd September 1803 Wellesley suddenly came upon the huge and effective Mahratta army near the village of Assaye, and despite having only half the British force with him, immediately attacked. His battalions assaulted over open ground in echelon, with 78th Highlanders first and 1/10 MNI next as the leading sepoy unit, and smashed straight through a line of Mahratta infantry and cannon a mile long. Despite suffering thirty percent casualties the British force won one of the most important battles ever fought by the British in India (Battle Honour `ASSAYE' and Badge of an Elephant awarded 1803). This was the first of Wellington's long series of victories, and he is said to have regarded it as his best. 1/10 MNI also took part in the Battle of Argaum (29th November 1803) and in the Siege and Storming of Gawilghur (10th-15th December 1803). The addition of the honour `ASSAYE' to the earlier one for `AMBOOR' is believed to have made the Regiment the first in the Indian armies to carry two battle honours.

In the years following the Second Mahratta War 1/10 MNI served in a number of minor campaigns which called for remarkable speed and stamina in marching. In 1804 a detachment of 100 men served in a force under Wellesley which marched 60 miles (the last 42 in a single forced march of 14 hours) and then fought the successful Action at Munkaisir (4th February 1804) against freebooters. In 1808 detachments of 1/10 MNI were present in a force which marched 100 miles in 48 hours and routed the chief Bungush Khan and his 4,000 to 5,000 men in the Action at Amulnair (28th December 1808), a feat which earned special praise from the Governor General of India, and a share of prize money for the officers and men involved. The following year the whole Battalion was sent as part of a strong force to effect the Occupation of Seronge (1809-10), an expedition which involved a total march of some 1,000 miles to a latitude well north of Calcutta. In 1811-12 1/10 MNI spent about a year serving in the Campaign in Palcondah near the east coast, and at one stage had over 500 men sick with fever, as they were not acclimatised to this notoriously unhealthy part of India.

In March 1814 five companies of 1/10 MNI were part of a force sent to quell disturbances in the Zemindary of Kimedy, a service consisting of much hill and jungle work. In 1815 the Battalion moved north to garrison Cuttack so as to release Bengal Army units for service in the Nepal War. More service in jungle hills followed, including the Quelling of Hill Zemindars in the Northern Circars (1817-18). At about the same time 1/10 MNI was involved peripherally in the Third Mahratta War or Pindarry Campaign, being called out during 1817-18 to oppose bands of marauding Pindarries (Mahratta freebooters) in Guntoor and Palnad (1817-18), and serving with a Field Force in the Southern Mahratta Country in 1819.

The First Burma War, 1824-26

In 1824 the First Burma War (Battle Honour `AVA' awarded 1826) broke out, and 1/10 MNI (soon to become 10 MNI, a single-battalion Regiment once more) was selected for the campaign in Arracan (Arakan) on the Burmese coast. It willingly sailed from Madras to Chittagong, despite caste restrictions on crossing the `kalo pani'. After the force had made a long march through difficult and malarial country, 170 men of the Regiment took part in an armed reconnaissance up the Koladyne or Arakan river, culminating in an attack on the Chumbilla or Chanballa Stockade (23rd February 1825). The Regiment then took part in the Storming of the hills before Arracan, the local capital (29th March 1825), and on the night of 31st March 1825 the City of Arracan itself was stormed by a force which included the Light and Grenadier Companies of the Regiment. In April-May 1825 10 MNI was in a force sent to take possession of Ramree Island and Mahattee, further south along the coast. So bad was the climate that at one time only 40% of the Regiment was fit for duty, and the Tenth's 151 deaths in the campaign were chiefly due to disease. For the unit's fortitude, and for repeatedly serving afloat in spite of caste restrictions, special rewards of rank and money were conferred on the Subadar-Major, senior Subadar and others. For his command of the brigade which included the Tenth, Lt Col Alexander Fair became the first officer of the Regiment to be awarded the CB (Commander of the Military Order of the Bath).

In 1835 the Regiment was sent by sea from Madras to quell disturbances in jungle areas of Goomsoor (Campaign in Goomsoor, 1835-36), as part of a force under command of Brigadier General H.G.A. Taylor (later General Sir Henry Taylor GCB), a former Adjutant of 10 MNI and its Colonel since 1828.

The Regiment did not serve in the Second Burma War of 1852, but was posted to Rangoon from 1855 to 1858. This was its first peacetime overseas posting, and the silver Mess Centrepiece depicting the Shwe Dagon Pagoda (the most famous landmark in Rangoon) is believed to commemorate this event.

From May to September 1868 four companies of the Regiment served in the suppression of the Rebellion of the Cuttack Tributary Mehals. 1872-75 saw the Regiment back in Burma, stationed at Tonghoo (Toungoo) on the Sittang River, an area where it was to serve again in 1942 and 1945. In 1879-80 the Tenth saw active service again in suppressing the Rumpa Rebellion in Rajahmundry, moving from Madras and back again by sea.

The Third Burma War, 1885-87

In 1887 the Regiment embarked at Madras once again, this time for service in the Third Burma War and its aftermath (Battle Honour `BURMA 1885-7' awarded 1891). The Tenth served in detachments at many small posts in Upper Burma, including the Kubo or Kabaw Valley, a place with many associations for the Regiment in its later history. The Regiment gave a good account of itself in three particular actions. In April-May 1887 30 men defended the post at Sidotia against 300 enemy under Boh Shway (the principal leader of the dacoits or rebels). From 20th December 1888 to 6th January 1889 150 men defended Gangaw against 2,000 to 3,000 rebels and Chin tribesmen and kept the rebellion from spreading to the South. On the 31st December 1888 a convoy of 60 men was ambushed at Mozo by a considerable body of rebels, suffering six killed and 11 severely wounded, but the jemadar in command coolly and courageously extricated his men with all the wounded and their arms. Two privates were promoted for gallantry in bringing reinforcements from a post nine miles away. This was destined to be the Regiment's last campaign as a Madrassi unit.


5. Second period: Service as a Gurkha Regiment, 1890-1994 [Back to top]

The changes of 1890

In 1890 it was decided to reorganise several regiments of Madras Infantry for permanent service in newly annexed Upper Burma, and the Tenth was one of the first to be selected. It was intended to be an all-Gurkha unit as soon as enough recruits were available. Only two British officers who had already served with the Regiment remained. All the Indian officers and men were dispersed to other Madras regiments or pensioned, and they were replaced by the men of the Kubo Valley Military Police Battalion. This unit had been formed in 1887, and had seen active service in Burma in 1887-89. It was composed chiefly of Gurkhas with some Assamese and other classes, although the non-Gurkhas were soon phased out, as drafts of recruits arrived from east Nepal. Despite this radical change from Madrassi to Gurkha personnel the Regiment retained its identity and seniority, it being ruled by the highest authorities in London, Calcutta and Madras that it was to keep its number and place in the Madras Line, its colours, Battle Honours, precedence, mess silver and funds. The official `Record of the Regiment' was also retained and is still preserved today. In an act of moving generosity the Hindu Madrassi sepoys voluntarily handed on to their Hindu Gurkha successors their cherished carved stone image of Hanuman the Monkey-God, known traditionally as Bajranga Bali or Mahabir Swami. It became customary for the Gurkha recruits symbolically to touch the Mahabir Swami Flag on making their oath of loyalty, and the ancient carving is still revered in the Battalion Temple of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

The reorganised Regiment's title underwent several rapid changes. Notably in 1892 it became a Rifle unit, and as Rifle regiments do not carry colours the colours were laid up in St John's Church, Vellore Fort, where the Regiment had first been raised. In 1895 the title became 10th Regiment (1st Burma Gurkha Rifles), Madras Infantry, which reflected its origins, location and composition. In 1901 the title finally became 10th Gurkha Rifles, after the old Madras, Bengal and Bombay designations were abolished. It should be noted that the Regiment chose to retain the number `Ten' because of its historic origins: it did not indicate that it was the junior Gurkha regiment. In fact the Indian Army Lists of the period show it as the most senior of the Gurkha regiments. In 1903 the Regiment voluntarily ceased to carry its old Honours and Distinctions, thus effectively putting on ice the connections with the pre-1890 period, and leading a few years later to the lapse of the precedence formerly enjoyed as one of the oldest surviving regiments of the Indian Army. Appreciation of the earlier history and its potential importance increased from the 1930s onwards, and led eventually to an application to resume carrying the old pre-1890 Honours, the necessary permission being graciously granted by Her Majesty The Queen in March 1988.

It is notable that the Regiment carried its pre-1890 honours for 13 years after 1890, the title `Madras Infantry' for 11 years, and enjoyed its old seniority for over 15 years. Many other units converted into Punjab infantry continued to enjoy their heritage in spite of changes identical to those undergone by the Tenth.

The men: the Gurkhas of Eastern Nepal

Gurkhas have served the British since 1815, when mutual admiration of the two peoples' military qualities led to the formation of Gurkha units in the East India Company's service even before the end of the Anglo-Nepal War of 1814-16. The 19th century saw a steady increase in the numbers of Gurkha regiments, especially after their loyalty and fighting skills were proven in opposing the great Mutiny of the Bengal Army in 1857. The Gurkha regiments formed part of that Army and chiefly consisted of men from western Nepal and adjacent hills. The conversion of the Regiment into a Gurkha unit in 1890 was novel in two ways: it made it the first Gurkha unit of the Madras Army, and it led to special and much cherished links with East Nepal.

The Tenth was the first regiment to recruit Eastern Gurkhas in preference to all others, and it fathered the only other unit to do so, namely 7th Gurkha Rifles. Eastern or Kiranti Gurkhas had long been present in limited numbers in the older Gurkha regiments, but from the dispatch of its very first recruiting party in October 1890 the Tenth actively sought men of the Rai and Limbu jats (or clans) from the east of Nepal, with smaller numbers from the Sunwar, Tamang, eastern Gurung and Magar (Thapa) jats. Limbus share one tribal language whilst the Rais have many, yet in the army all speak one common language, Gurkhali. The Easterners' homes are scattered among the fields rather than gathered in tight villages as in West Nepal, and this is found to give them a more reserved and independent nature. They have in full measure the personal qualities of humour, loyalty, directness and honesty that have always ensured a special bond of trust and affection with their British officers. In war they are unsurpassed in their resilience, physical stamina, bravery and disciplined aggression, and are counted by many as the world's best and most natural infantrymen.

Service in Burma, 1890-1916

The reorganised Regiment soon had its first experience of active service, when from February to May 1891 a large detachment of officers and men formed part of the Wuntho Field Force in a punitive expedition in the Shan Hills of Upper Burma. In April-May 1892 a detachment accompanied the Lushai Relief Column. Between October 1892 and March 1893 the whole Regiment served in the Chin Hills campaign, when Havildar Haraksing Gurung won the Regiment's first Indian Order of Merit (IOM), which at that time was the highest award open to Gurkhas. Haraksing skilfully extricated his men from a Chin ambush near Pozo on 9th October 1892, and they then held a superior force of enemy at bay for several hours while runners were sent for reinforcements. Of the three DSOs awarded in this campaign, all went to British Officers of the Regiment.

In 1891 the Regiment was first stationed at Maymyo, in the hills not far from Mandalay. In 1897 Maymyo was recognised as the Regiment's permanent home and was soon built up into a delightful hill-station where training and many kinds of sport could be enjoyed in a fine climate. Soldiers often settled nearby after `going on pension', thus forming communities of Burma-domiciled Gurkhas which in their turn furnished willing recruits. In the years leading up to the First World War the Regiment (or 1st Battalion, as it became in 1902) sometimes served away from Maymyo on internal security duties, particularly at Keng Tung near the Chinese border.

The raising of 2nd Battalion

In 1902 a new Gurkha unit was formed in Burma, partly from officers and men of the Tenth. Initially designated 8th Gurkha Rifles, in 1903 it voluntarily became 2nd Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles, and remained as such until 1907, when it was redesignated as 7th Gurkha Rifles (from 1959, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles). A fresh 2nd Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles was then raised at Fategarh in India on 19th September 1908 by Major G.H.C. Colomb from a wing of 1st Battalion. From this period until the end of British rule in India in 1947 the Gurkha Brigade of the old Indian Army comprised ten Gurkha regiments, each with two peacetime battalions.

2nd Battalion spent its early years in India and established its own home base at Takdah in the hills near Darjeeling. In 1911 it had the honour of performing ceremonial duties at the great Delhi Durbar, when King George V and Queen Mary were crowned as Emperor and Empress of India and received the homage of the Indian princes. In 1912 it took part in the arduous repatriation of Chinese forces from southern Tibet and China, and in 1913-14 it served on internal security duties in and around Dacca.


6. The First World War, 1914 to 1918 [Back to top]

2nd Battalion in WW1


Men of 2nd Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles on Sari Bair ridge, Gallipoli August 1915.

White arm bands were worn to identify of British troops.

In June 1915 the Battalion was sent to Gallipoli, where (with 1/5 GR, 1/6 GR and 14th Sikhs as 29th Indian Infantry Brigade, later joined by 1/4 GR) it was to endure with immense bravery and fortitude what was probably the most murderously difficult fighting ever experienced by the Regiment (Battle Honour `GALLIPOLI 1915'). In the Battle of Gully Ravine (28th June to 2nd July 1915; Battle Honours `HELLES' and `KRITHIA') the Battalion took part in the most successful set-piece attack of the campaign, helping take five lines of Turkish trenches. Casualties were heavy, particularly in British officers, until on 1st July only three subalterns remained with the unit. Under the command of these young men and the surviving Gurkha officers, the Battalion held on to all its gains, and in repulsing many desperately brave Turkish counter-attacks the division of which it was part inflicted a massive 16,000 casualties on the enemy, including 10,000 dead.

After a spell of rest, reinforcement and retraining on the island of Imbros, the battalion re-embarked on 5th August to take part in the key offensive of the campaign, to capture the commanding heights of the Sari Bair ridge which dominated the crucial straits beyond (Battle Honour `SARI BAIR'). After a near impossible approach march on the night of 6th/7th August, over unreconnoitred and extremely difficult ground, Battalion HQ and two Double Companies found themselves on Rhododendron Ridge C to the right of their intended objective, but closer to the summit than any unit of their column. Together with a Double Company of 1/5 GR they joined the New Zealand Brigade in the only close attack of the opening day, assaulting Chunuk Bair, the southern summit of the ridge. This and subsequent attacks over the next four days were supremely gallant, but costly and unsuccessful, because the Turks had brought machine guns and many reinforcements up to the summit. On 10th August the British force was driven back part way down the ridge after a desperate hand-to-hand battle. In the four day battle for Sari Bair the Battalion suffered 268 casualties including 89 killed, the heaviest battle casualties ever suffered by the Regiment in such a short period.

In late August and September 1915 the Battalion took part in more attacks further north (Battle Honour `SUVLA'), particularly on 21st August 1915 at Hill 60, when it attacked entrenched positions across open ground and held its objective at Susak Kuyu until the attack as a whole failed. In November it endured in open trenches the great blizzard, which, coming immediately after heavy rain, caused the battalion 447 casualties from frostbite and exposure. In December the whole British force was withdrawn from Gallipoli, and 2nd Battalion moved via Egypt and Mesopotamia to Burma. Thus ended a harrowing campaign in which the Regiment can be said to have come of age, having proved itself in all-out modern warfare in Europe. A silver centrepiece depicting the Memorial to the Missing at Cape Helles commemorates the Gallipoli campaign in the British Officers' Mess.

1st Battalion in WW1


Under the system in force in 1914 only one battalion of the Regiment could go overseas, while the other remained at garrison duty and provided reinforcements. Thus when 2nd Battalion sailed to Egypt in 1914, 1st Battalion stayed at its permanent base at Maymyo in Burma. Nevertheless it took part in the Kachin Hills campaign in Upper Burma in the winter of 1914-15.


In August 1916, on the arrival of 2nd Battalion at Maymyo from Gallipoli, 1st Battalion set sail from Rangoon for Mesopotamia, and was destined to be engaged on active service in that theatre until and beyond the end of the war in 1918 (Battle Honour `MESOPOTAMIA 1916-18'). In the final stages of the campaign the Battalion distinguished itself in the extremely arduous advance by 17th Division along the River Tigris near the Fathah Gorge. In the Battle of Mushaq (25th-26th October 1918) after an advance of 17 miles on the rocky Jebel Makhul ridge, it made gallant attacks on strongly prepared defences. The Turks abandoned this position to avoid being cut off, and in the subsequent follow-up northwards near Sharqat the Battalion formed the advance guard to 51 Brigade. On 29th October, after advancing steadily across a broken plateau and driving back the enemy by skilful use of cover, a turning movement by one company brought the Battalion close to the enemy's main position and it held this newly won ground. It then joined in an attack by three fresh battalions and helped repel a fierce and well-timed Turkish counter-attack. Darkness then fell and the battle died down to sporadic firing. After a six days' advance of over 60 miles with minimal food and water, the entire British force was close to exhaustion. But the enemy had been pressed even harder, and at first light on 30th October white flags appeared along the Turkish positions, and the long war in Mesopotamia was over. The Turks, who had been so formidable an enemy at Gallipoli, had been defeated, and over 11,000 of them surrendered. In this decisive advance, known overall as the Battle of Sharqat, the Battalion suffered 110 casualties and earned the Battle Honour `SHARQAT'. The Mess centrepiece of an Assyrian man-lion on a cenotaph commemorates this campaign.

In 1917 2nd Battalion moved from Burma to the North West Frontier, where it served for the rest of the war and trained drafts for 1st Battalion and other regiments.

1st Battalion Mess Centrepiece commemorating the Mesopotamia Campaign, 1916-18.

After the Armistice in November 1918 1st Battalion remained in the Middle East for another three years and saw further active service in opposing the Arab Rebellion in Kurdistan (23rd May to 6th December 1919) and Iraq (10th December 1919 to 17th November 1920). A particularly gallant action took place at Umm Nijiris in Iraq on 18th-19th July 1920, when the Battalion saved an exhausted British and Indian column by dislodging the enemy from possession of the only source of drinkable water, by means of two gallant attacks across a river in temperatures of 125 degrees.

Three other facts deserve mention about the First World War. Firstly, drafts of officers and men from the Regiment served with other Gurkha units. In France and Flanders in 1915, two serving (and two former) British officers and 21 Gurkhas were killed and an unknown number wounded and taken prisoner, chiefly with 2/8 GR. Rifleman Panche Rai won the IDSM with 2/8 GR in the trenches. In 1917-18 at least 14 Gurkhas from the Regiment died on service with other units in Egypt and Palestine. Secondly, on 15th September 1915 the Regiment suffered its worst casualties ever in a single day when between 194 and 207 Gurkha officers and men from both Battalions were lost when the German submarine U-35 (based at an Austrian Adriatic port and the most successful U-boat of either World War) sank the troopship SS Ramazan near Crete on the way to Gallipoli. Thirdly, the many cross-postings of officers and men between the two Battalions both in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia began to foster a strong sense of Regimental spirit, forged through the shared hardships of war.


7. Between the World Wars [Back to top]

In 1921 the Depot of 1st Battalion left Maymyo for the last time, and the Regiment took its place in India with the other Regiments of the Gurkha Brigade. Both battalions rotated between stations such as Chaman, Quetta and Fort Sandeman in Baluchistan on the North West Frontier, and Shillong in Assam, on the other side of India. 2nd Battalion participated in the Third Afghan War (Battle Honour `AFGHANISTAN 1919'), experiencing the Frontier routine of picquetting high ground to cover the line of march (the origin of the `Khud Race' at which the Regiment excelled ever after) and supporting the attack on the Afghan fort at Spin Baldak (27th May 1919). In June 1919 a draft of recruits in transit from 1st Battalion in Burma to 2nd Battalion on the NW Frontier was ambushed near Fort Sandeman and lost 28 men dead in a rearguard action. When hostilities officially ceased in August 1919 more than twenty years were to elapse before the Regiment again saw active service, although from 1923 to 1926 both Battalions were engaged in minor internal security operations in near active service conditions on the North West Frontier.


8. The Second World War, 1939 to 1945 [Back to top]

The Regiment's service in the Second World War is the summit of its achievement so far, and undoubtedly constitutes the most important contribution it has made to the success of British arms. This fact was recognised after the war by the granting of the Royal honour title `Princess Mary's Own'.

1st and 2nd Battalions were joined in 1940-41 by 3rd and 4th, and the high standards and great successes which these wartime Battalions achieved furnish eloquent proof of the quality and maturity of the Regiment as a whole. All Battalions saw much heavy fighting, 1st, 3rd and 4th in Burma and 2nd in the Middle East and Italy. There is no doubt that, fine as the record of the Regiment had been prior to 1939, the successes achieved in World War II raised its fighting reputation to a new height in the Gurkha Brigade and throughout the Indian Army. In 1946 Lieutenant General Sir Francis Tuker KCIE CB DSO OBE (late 2 GR), one of the Gurkha Brigade's most distinguished and successful officers, wrote to the CO of 4th Battalion to thank him for the presentation of a captured Japanese sword:

`In 1938 I remember prophesying to a friend that if there was another war the 10th Gurkhas would make its name. I think that the brilliant success of your Regiment in this war is really the most satisfactory feature in the Gurkha Brigade's exploits, and it is an achievement on which I personally wish now to take the opportunity of congratulating you all. This Japanese sword will always remind me of the entry of the 10th Gurkhas into the bright fame that the Regiment has for so long deserved, and which I have felt so certain lay in store for you.'

It is a matter of great pride that the flag of 17th Indian Division was presented to 1st Battalion in 1944 by Major General D.T. Cowan CBE DSO MC (late 6 GR) in recognition of the part the Battalion played in the defence of Tuitum Ridge and during the siege of Imphal, and also that the flag of 20th Indian Division was presented at the end of the war by General Sir Douglas Gracey KBE CB DSO MC (late 1 GR) to 4th Battalion, which he considered to be the outstanding battalion in his Division. During World War II 10th Gurkha Rifles surpassed all other Gurkha regiments in the total time spent in action against the Germans and Japanese, and in the number of gallantry awards won by its four Battalions. This was inevitably reflected in the Regiment's casualties, which, at a total of 1,012 dead and 1,958 wounded, was exceeded in the whole Indian Army only by the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles. Over 1,000 of those casualties were suffered in the battles for Imphal, in which 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions all took part. From the strategic importance of the fighting and the scale of the Regiment's involvement, `IMPHAL' can be regarded as 10th Gurkhas Rifles' most important Battle Honour.

The Regimental Centre


Between the wars the question of a permanent home and Regimental Centre for the Tenth was raised, it being the only Gurkha regiment without such a base. In 1940 a Regimental Centre (10 GRRC) was established at Happy Valley, Shillong, in NE India, and in 1943 this was moved to Alhilal in the Himalayan foothills north of the Punjab. It was here that the recruits and officers of the Regiment were trained before being despatched as reinforcements to the four active Battalions. The Centre also provided 300 muleteers for the first Chindit expedition in 1943, of whom five won gallantry awards and no less than 64 died.

1st Battalion in WW2


After a prolonged period of active service in the Razmak area of the North West Frontier in 1940-41, 1st Battalion moved to Burma in March 1942, joining 17th Indian Division not long after the initial Japanese attack. It was destined to remain at the front, with a respite of only a few weeks, until the war in Burma was won (Battle Honour `Burma 1942-45', also earned by 3rd and 4th Battalions). It fought continual rearguard actions during the Retreat from Burma into India (including the Battle Honour `Monywa 1942', official date limits 30th April to 2nd May) and was the last unit of the Burma Army to cross the Ava Bridge before it was blown (27th April 1942). When the Battalion marched into Imphal on 23rd May 1942, having fought a 400 mile withdrawal over the length of Burma for nearly three months, the officers and men were in rags, but were in possession of their weapons and equipment, and were soon ready to continue the defence of India against the Japanese assault.

From August to December 1943 the Battalion saw action in the Fort White and Kennedy Peak areas. On 9th March 1944 a rifleman of the Battalion spotted the first signs of the coming Japanese offensive against Imphal. At the Tuitum Ridge (Battle Honour `TUITUM', 14th-25th March 1944) the Battalion covered the vital withdrawal of 17th Indian Division towards Imphal. For this, and for capturing the Division's first Japanese prisoner since the retreat of 1942, and for its subsequent gallantry at Imphal, 1st Battalion was presented with 17th Indian Division's Black Cat Banner as a unique reward. In the subsequent great and protracted battles for Imphal (Battle Honour `IMPHAL', 12th March to 22nd June 1944, also earned by 3rd and 4th Battalions), 1st Battalion fought at Kanglatongbi (April 1944), played a major part in the defence of the Bishenpur Box (Battle Honour `Bishenpur', 6th-15th May 1944), and fought one of its hardest battles at Potsangbam in May 1944, where it suffered over 200 casualties.

After rest and reorganisation of 17th Indian Division in India (July-December 1944) the Battalion returned to Burma and from February to October 1945 took part in the 14th Army's counterstroke and advance across the Irrawaddy and into southern Burma. Fierce fighting took place at Meiktila in March 1945 as part of Slim's decisive plan which the Japanese called his `master-stroke' (Battle Honours `MEIKTILA', 12th February to 30th March 1945, `Capture of Meiktila', 28th February to 2nd March, and `Defence of Meiktila', 3rd-29th March). In the drive south major battles were also fought and won at Pyawbwe (9th April 1945), and on the approach to Rangoon (Battle Honour `RANGOON ROAD', 1st April to 6th May 1945) and also at Pegu (Battle Honour `Pegu 1945', 27th April to 2nd May). After helping to complete the destruction of the Japanese forces in Burma at Sittang (Battle Honour `Sittang 1945', 10th May to 15th August, also earned by 4th Battalion), 1st Battalion had the historic distinction of being the unit which received the first organised surrender of Japanese in Burma, at Abya on 24th August 1945. There could not have been a more fitting climax, as 1st Battalion had gone right through the Burma campaign since the initial battles in the Sittang area in 1942, and had suffered the heaviest casualties and won the most awards of any battalion in the Regiment.

In 1946 and 1947 the Battalion was involved in internal security duties in Burma until it moved to Malaya in January 1948, where it almost immediately commenced operations against the Communist terrorists.

2nd Battalion in WW2


2nd Battalion was the first battalion of the Regiment to go overseas during the Second World War when it moved to the Persian Gulf in February 1941. Serving with 10th Indian Division it went into action against the Iraqis at Ashar (Battle Honour `Iraq 1941'), the Vichy French in Syria at the battle of Deir ez Zor (Battle Honours `Syria 1941' and `Deir ez Zor', 1st-3rd July 1941), and the Persians in the Paitak Pass. From May 1942 until July 1944 the Battalion served in Aden, Basra, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon on garrison and internal security duties, and training first for mountain warfare and then as lorried infantry.


Captain Smythe briefs a patrol from Support Company in the Senio river area, Italy, early 1945

In August 1944 2nd Battalion returned to the front line, landing at Taranto in Italy as part of the 43rd Gurkha Lorried Infantry Brigade, which was to act as 8th Army's mobile reserve. Thereafter it was in action continuously against the Germans until the end of the War (Battle Honour `Italy 1944-45'). In September-October 1944 it took a full part in the breaking of the Germans' Gothic Line near Rimini, beginning with the capture of the Coriano (or Passano) Ridge, referred to by Sir Winston Churchill as `a brilliant feat of arms' (Battle Honour `CORIANO', 3rd-15th September 1944), and which was soon followed by the crossing of the Marecchia River and capture of Santarcangelo di Romagna, where it suffered its highest casualties (Battle Honour `SANTARCANGELO', 22nd-24th September). Then followed Operation Gelignite, fighting in the foothills of the Apennines at Montecodruzzo, the Ronco and Santerno rivers and Faenza, as the Germans were relentlessly driven northwards. The campaign settled down for the winter to patrols and raiding along the Senio River (Battle Honour `Senio Floodbank', 23rd February-3rd March 1945).

In late March 1945 began Operation Grapeshot, the final offensive towards and beyond Bologna (Battle Honour `BOLOGNA', 14th-21st April), in which 2/10 GR forced the crossing of the river Sillaro (Battle Honour `Sillaro Crossing', 14th-16th April), opening the way for the attack on Medicina, and then took a leading part in the major set-piece night assault across the river Gaiana (Battle Honour `Gaiana Crossing', 17th-19th April 1945). In May 1945 they liberated Padua before moving on to Venice and Trieste by `VE Day'.

In July 1945 the Battalion returned to the Middle East and was involved in internal security duties in Syria until February 1946 when it sailed for India after five years away on service. Again, as in Gallipoli, the Battalion had proved its fighting qualities in European warfare, this time against the full weight of German artillery and tanks.

3rd Battalion in WW2


`A Regiment for Service': 3rd Battalion gathers enemy weapons

among mist and mud after capturing Scraggy Hill, Burma 1944.

3rd Battalion was raised at Dehra Dun on 1st October 1940 and first entered an active theatre in Burma in June 1942 under 37th Gurkha Brigade of 23rd Indian Division. From its first contact with the enemy in April 1943 the Battalion fought through until withdrawn for training in combined operations in August 1944 (Battle Honour `Burma 1942-45', also earned by 1st and 4th Battalions). It took a distinguished part in the battles for Imphal in 1944 (Battle Honour `IMPHAL', also earned by 1st and 4th Battalions). It saw much action on the Ukhrul Road in April 1944, and experienced its hardest fighting on the Tiddim Road and at the Shenam Pass during the breakout from the Imphal plain (Battle Honours `Shenam Pass', 1st April to 21st June 1944, also earned by 4th Battalion, and `Litan', 12th April to 15th May 1944). The protracted fighting on Scraggy Hill (17th-22nd May and final attack on 24th July 1944) and the classic kukri-charge on the Gibraltar feature which left 125 Japanese dead (24th May 1944) were probably the most dashing attacks carried out by any Battalion of the Regiment during the War (Battle Honour `TENGNOUPAL', 21st-28th July 1944). They raised still further the already outstanding reputation of 10th Gurkhas, and opened the way for the drive south to liberate Burma.

In August 1944 the Battalion was withdrawn with the rest of 23rd Indian Division for training in amphibious operations. In August 1945 it embarked at Madras to take part in Operation Zipper, the re-invasion and liberation of Malaya, but the dropping of the atomic bombs and resulting Japanese surrender meant that the landing was unopposed. In Malaya the Battalion was involved in local security duties until October 1945 when it moved to Java to take the surrender of Japanese forces. It won further distinction in the immensely difficult operations that followed, when Javanese nationalists attempted to seize power and massacre Dutch civilians. At times the fighting was intense, and Japanese troops had to be re-armed to fight under the Battalion's command. After a further spell in Malaya the Battalion returned to the Regimental Centre at Alhilal in India in December 1946, and in April 1947 it was finally disbanded there.

4th Battalion in WW2

4th Battalion was raised at Abbottabad on 15th March 1941. From January until May 1942 the Battalion was stationed in the Andaman Islands for garrison and defence duties, and then moved to Ceylon for jungle training until July 1943, when it returned to India. From November 1943 to August 1945 the Battalion distinguished itself in the fighting in Burma under 20th Indian Division (Battle Honour `Burma 1942-45', also earned by 1st and 3rd Battalions). It took part in the battles around Imphal in March to June 1944, particularly at Witok in March (Battle Honours `IMPHAL', also earned by 1st and 3rd Battalions, `Tamu Road', 12th March to 4th April 1944, and `Shenam Pass', 1st April to 22nd June 1944, the latter also earned by 3rd Battalion). In the subsequent advance south the Battalion fought at Pyingaing or `Pink Gin' (December 1944), the Wainggyo Gorge (26th-29th December 1944), the advance on Myinmu (19th-23rd January 1945), and the Crossing of the Irrawaddy (13th-14th February 1945). Its greatest battle was at Talingon in the bridgehead beyond the Irrawaddy during the advance on Mandalay. Here the Battalion suffered 50 killed and 127 wounded in a prolonged battle (16th-26th February 1945) but virtually wiped out the counter-attacking Japanese 16th Regiment, inflicting 953 casualties on it, including at least 504 killed (Battle Honours `MANDALAY', 12th February to 21st March 1945, and `MYINMU BRIDGEHEAD', 12th February to 7th March). In the final drive south the Battalion fought numerous actions, particularly in the advance down the Irrawaddy valley (Battle Honours `Kyaukse 1945', 8th-21st March, and `Irrawaddy', 29th March to 30th May 1945) and in the large-scale actions at Allanmyo (28th April 1945) and near Prome. Lastly it took part in the final destruction of the Japanese forces in Burma near the Sittang River (Battle Honour `Sittang 1945', 10th May to 15th August, also earned by 1st Battalion).

In addition to being awarded 20th Indian Division's Dagger Banner (depicting a hand grasping a dagger) as the best battalion in that formation, 4th Battalion was referred to by The Times newspaper as `the non-stop Gurkhas'.

The spoils of war: Subadar Bombahadur Rai of 4th Battalion with

Japanese swords captured in Burma, 1944.

After the surrender of the Japanese the Battalion moved with 20th Indian Division to French Indo-China (in what is now Vietnam and Cambodia) in October 1945. Here in addition to its primary task of disarming the Japanese troops in Saigon and Phnom Penh the Battalion was engaged in operations against Viet Minh forces until December 1945, successfully helping to re-establish French control. As with 3rd Battalion in Java, Japanese troops had sometimes to be employed under command. The Battalion returned to India in February 1946, and was disbanded at the Regimental Centre in April 1947.

On the disbandment of the wartime Battalions in 1947 many officers and men elected to remain in the Army. In general 3rd Battalion personnel were posted to 1st Battalion and 4th Battalion personnel to 2nd Battalion. For as long as the Regiment retained two peace-time Battalions it was customary for 1st Battalion to perpetuate the honours and exploits of 3rd Battalion and for 2nd Battalion to be similarly associated with 4th Battalion.

Mention should also be made of 710th Gurkha Rifles, a training battalion at Saharanpur in India which trained reinforcements for both 7th and 10th Gurkha Rifles in jungle warfare, and of 153 (Gurkha) Parachute Battalion, in which considerable numbers of 10th Gurkhas served as volunteers in World War II. This Battalion fought a savage and important defensive action at Sangshak during the Japanese advance on Kohima and Imphal in 1944, and jumped operationally at Elephant Point as part of the recapture of Rangoon in 1945. Gurkhas proved to be apt parachutists, and the idea was revived from 1961 to 1971 when many men and officers from the Tenth served in the Gurkha Independent Parachute Company, a unit which was based on a platoon from 1st Battalion and which saw active service in Borneo.


9. Service in the British Army: 1948 to1994 [Back to top]

Indian Independence, 1947-48


When British rule in India ceased at the end of 1947, 10th Gurkha Rifles was selected together with 2nd, 6th and 7th Gurkha Rifles for service with the British Army as the Brigade of Gurkhas. The remaining Regiments of the old Gurkha Brigade henceforth became part of the army of the Republic of India. 1st Battalion was still in Burma at this time and sailed to Malaya in January 1948 where it was stationed at Johore Bahru. After helping to combat the terrible communal strife in the Punjab which accompanied Indian Independence, 2nd Battalion sailed from Bombay in March 1948 for service in Hong Kong. The Regimental Centre at Alhilal closed in January 1948 after taking part in internal security operations, and also moved to Malaya.

The Gurkha officers and men were required to `opt' for service with the British Army, or continued service in India, or discharge. In the enforced absence of almost all regular cadre British Officers at this crucial period (it was initially intended that British Gurkha regiments would have only seconded officers) the Regiment owed much to the leadership and good influence of outstanding senior Gurkha officers such as Bagdhan Rai, Kulbahadur Limbu, Padambahadur Rai, Purne Rai, and Rakamsing Rai.

Royal Honour Title and Affiliation to the Royal Scots


In November 1949 His Majesty King George VI honoured the Regiment by granting it the title of PRINCESS MARY'S OWN with effect from 1st January 1950. This accolade was in recognition of the Regiment's outstanding services in World War II, and to mark its official affiliation with The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), The First of Foot, of which Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary was Colonel-in-Chief. These honours set the seal upon an unofficial but close relationship between the two Regiments of many years' standing, it having begun when 1st Battalion served alongside 2nd Battalion The Royal Scots in Burma between 1890 and 1899. The relationship was strengthened during World War I when 2nd Battalion served on the Suez Canal and in Gallipoli alongside several Battalions of the Royal Scots. The affiliation was marked by an exchange between the Regiments of the traditional weapons of the Scot and Gurkha, claymores and kukris. Much was owed by the Regiment to Colonel J.D. Grant VC CB DSO and General Sir Philip Christison Bt GBE CB DSO MC ADC BA DL for their endeavours that successfully brought about the affiliation.

The Malayan Emergency, 1948 to 1959


The Malayan Emergency began in June 1948 when Chinese Communist s commenced political agitation and military attacks designed to subvert and displace the British administration. 1st Battalion was involved from the outset, and was joined by 2nd Battalion when in early 1950 it moved to Malaya from Hong Kong, where it had meanwhile trained for conventional war and restored the pre-war Gurkha smartness to the ceremonial aspects of soldiering.

1st Battalion was sent into the jungle in late 1948 with many barely trained recruits and few specialists, and remained on operations for eighteen months. In spite of the handicaps in this initial period the Battalion quickly adjusted from total war in Burma to the different needs of guerrilla war, developing tactical doctrines which were later followed by the rest of the Army in Malaya. The Battalion achieved a record number of kills and won an exceptional tally of medals and decorations, these successes serving to displace the problems of the `Opt' and setting the Battalion back on course for an outstanding record and reputation. It was to go on to eliminate more terrorists than any other unit of the British and Commonwealth Armies, and to amass an unbeaten tally of gallantry awards, including the only DSO ever awarded to a Gurkha (to Major (GCO) Purne Rai SB DSO OBE MC OBI). From 1950 2nd Battalion was soon vying with 1st for successes in the millions of man hours spent patrolling the jungle and waiting in ambush. The Gurkhas consistently demonstrated their skill in tracking, fieldcraft, moving over difficult hilly terrain, and marksmanship, keeping their concentration in spite of discomfort and fatigue, ready to take best advantage of fleeting contact with the enemy.

The total casualties inflicted on the terrorists by both Battalions (508 killed, including the important leaders Chong Chin Nam and Manap Jepun) exceeded those of any other Gurkha Regiment and enhanced still further 10th Gurkhas' fighting reputation. The Gurkha contribution to winning the Malayan campaign (which is still the only successful war against Communist guerrillas) was immense, and 10th Gurkha Rifles led the field.

`Borneo': Malaysian Confrontation, 1963 to 1966#


During this campaign both Battalions of the Regiment played key roles in the defeat of the Indonesian forces who had set out to disrupt the newly formed Malaysian Federation. Operations took place in mainland West Malaysia as well as the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah (Borneo), often against determined and skilful Indonesian regulars who soon showed that this was to be conventional warfare rather than the guerrilla warfare of Malaya. From heavily defended bases the British forces patrolled, set ambushes, countered Indonesian incursions and later carried the fighting to the enemy's territory in cross-border operations. The two Battalions between them eliminated more enemy and won more awards for gallantry than any other Regiment of the Brigade of Gurkhas. Awards included one VC, two DSOs, nine MCs, two DCMs and eight MMs. Success was due to skill and dedication at every level.

1st Battalion


1st Battalion served in East Malaysia for four operational tours (a total of 26 months spent on active service). Amongst many notable actions, two stand out. The first occurred early in 1964 when 120 Indonesian soldiers bound for Tawau and Sandakan on the east coast of East Malaysia surprised and killed a number of Malay soldiers at Kalabakan. At this time the Battalion was at Sungei Udang Camp near Malacca in West Malaysia. Ordered to move on 2nd January, elements of the Battalion were airborne within four hours, and the whole Battalion was complete in East Malaysia within 72 hours. The enemy were found and contacted by 8th January and during the next two months the Battalion eliminated this entire Indonesian incursionary force. The Commanding Officer, Lt Col E.J.S. Burnett, was awarded the DSO. The second incident occurred during the Battalion's fourth operational tour when Major C.J. Pike won the DSO as a Company Commander for two exceptionally fierce actions at Bau on 5th and 25th March 1966, when D Company accounted for no less than 50 Indonesians.

Besides these successful operations in East Malaysia, in September 1964 the Battalion was responsible for the complete destruction of an Indonesian attempt to carry the war into West Malaysia, when a party of 96 Indonesian paratroopers was dropped near Labis. Brought in at a moment's notice to counter this incursion, the Battalion quickly accounted for over half the enemy force. Major R.M. Haddow was killed while leading his Company during this operation, and the action is depicted in a painting by Terence Cuneo that now hangs in the Gurkha Museum, Winchester.

2nd Battalion


During Confrontation 2nd Battalion completed five operational tours in East Malaysia (a total of 30 months spent on active service), completely dominating its areas of responsibility and inflicting numerous defeats on the Indonesian enemy. Notable actions included the Track 6 Battle (6th March 1964), and Op Super Shell (29th August 1965), when an enemy camp was destroyed in a daring cross-border attack.

The climax to the Confrontation Campaign came with the award of the Victoria Cross to Lance Corporal Rambahadur Limbu of C Company, 2nd Battalion, for his valour during the fierce action fought on a hill near Serikin on the border between East Malaysia and Kalimantan on 21st November 1965. This award, the first Victoria Cross won by a 10th Gurkha, coming as it did towards the end of the campaign, set the seal on four years of dedicated military endeavour: the Regiment had once again demonstrated the professionalism and élan that are its hall-marks. Rambahadur's citation is reproduced in full below.

Internal Security Duties in Hong Kong, 1967-68


The Confrontation campaign having ended, the two Battalions returned to peace-time locations, 1st to Hong Kong, and 2nd to Penang. 1st Battalion played the leading role in controlling the Hong Kong border disturbances of 1967 and 1968 (which followed China's Cultural Revolution), and were helped briefly by 2nd Battalion who were flown in from Penang at the end of 1967. These operations demanded and duly found high standards of self-control, patience and tact on the part of officers and men, and a sound sense of when to resort to force. Once again the Regiment met a sudden change of role with its customary flexibility.

Amalgamation, 1968


Following the British Government's decision in 1966 to reduce the strength of the Brigade of Gurkhas, the two fine Battalions of 10th Gurkha Rifles amalgamated at Penang on 19th September 1968 under the command of Lt Col DR Green MC, and settled down with the minimum of fuss. From the union of two such illustrious parents emerged a Regiment second to none, proud of its past glories and master of its current role.

Internal security operations in Cyprus, 1974-75


During its first ever period of service in the United Kingdom (1973-75) the Regiment was flown at short notice to Cyprus for a tour of emergency duty. This followed the attempted Greek National Guard coup against President Makarios and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the north of the island. From August 1974 to February 1975 the Battalion was deployed to maintain the integrity of Britain's Eastern Sovereign Base Area (Dhekelia). In the early days outright hostilities between British and Turks were narrowly avoided when Turkish tanks came close to the Base Area boundary. As the threat of fighting receded the Battalion was responsible for the security of some 25,000 Greek Cypriot refugees, and for daily negotiations with the Turks and the United Nations, with a view to solving the many humanitarian and other problems caused by the tense situation and social upheaval. This it did with the tact and charm for which Gurkhas are noted. The Regiment was also able to strengthen links with The Royal Scots, who served nearby at Episkopi.

The final years, 1975-94


Most of the period was spent in Hong Kong, with spells in Brunei (1978-80 and 1988-90) and the United Kingdom (1983-85). In Hong Kong much time and energy was spent in patrolling the Border with mainland China, and specifically in apprehending illegal immigrants. This was a major task throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, and the Battalion always maintained a high standard of military skills, especially among the junior ranks on whose alertness, fitness and dedication success so largely depended. When not on the border the Battalion constantly carried out training to the highest standards in conventional, limited and warfare and internal security operations. Exercises were conducted in Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Malaysia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. During the UK tour the Battalion spent six months patrolling and exercising in Belize in Central America, exercised in Canada, and during Exercise Lionheart in West Germany in 1984 it became the first complete Gurkha battalion to serve in mainland Europe since World War II. Such service helped to demonstrate that Gurkha troops can operate in any theatre and in any role. The Battalion also performed Public Duties in London in 1984, a task it had first fulfilled during the United Kingdom tour of 1973-75.

From 1980 to 1985 many officers and men were transferred for service in 2nd Battalion 7th DEO Gurkha Rifles, which was re-raised to help cope with the pressure from illegal immigration on the Hong Kong border. This Battalion was disbanded when the requirement receded, and many men returned to the Tenth.

The period saw intense interest in competition shooting. In 1966 2nd Battalion became the first Gurkha unit to compete at Bisley, and from 1970 to 1981 the Regiment took part in every Regular Army Skill at Arms Meeting at Bisley, never coming lower than 9th place out of the whole Army. In 1973 the Regiment became the first Gurkha unit to win the Major Units' Championship, and repeated its success again in 1974, when Cpl Surjaser Rai also became the first Gurkha to win Her Majesty The Queen's Medal for the Champion Shot of the Regular Army. In 1977 10 GR became the first Gurkha regiment to win the NRA Services Championship, even beating the Canadian Army Team. From the mid-1970s the Regiment took an equally keen interest in the Tickle Non-Central competitions, which were an excellent test of a unit's depth of skill as they involved teams of over a hundred men. It won the Infantry Championship in most years, and much prize money and many trophies besides. These successes continued a tradition of 10 GR domination of the old Non-Central competitions in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Regiment long excelled at running, especially over long distances and steep ground. Nowhere was this skill better seen than in the Khud Race, where the men's background in the mountains of East Nepal has bequeathed them the ideal physique, which is supplemented by their immense capacity for sheer hard work in training. The Regiment won the Khud Race and Cross Country team and individual trophies many times, against especially strong opposition from 7th DEO Gurkha Rifles, the other Eastern regiment.

In the early 20th century the Regiment had a fine reputation for football, winning many major trophies in Burma and India. The Nepal Cup, the post-1948 Brigade of Gurkhas football trophy, proved more elusive. Five times the Regiment was defeated in the final, then in Hong Kong in 1988 the coveted trophy was at last secured in an historic victory.

In 1990 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles celebrated its Centenary as a Gurkha Regiment. On 1st May the Colonel of the Regiment took the salute at a Centenary Parade and Beating of Retreat at Tuker Lines, Seria, Brunei, and on 3rd May a Royal Review was held in the presence of HM The Sultan of Brunei. At these parades the combined emblem of an Elephant and Rock Fort was first worn as an arm badge, in a fitting commemoration of the Regiment's pre-1890 services, exactly one hundred years after its transformation into a Gurkha Regiment.

Later in 1990 the Battalion returned to Hong Kong where further celebrations to mark the Centenary took place in November, with a party from the UK which had just toured eastern Kathmandu and Nepal to celebrate with over 2,000 of the Regiment's pensioners.

On 1st July 1994 at a parade at Gallipoli Lines, Hong Kong, the Regiment was re-badged as 3rd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, on amalgamation with 2nd, 6th and 7th Gurkha Rifles. It finally lost the number Ten, in which it had taken pride for 223 years. The Regiment is now represented in the British Army by The Royal Gurkha Rifles, currently at a strength of two battalions, who maintain and build upon the strengths and traditions of the Tenth and the other constituent Gurkha regiments.


Appendix 1: Traditions and Customs of the Regiment [Back to top]

The Pipes and Drums

The Regiment maintained Pipe Bands from the mid-1890s. The 1st Battalion Pipe Band was trained by the Pipe Major of 2nd Battalion The Royal Scots in Burma in 1895, and the Pipers of 2nd Battalion were trained by 1st Battalion The Royal Scots in India in 1909-10. In accordance with Highland and Lowland regimental tradition it was customary for all routine bugle calls to be followed by the equivalent pipe tune as laid down in Permanent Orders.

Hunting Stewart Tartan

From the time of their initial training in the 1890s the Regiment's pipers wore Hunting Stewart Tartan, with permission from The Royal Scots. In 1924 it became necessary to obtain Royal authority to continue this custom, and with support from The Royal Scots the necessary sanction was duly granted by His Majesty King George V.

In 1950 King George VI further granted all ranks of the Regiment the privilege of wearing a patch of Hunting Stewart Tartan on their uniform. This patch was worn as background to the Regimental Badge on the Gurkha Hat.

Pipe Banners

Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary presented her ciphered pipe banner to both Battalions in 1953, and the banner was carried by the Pipe Major on ceremonial occasions. Banners were also customarily presented by Colonels of the Regiment and by Commanding Officers. Others displayed the Battle Honours of 1766-1890 and of the four separate Battalions. The Duty Piper of the Quarter Guard normally carried the Commanding Officer's banner.

The Regimental March

The Regimental March was `With a Hundred Pipers'.

The Regimental Badge

The badge combines the kukri, the traditional Gurkha weapon, with the bugle horn of Rifle and Light Infantry Regiments, thus embodying the two ideas of `Gurkha' and `Rifles'. The original version had an Arabic `1' (for `1st Burma Gurkha Rifles'). After 1901 the Roman `X' was used, but this was replaced by the Arabic `10' during a reorganisation of the Indian Army in 1922, when it was ruled that only cavalry regiments could use Roman numerals. (Until 1937 a different badge was worn on the Gurkha Hat and the Kilmarnock, namely the numeral `10' over crossed kukris, with the edges downwards). In 1950 the cipher of Her Royal Highness Princess Mary, The Princess Royal was incorporated between the bugle strings, and the wording on the scroll beneath was changed from `Gurkha Rifles' to `Princess Mary's Own'. The current badge thus expresses every element of the Regiment's title.

Honorary Arm Badge

From 1st May 1990 the Honorary Badges of a Rock Fort and an Elephant (combined as one) were worn on the upper left sleeve, to commemorate the Regiment's historic victories at Amboor and Assaye respectively, and to serve as an outward reminder of its pre-1890 service in general.

Drill

The Regimental Drill was traditionally based on that of Rifle Regiments. In 1990 the drill of the whole Brigade of Gurkhas was modified to bring it more closely into line with that of the Royal Green Jackets and The Light Infantry. The rate of march in Quick Time was 140 paces to the minute. It was never customary for the Regiment to march in slow time.

Regimental Days

The principal day of celebration was the Regimental Birthday on the 1st of May, this being the day the reorganised Regiment was officially brought back on strength of the Madras Army at Mandalay in 1890. In addition the following days were observed:

Imphal Day
21st June To commemorate 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions' battles in Burma, 1944.
     
Gallipoli Day
7th August To commemorate 2nd Battalion's battles in Turkey, 1915.
     
Coriano Day
12th September To commemorate 2nd Battalion's battle in Italy, 1944-45.
     
Sharqat Day
29th October To commemorate 1st Battalion's battle in Mesopotamia, 1918.
     
Serikin Day
21st November To commemorate the winning of the Victoria Cross by Lance Corporal Rambahadur Limbu in Borneo, 1965.
     
Amboor Day 16th December To commemorate the granting of the Honour `Amboor' and the Badge of a Rock Fort in 1767, and all other pre-1890 Honours. (Instituted in 1988 after the old Honours were restored).

It was customary to send telegrams of best wishes to 1st Battalion and Regimental Headquarters The Royal Scots on the occasion of their Regimental Day, 25th April, and also on St Andrew's Day, 30th November.


Appendix 2: Victoria Cross Citation [Back to top]

On 21st November 1965 in the BAU District of SARAWAK, Lance Corporal Limbu was with his company when they discovered and attacked a strong enemy force located in the Border area. The enemy were strongly entrenched in Platoon strength on top of a sheer hill the only approach to which was along a knife edge ridge allowing only three men to move abreast. Leading his support group in the van of the attack he could see the nearest trench and in it a sentry manning a machine gun. Determined to obtain first blood, he inched himself forward, until, still ten yards from his enemy, he was seen, and the sentry opened fire, immediately wounding a man to his right. Rushing forward he reached the enemy trench in seconds and killed the sentry, thereby gaining for the attacking force a first, but firm foothold on the objective. The enemy were now fully alerted and, from their positions in depth, brought down heavy automatic fire on the attacking force, concentrating this onto the area of the trench held alone by Lance Corporal Rambahadur Limbu.

L/Cpl Rambahadur Limbu VC

Appreciating that he could not carry out his task of supporting his platoon from this position he courageously left the comparative safety of his trench, and, with a complete disregard for the hail of fire being directed at him, he got together and led his fire group to a better fire position some yards ahead. He now attempted to indicate his intentions to his Platoon Commander by shouting and hand signals, but failing to do so in the deafening noise of exploding grenades and continuous automatic fire he again moved out into the open and reported personally, despite the extreme dangers of being hit by the fire not only from the enemy, but by his own comrades.

It was at the moment of reporting that he saw both men of his own group seriously wounded. Knowing that their only hope of survival was immediate first aid and that evacuation from their very exposed position so close to the enemy was vital, he immediately commenced the first of his three supremely gallant attempts to rescue his comrades. Using what little ground cover he could find he crawled forward, in full view of at least two enemy machine gun posts who concentrated their fire on him and which, at this stage of the battle, could not be effectively subdued by the rest of his platoon. For three full minutes he continued to move forward but when almost able to touch the nearest casualty he was driven back by the accurate and intense weight of fire covering his line of approach. After a pause he again started to crawl forward but he soon realised that only speed would give him the cover which the ground could not. Rushing forward he hurled himself on the ground beside one of the wounded, and calling for support from two LMGs which had now come up to his right in support he picked up the man and carried him to safety out of the line of fire. Without hesitation he immediately returned to the top of the hill, determined to complete his self imposed task of saving those for whom he felt personally responsible. It was now clear from the increased weight of fire being concentrated on the approaches to and in the immediate vicinity of the remaining casualty the enemy were doing all they could to prevent any further attempts at rescue. However, despite this, Lance Corporal Rambahadur again moved out into the open for his final effort. In a series of short forward rushes and once being pinned down for some minutes by the intense and accurate automatic fire which could be seen striking the ground all round him he eventually reached the wounded man. Picking him up, and unable now to seek cover, he carried him back as fast as he could through the hail of enemy bullets. It had taken twenty minutes to complete this gallant action and the events leading up to it. For all but a few seconds this young NCO had been moving alone in full view of the enemy and under the continuous aimed fire of their automatic weapons. That he was able to achieve what he did against such overwhelming odds without being hit is miraculous. His outstanding personal bravery, selfless conduct, complete contempt of the enemy and determination to save the lives of the men of his fire group set an incomparable example and inspired all who saw him.

Finally rejoining his section on the left flank of the attack Lance Corporal Rambahadur was able to recover the LMG abandoned by the wounded and with it won his revenge, initially giving support during the later stage of the prolonged assault and finally being responsible for killing four more enemy as they attempted to escape across the border. This hour long battle which had throughout been fought at point blank range and with the utmost ferocity by both sides was finally won. At least twenty-four enemy are known to have died at a cost to the attacking force of three killed and two wounded. In scale and in achievement this engagement stands out as one of the first importance and there is no doubt that, but for the inspired conduct and example set by Lance Corporal Rambahadur at the most vital stage of the battle, much less would have been achieved and greater casualties caused.

He displayed heroism, self sacrifice and a devotion to duty and to his men of the very highest order. His actions on this day reached a zenith of determined, premeditated valour which must count amongst the most notable on record and is deserving of the greatest admiration and the highest praise.



Appendix 3: Colonels of the Regiment [Back to top]

10th Madras Native Infantry: 1796-1868

The post of Colonel was created in 1796, and appears to have lapsed in 1868. No Colonel was then appointed until 1927. The Colonel of the Regiment could be a distinguished retired officer or one still serving in a senior position in the Army. He was responsible for continuity within the Regiment and for safeguarding its traditions and interests. (Ranks and honours achieved by an officer later in his career are given in brackets after his name.)

1796-97
1797
1797-1810
1810-20
1820-24
1824-27
1827-28
1828-44
1844-45
1845-49
1849-68
Col Thomas Trent (Maj Gen)
Col Peter Bonnevaux
Maj Gen Daniel Burr (Lt Gen)
Maj Gen John James Durand
Maj Gen Henry Webber
Maj Gen Colin Macaulay (Lt Gen)
Col William Charles Fraser (Gen)
Maj Gen Henry George Andrew Taylor (Gen, GCB)
Col John Wilson
Col William Strahan
Lt Gen William Taylor

10th Gurkha Rifles: 1927-94

1927-34
1934-47
1947-57
1957-59
1959-66
1966-75 
1975-77
1977-85
1985-94
Maj Gen F.E. Coningham CB CSI CMG DSO
Col J.D. Grant VC CB DSO
Gen Sir Philip Christison Bt GBE CB DSO MC ADC BA DL
Brig M.R. Roberts DSO
Lt Gen Sir Richard Anderson KCB CBE DSO
Gen Sir Peter Hunt GCB DSO OBE ADC
Maj Gen E.J.S. Burnett CB DSO OBE MC
Maj Gen R.W.L. McAlister CB OBE
Lt Gen Sir Garry Johnson KCB OBE MC
portrait
portrait
portrait
portrait
portrait
portrait
portrait
portrait
portrait

Appendix 4: Commanding Officers [Back to top]

1766-1890

At first the Commanding Officer was a captain. From 1796 there was always a lieutenant colonel on strength, but as he often served away from the unit the list below shows the senior officer present, who actually commanded.

1766-69
1769-78
1778-83
c1779
c1781-2
1783-86
1786-94
1794-96
1796
1796-98
1798
1798-99 
1799
1800-01
1801-06
1806-07
1807-08
1808
1809
1809-13
1814
1814-17
1817-c21
1821
1822
1823
1824 
1825 
1826
1827
1828-35
1835-43
1843-50
c1850-52
c1852-54
c1854-55
c1856
c1857-66
1866-75
1875-76
1876
1876-77
1877-78
1878
1878-80
1880-86
1886-87
1887-90
Capt Mathias Calvert
Capt Thomas Bruce (Col)
Capt George Burrington (Col) (Remained i/c Palamcottah Fort)
Capt Robert Temple (Commanded in the field)
Capt Richard Scott (Commanded in the field)
Capt George Mackay
Capt Thomas Knox
Capt James Bagshaw Butler (Brevet Maj)
Capt Hector MacLean (Gen KCB)
Capt/Lt Col William Kinsey (Gen)
Capt Peter Moore
Lt Col William Kinsey (Gen)
Lt James Hazlewood (acting CO) (Lt Col)
Lt Col Robert Montague Strange (Col)
Maj/Lt Col Peter Dallas
Lt Col Alexander McLeod
Capt George Milson Gibson (Maj)
Capt William Shaw (Lt Col)
Capt George Milson Gibson (Maj)
Maj William Shaw (Lt Col)
Maj George Milson Gibson
Lt Col Galbraith Hamilton (Brevet Col)
Maj William Charles Fraser (Gen)
Maj James Walter Hamilton Howell (Lt Col)
Capt Rowland Gwynne
Maj James Walter Hamilton Howell (Lt Col)
Lt Col Alexander Fair (Gen CB)
Capt Henry George Jourdan (Col)
Lt Col George Maunsell
Capt George Buchan Tolson (Lt Col)
Capt/Maj Henry George Jourdan (Col)
Maj/Lt Col George Buchan Tolson
Maj/Lt Col William Cotton (Lt Gen)
Capt William Reece (Maj Gen CB)
Lt Col William Cotton (Lt Gen)
Maj George Wright (Col)
Maj Frederick Caesar Hawkins (Lt Col)
Lt Col Henry Charles Gosling (Maj Gen)
Lt Col William John Tweedie (Maj Gen)
Col Charles Maxtone Shakespear (Maj Gen)
Col Ezekiel Gage (Maj Gen)
Col Augustus William Ritherdon (Maj Gen)
Col William Alexander Riach (Gen)
Col William Ramsay (Maj Gen)
Col Augustus William Ritherdon (Maj Gen)
Lt Col/Col Frank Beeching (Maj Gen)
Col Colin Mackenzie (Maj Gen)
Col Joseph Beauchamp Leggett

1890-1990

1st Battalion

1890-93
1893-1902
1902-08
1909-13
1913-14
1914-16
1916-17
1917-19
1919-21
1921
1921-25
1925-29
1929-33
1933-37
1937-39
1939-40
1940-41
1941-42
1942
1942-43
1943
1944-45
1945-46
1946-47
1947
1947-48
1948-50
1950-51
1951-53
1953-56
1956-59
1959-60 
1960-63
1963-65
1965-68
1968
Lt Col C.R. Macgregor DSO (Brig CB)
Lt Col E.R.J. Presgrave DSO (Col CB)
Lt Col G.N. Caulfield DSO (Col)
Lt Col J. Henegan DSO
Lt Col H.W.R. Senior CSI CIE DSO (Col)
Lt Col F.E. Coningham DSO (Maj Gen CB CSI CMG)
Lt Col H.W.R. Senior CSI CIE DSO (Col)
Lt Col F.E. Coningham DSO (Maj Gen CB CSI CMG)
Lt Col H.L. Scott DSO and Bar MC (Brig CB)
Lt Col C.H.A. Tuck CSI
Lt Col J.D. Grant VC DSO (Col CB)
Lt Col W.B. Baker OBE
Lt Col N.M. Wilson DSO OBE (Maj Gen CB)
Lt Col E.A.K. Crossfield MC
Lt Col B.R. Mullaly (Col)
Lt Col A. Beckett (Brig)
Lt Col F.J. Loftus-Tottenham DSO (Maj Gen CBE DSO and Bar)
Lt Col R.G. Leonard (Brig)
Maj D.D.M. McCready (Brig DSO CBE)
Lt Col R.F.W. Leigh
Lt Col G.W.S. Burton DSO (Brig DSO and two Bars)
Lt Col D.D.M. McCready DSO OBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col O.N. Smyth
Lt Col J.W. Stephens (Brig DSO)
Lt Col A.J. Stringer
Lt Col D.D.M. McCready DSO OBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col C.C. Graham DSO OBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col H.G. Edwardes
Lt Col J.S. Bolton DSO (Col)
Lt Col D.D.M. McCready DSO OBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col R.E.G. Twelvetrees MC
Lt Col R.L.H. Webb
Lt Col J.H. Montagu OBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col E.J.S. Burnett DSO OBE MC (Maj Gen CB)
Lt Col R.W.L. McAlister OBE (Maj Gen CB)
Lt Col D.R. Green MC (Brig CBE)

2nd Battalion

1908-14
1914-18
1918-22
1922-26
1926
1926-30
1930-34
1934-37
1937-40 
1940-42
1942-45
1945
1945
1945-48
1948-50
1951-54
1954-57
1957-59
1959-62
1962-64
1964-68
Lt Col G.H.C. Colomb (Brig CMG)
Lt Col F.G.H. Sutton
Lt Col E.S. Gale
Lt Col F. Skipwith
Lt Col L.A. Bethell OBE
Lt Col R.E. Coningham
Lt Col F.B. Abbott DSO
Lt Col E.A. Bald MC
Lt Col M.R. Roberts (Brig DSO)
Lt Col H.St.J. Carruthers (Col)
Lt Col A.G. Stewart DSO
Lt Col J.D.F. Curling (Col)
Lt Col R.W. Ingall DSO
Lt Col J.S. Bolton DSO (Col)
Lt Col J.S. Vickers DSO and Bar (Brig CBE)
Lt Col J.G.C. Waldron DSO OBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col O.N. Smyth
Lt Col A.R. Dawe OBE
Lt Col A.B. Taggart MC (Brig)
Lt Col J.A.I. Fillingham OBE
Lt Col P.O. Myers OBE MC and Bar (Brig)

3rd Battalion

1940-43
1943-45 
1945-46
1946-47
Lt Col R.E. Upton
Lt Col F.R.S. Cosens DSO (OBE)
Lt Col H.G. Edwardes
Lt Col E.G. Brooke MC

4th Battalion

1941-43
1943-44
1944-45
1945
1945
1945-46
Lt Col F.A. Esse (Brig OBE)
Lt Col E.G.B. Proctor (Brig)
Lt Col J.S. Vickers DSO (Brig CBE)
Lt Col C.G. Parbury
Lt Col E.D. Murray OBE (Col DSO)
Lt Col H.S. Mullaly (OBE)

Amalgamated Battalion

1968-70
1970-72
1972-75
1975-77
1977-80
1980-82
1982-85
1985-88
1988-90
1990-92
1992-94
Lt Col D.R. Green MC (Brig CBE)
Lt Col N. Roberts MBE (Brig CBE)
Lt Col C.J. Pike DSO OBE (Brig)
Lt Col B.M. Niven MBE MA (Col)
Lt Col M.G. Allen (Col)
Lt Col C.A. Lees LLB (Col)
Lt Col M.T. Cook (Col OBE)
Lt Col C.T. Newton Dunn (Col)
Lt Col R. Litherland (Col)
Lt Col R.N.A. Lewis
Lt Col P.T.C. Pearson (Lt Gen CBE, still serving 2008)

Appendix 5: Native Commandants and Subadar-Majors [Back to top]

1766-1890

The appointment of Subadar-Major was created in 1819. There had been a comparable appointment of `Black Commandant' or `Native Commandant' prior to 1785, but the identity of only the first holder is known.

1766-78+
c1821-25
1825-31
1831-36
1836-45
1845-49
1849-54
1854-58
1858-68
1868-70
1870-75
1875-c76
c1876-83
c1883-85
1885-90
Palanquin Subadar Mooden Saib, Native Commandant
Sub-Maj Surwar Khan (probably appointed 1819)
Palanquin Sub-Maj Shaik Gooroo
Sub-Maj Shaik Tippoo (Supernumerary Sub-Maj from 1826)
Sub-Maj Shaik Davood, Sardar Bahadur OBI
Sub-Maj Shaik Luteef
Sub-Maj Jaun Ahmed, Bahadur OBI
Sub-Maj Curpanah, Bahadur OBI
Sub-Maj Goolam Ally
Sub-Maj Hoossain Saib, Bahadur OBI
Sub-Maj Yacoob Ally
Sub-Maj Gollof Khan
Sub-Maj Mahomed Ghouse
Sub-Maj Tummiah
Sub-Maj Anunth Ram

+ End of tenure not known, but post-1778.

Subadar Majors and Gurkha Majors

1890-1990

1st Battalion

1891-98
1898-1900
1900-05
1905-14
1914-20
1920-21
1921-22
1922-27
1927-31
1931-34
1935-38
1938-41
1941-42
1942
1942-45
1945-48
1948-49
1949-53
1953-60
1960-61
1961-67
1967-68
Sub-Maj Abhimansing Gurung, Sardar Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt)
Sub-Maj Daulat Rana, Bahadur OBI
Sub-Maj Bahadursing Thapa
Sub-Maj Bhagwan Giri, Bahadur OBI
Sub-Maj Bholasing Kandari, Sardar Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt)
Sub-Maj Jitman Gurung
Sub-Maj Santabir Rai MC
Sub-Maj Phaudasing Limbu, Sardar Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt)
Sub-Maj Manbahadur Rai
Sub-Maj Bhaktabahadur Limbu, Bahadur OBI IDSM (Hon Lt)
Sub-Maj Kajiman Lama (I), Sardar Bahadur OBI IDSM (Hon Maj)
Sub-Maj Bhawansing Rai, Sardar Bahadur IOM OBI (Hon Capt)
Sub-Maj Bhuwansing Sahi (Capt, Indian Army)
Sub-Maj Motising Chhetri (Hon Capt, Sardar Bahadur OBI)
Sub-Maj Purne Rai, Sardar Bahadur MC OBI (Maj (GCO) DSO OBE)
Sub-Maj Rakamsing Rai, Sardar Bahadur IOM MC OBI (Maj (GCO) MBE)
Maj (KGO) Padambahadur Rai (Capt (GCO) MBE)
Maj (QGO) Ranbahadur Limbu
Maj (QGO) Dalbahadur Limbu MBE IOM MC (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Dambersing Rai MC
Maj (QGO) Kulbir Gurung (Hon Lt)
Maj (QGO) Ramparsad Rai MVO (Hon Lt (GCO))










portrait
portrait


portrait

portrait

 2nd Battalion

1908-19
1919
1919-25
1925-30
1930-34
1934-39
1939-40
1940-42
1942-48
1948-49
1949-51
1951-56
1956-59
1959-66
1966-68
Sub-Maj Chittahang Limbu, Sardar Bahadur IOM OBI (Hon Capt)
Sub-Maj Lachman Sunwar
Sub-Maj Ramsing Burathoki IOM (Hon Lt, Rai Bahadur)
Sub-Maj Gobardhan Gurung (Hon Capt)
Sub-Maj Udahang Limbu
Sub-Maj Kamansing Limbu (Hon Capt, Bahadur OBI)
Sub-Maj Kulman Pradhan, Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt, Sardar Bahadur OBI)
Sub-Maj Manser Rai, Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt, Sardar Bahadur OBI)
Sub-Maj Kulbahadur Limbu, Sardar Bahadur OBI (Maj (GCO) OBE)
Maj (KGO) Gambahadur Thapa
Maj (KGO) Harke Thapa
Maj (QGO) Krishnabahadur Limbu
Maj (QGO) Kulbahadur Gurung IOM MC and Bar
Maj (QGO) Balbahadur Tamang MVO MBE MM (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Nardhoj Rai MC (Hon Capt (GCO))

3rd Battalion

1940-44
1944-47
Sub-Maj Lalbahadur Sunwar, Sardar Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt MBE)
Sub-Maj Bagdhan Rai MC (Maj (GCO) OBE)

4th Battalion

1941-43
1943-44
1944-45
1945-47
Sub-Maj Kajiman Lama (II), Bahadur OBI (Sardar Bahadur OBI)
Sub-Maj Dhanman Thapa
Sub-Maj Manser Rai, Bahadur OBI (Hon Capt, Sardar Bahadur OBI)
Sub-Maj Mahaser Limbu, Sardar Bahadur MC OBI

Amalgamated Battalion

1968-69
1969-72
1972-75
1975-78
1978-82
1982-85
1985-87
1987-89
1989-91
1991-93
1993-94
Maj (QGO) Nardhoj Rai MC (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Bhaktabahadur Limbu DCM (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Purnasing Limbu MVO MC (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Bhagisor Limbu MVO MBE MC (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Amarbahadur Thapa MVO MBE (Hon Lt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Bhimbahadur Rai MBE (Hon Lt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Manbahadur Rai (Hon Capt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Amekmani Rai (Hon Lt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Himraj Gurung MVO (Hon Lt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Sukbahadur Rai MVO (Hon Lt (GCO))
Maj (QGO) Chandraparsad Limbu (Hon Capt (GCO) MBE)

Appendix 6: Casualty Statistics, 1890-1994 [Back to top]

1890-1914 1914-21
WW1
1939-47
WW2
1948-60
Malaya
1963-66
Borneo
Killed in action 12+ * 544 26 19
Died of wounds 3+ 143 3 -
Missing presumed dead - * 143 - -
Disease, accidents etc 5+ * 309 17# 15
TOTAL DEAD 20+ 666 1139 46 34 1905+
WOUNDED 22+ 1175 1958 92 14 3261+

+ = Minimum figure
* = Detailed breakdown not available
# = Another 14 died from natural causes or civil accidents in Malaya in this period

The above figures differ in some respects from those published in the Short History of 1990, because further work was done on the Roll of Honour for publication in Volume 3 of the Regimental History (published 2000) and the above data is based on this fresh research. Numbers of Prisoners of War are not available, except for those released by the Germans in 1945 (1 British Officer, 1 Gurkha Officer and 20 Gurkha Other Ranks). The numbers of fatalities are based on lists of names of those who are known to have died. Another 81 men not included in the table remained untraced at the end of WW2, many of whom may have died in unknown circumstances, perhaps as prisoners.


Appendix 7: Awards for Gallantry and Distinguished Service 1890-1994 [Back to top]

       
1890-
1913
1914-
1919
1920-
1938
1939-
1947
1948-
1962
1963-
1966 
1967-
1994
Totals
VC
*
-
-
-
-
1
-
1
VC
GCB
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
1
GCB
KCB
-
-
-
-
-
-
3
3
KCB
CB
2
1
-
-
-
-
2
5
CB
CSI 
-
-
1
-
-
-
-
1
CSI
CMG 
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
1
CMG
CIE
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
1
CIE
CBE
n/a
-
-
2
4
-
3
9
CBE
DSO
3
5
1
11
2
2
-
24
DSO
OBE
n/a
1
2
5
4
6
3
21
OBE
MVO
*
*
*
*
3
1
11
15
MVO
MBE
n/a
-
-
7
8
9
16
40
MBE
IOM
1
10
1
10
n/a
n/a
n/a
22
IOM
MC
n/a
10
3
54
13
11
-
91
MC
OBI1
1
2
3
17
n/a
n/a
n/a
23
OBI1
OBI2
4
4
7
20
n/a
n/a
n/a
35
OBI2
DCM
n/a
*
*
*
11
2
-
13
DCM
GM
n/a
n/a
n/a
-
-
-
1
1
GM
IDSM
-
20
11
34
n/a
n/a
n/a
65
IDSM
MM
n/a
*
*
86
39
8
-
133
MM
BEM
n/a
*
2
8
-
17
27
BEM
RVM
1
-
1
-
n/a
n/a
n/a
2
RVM
MSM
4
6
15
14
*
*
*
39
MSM
MID
1
55
16
245
163
24
2
506
MID
Other
3
1
1
16
17
2
42
82
Other
20
117
62
523
272
66
101
1161
TOTAL

* = Gurkhas not eligible at the time.
n/a = Not available for award at the time.

Coverage of awards to Gurkha officers and other ranks is believed to be complete, but research into awards to British officers continues.

 


 
www.10gr.com