1 Gorkha Rifles

1 Gorkha Rifles

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 1 Gorkha Rifles

caption=Regimental Insignia of the 1GR
dates= 1815 - Present
country= India
branch= Army
type= Rifles
role=Light Role
size=5 Battalions
garrison=Subathu, Himachal Pradesh
garrison_label=Regimental Centre
motto="Kafar Hunu Bhanda Marnu Ramro (Better to die than live like a coward)"
colors="Ayo Gorkhali (The Gorkhas are here)"
colors_label= War Cry
battles=Jat War
First Anglo-Sikh War
Indian Mutiny
Perak War
Second Afghan War
North-West Frontier
Waziristan- 1894
Tirah- 1897
Great War
Third Afghan War
World War II
anniversaries=Raising Day (April 24)
decorations=1 Victoria Cross
1 Param Vir Chakra
7 Maha Vir Chakras
16 Vir Chakras
1 Kirti Chakra
3 Shaurya Chakras
1 Yudh Seva Medal
22 Sena Medals
Afghanistan 1878-80
Punjab Frontier
The Great War
Givenchy 1914
Neuve Chapelle
Ypres 1915
St. Julien
Festubert 1915
France and Flanders 1914-15
Palestine 1918
Tigris 1916
Kut al Amara 1917
Mesopotamia 1916-18
N.W. Frontier India 1915-17
Afghanistan 1919
Second World War
Malaya 1941-42
Shenam Pass
Myinmu Bridgehead
Kyaukse 1945
Burma 1942-45
Post Independance
Jammu and Kashmir 1965
Jammu and Kashmir 1971
East Pakistan 1971
identification_symbol=A pair of crossed Khukris with the numeral 1 above
identification_symbol_label=Regimental Insignia
identification_symbol_2= [http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb309/hammersfan_01/Tartans/Childers.gifChilders (1st Bn pipe bags and plaids)]
[http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb309/hammersfan_01/Tartans/MackenzieHLI.gifMackenzie HLI (2nd Bn pipe bags and plaids)]
The 1 Gorkha Rifles is a Regiment of the Indian Army and was transferred from the British Indian Army at the time of India's independence in 1947.


The Gurkha War was fought between the Gorkha kings of Nepal and the British East India Company as a result of border tensions and ambitious expansionism especially into Kumaon, Garwhal and Kangra hills. The British east India army defeated the Gorkhas army lead by general Amar Singh Thapa but were impressed by its skills and courage during the siege of Malaun fort in Bilaspur. On April 24, 1815 at Subathu, East India Company formed a regiment with the survivors of Thapa's army calling it the First Nusseree (or Nasiri)(friendly or loyal).

The "Regiment" soon saw its first battle when, in 1826, it took part in the Jat War where it helped in the conquest of Bharatpur, gaining it as a Battle Honour, the first Battle Honour awarded to the Gurkha units. In 1846 the First Anglo-Sikh War began and the "Regiment" was heavily involved in the conflict. It was awarded two Battle honours for its involvement in the war; at the Battle of Aliwal which saw the Sikh forces, who had invaded British India thus provoking the war, routed by the British forces and at Sobraon which saw the Sikh forces resoundingly defeated.

The "Regiment" experienced numerous names changes during the 1800s; one name change in 1850 saw it gain a new numerical designation to become the 66th Goorkha Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry after the original 66th had mutinied. The "Regiment" saw service during the Indian Mutiny which began in 1857. The following year Lieutenant John Adam Tytler won the "Regiment's" first Victoria Cross (VC) for the Lieutenant's actions against rebels at Choorpoorah.

In 1861 the "Regiment" gained its present numeral when it became the 1st Goorkha Regiment. In 1875 the "Regiment" was sent abroad for the first time, when it took part in the effort to quell a rebellion in Malaya during the Perak War. During the conflict Captain George Nicolas Channer was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valiant actions against the Malayans. The "Regiment" took part in the Second Afghan War in 1878 where they were part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade and won the Theatre Honour "Afghanistan 1878-80".

In 1886 the "Regiment" became the 1st Goorkha Light Infantry and a "2nd Battalion" was raised in February. In 1891 the "Regiment" was designated a Rifle regiment when it became the 1st Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment and in consequence of this the "Regiment's" Colours were laid up; Rifle regiments by tradition did not possess Colours. The "Regiment" took part in operations in Burma and the North-West Frontier campaigns in the 1890s; at Waziristan in 1894 and the Tirah campaign in 1897.

In 1901 its title was shortened when it became the 1st Gurkha Rifles and in 1903 its title was changed to the 1st Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment). This title had been adopted to commemorate due to the significance of Malaun to the "Regiment"; it was where the British had decisively beaten the Gurkhas in 1815 during the Anglo-Gurka War and subsequently recruited them into the Nusseree battalions. The "Regiment" suffered greatly during the Kangra earthquake that happened on 4 April 1905, the "Regiment" was located near Dharamsala when the earthquake occurred; the earthquake killed 370,000 people with the "Regiment" itself suffering over 60 fatalities.

In 1906 its title was changed to the 1st Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment) in honour of HRH George, Prince of Wales (later King George V) who also became Colonel-in-Chief of the "Regiment" that year. In 1910 King George V ascended to the throne and in consequence the title of the regiment was changed to the 1st King George's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment), thus maintaining the "Regiment's" links with King George.

First World War

In August 1914 the First World War began; the United Kingdom, France and its Allies against Germany and its Allies.

The "1st Battalion" was deployed to France (Western Front) in December that year as-part of the Sirhind Indian Infantry Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Division. The "Battalion" quickly began its participation in the Western Front campaign when they took part in the defence of Givenchy in December during the Winter which was no-doubt a culture shock to the Gurkhas.

On 10 March 1915 the "Battalion" took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which lasted until 13 March. In April the "Battalion" took part in the Second Battle of Ypres, fighting in the subsidiary Battle of St. Julien which began on 24 April and concluded on 4 May. Later that month the "Battalion" took part in the Battle of Festubert and in September the Battle of Loos began, the last major engagement on the Western Front that the "1st Battalion" took part in.

In December 1915 the "Battalion", with the rest of the 3rd Division, arrived in Mesopotamia to take part in the campaign against the Ottomans which had begun in 1914. The Sirhind Brigade was given a numerical designation, the 8th Brigade. In 1916 the "1st Gurkhas" took part in a number of attempts, including the attack on Dujaila Redoubt in March, to relieve the siege of Kut-al-Amara, besieged by the Ottomancs since 7 December 1915, but those attempts failed and Kut was surrendered to the Ottomans on 29 April. The "Regiment" took part in the Allied Offensive against the Ottomans later that year; this included the effort to recapture Kut, begun in December, which was recaptured in February 1917 and the capital Baghdad which was taken the following month.

The "1st Battalion" was later moved to Palestine in early 1918. It was involved in the effective Allied offensive against the Ottomans in September, the Battle of Megiddo, and also saw action at the Sharon.

Elsewhere the "Regiment" also saw service in the North-West Frontier of India. In 1917 a "3rd Battalion" was raised and was eventually disbanded in 1921.

The war formally ended on 11 November 1918 with the signing of the Armistice. The Western Front was a completely different location to what the "Regiment" had been used to in the sub-continent, however, they acquitted themselves commendably, and performing with distinction in the many battles they took part in, proving the capability of the Gurkhas once more. The "Regiment" won 11 Battle Honours and 4 Theatre Honours during WWI.

In 1919 the "1st" and "2nd" battalions saw service during the Third Afghan War for which they gained the Theatre Honour "Afghanistan 1919".

econd World War

In 1937 the "Regiment's" name was altered slightly when it became the 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment); the only change being the addition of a V.

In September 1939 the Second World War commenced between the UK and its allies against Germany. In December 1941 the Japanese entered the war when it launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and launched a number of swift invasions of British and other countries territories. During the course of the war the "Regiment" raised a further three battalions, the "3rd" in 1940, the "4th" in 1941 and the "5th" in 1942; the "Regiment" saw much service in the war but most notably in Malaya and Burma.

The "Regiment" saw ferocious fighting during the Japanese invasion of Malaya; the "2nd Battalion", part of the 28th Brigade, saw heavy fighting at Jitra where the "Battalion" eventually fled in panic at Asun having being confronted by overwhelming Japanese forces which included tanks. The "1st Battalion" saw action at Kampar and were absolutely mauled by the Japanese during an engagement at the Slim River Bridge on the 7 January. The Allies had withdrawn from Malaya, to Singapore, by January 1942. The Japanese subsequently launched an invasion of Singapore and bitter fighting ensued; Singapore, which had once been perceived as impregnable, fell on the 15 February 1942 with 130,000 British, Australian and Empire troops, including men of the "2nd Battalion", taken prisoner by the Japanese.

In Burma, a similar situation occurred, the Allies having to - having come under intense attacks from the Japanese who had began their offensive in December - commence a retreat to India from February 1942 which was completed in May. The battalions of the "Regiment" saw heavy fighting in 1944 in the Arakan and during the Japanese offensive against north-east India where two important battles, Kohima and Imphal, took place from March to June 1944. Imphal was besieged by the Japanese until the Allies achieved a decisive victory at Kohima in June and the Japanese fled back into Burma. The "Regiment" subsequently took part in the successful Allied offensive into Burma and on the 3 May the Burmese capital Rangoon was liberated by British forces. There were still Japanese forces present in Burma but the fight against the Japanese was now ostensibly a mopping up operation.

The war concluded with the formal surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945 on the deck of the USS "Missouri" in Tokyo Bay; the Allies had prevailed after nearly 6 years of fighting. In French Indochina that same day the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, declared their independence from France as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Shortly afterwards the British began to send units of the 20th Indian Infantry Division, which the "1st" and "3rd" Battalions were part of, to occupy the south of the country while the Nationalist Chinese occupied the north; the deployment was completed by October. The force was intended to disarm the Japanese forces and help in their repatriation back to Japan. The force, however, soon became embroiled in the fight against the Viet Minh and was soon helping in the restoration of French-control over the country. The British were, due to a lack of sufficient manpower, ironically forced to have the Japanese forces working alongside the British forces in Indochina to maintain peace and stability. The operations against the Viet Minh gradually became more intense and after substantial French reinforcements arrived the British and Indian forces departed by May 1946, and the First Indochina War would begin shortly afterwards.

From September 1945 the 7th Indian Infantry Division, which the "4th Battalion" was part of, was deployed to Siam (now Thailand) as part of an occupation force sent there to disarm the large Japanese forces present. The "Battalion" subsequently moved to Malaya in 1946 and then onto India.

The three battalions were raised during the war - the "3rd, 4th" and "5th" - were disbanded in 1946.

1 Gorkha Rifles

The Regiment, in consequence of the Tripartite Agreement between India, Nepal and the UK, was transferred to the Army of the newly-independent India. The "Regiment" retained its name until 1950 when it became the 1 Gorkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment), also adopting the Indian spelling of Gurkha, following India's transition to a republic. The regiment remains in existence and comprises 5 battalions. In 1961 Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria won the posthumous Param Vir Chakra (PVC), the Indian equivalent of the Victoria Cross, for his actions in the Congo when the 3rd Battalion, of which he was part, was on United Nations service.

Valour Awards

*Victoria Cross
**John Adam Tytler
*Param Vir Chakra
**Gurbachan Singh Salaria

ee also

*Gorkha regiments (India)
*Indian Army
*British Indian Army

External links

* [http://www.bharat-rakshak.com Bharat-Rakshak]


* [http://www.telegraphindia.com/1071116/asp/frontpage/story_8555513.asp Tribute to Gorkha soldiers]

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