The Gurkha Museum Online Exhibition 1 - 11 November 2020

Welcome to The Gurkha Museum’s 2020 Autumn Exhibition:

Unforgotten:

A Commemoration of Gurkha Service and Sacrifice

During this time of reflection and remembrance we will be sharing stories from our archives of the valour and sacrifice of Gurkha soldiers over the past 205 years.

Remembrance Sunday, which will be held on Sunday 8th November is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to remember the men and women of their armed forces who died in the line of duty.  Every year on 11th November a two minute silence is held at 11am, marking the end of the fighting between Germany and the Allied Forces on the Western Front in 1918. Remembrance honours those who serve to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life. We unite across faiths, cultures and backgrounds to remember the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth.

Each year members of the serving Brigade and Gurkha Brigade Association form up at the Cenotaph Remembrance Parade in London, where a wreath is lain at the Gurkha Memorial statue in Whitehall. Across Units in the UK and abroad members of the Brigade of Gurkhas remember the fallen with wreath laying and remembrance events during the month of November.

Over 90,000 Gurkha soldiers served during the First World War, of which more than 20,000 were wounded or killed. It is estimated that over 300,000 Gurkha Soldiers have served the British Crown since Gurkhas were first enlisted to fight for Britain in 1815.

During this period of Remembrance and reflection over the next 11 days we will share stories from our archives of bravery and sacrifice and commemorate and celebrate the Gurkhas continuing service to Britain.

The Elizabeth Cross

The Elizabeth Cross was instated in 2009. It is granted to the next of kin of Armed Forces personnel killed on operations or as a result of terrorism as a mark of national recognition for their loss.

The Museum holds just one Elizabeth Cross in its collection, which previously belonged to Diana Ruffell, the sister of Lt Forbes Hugh Wallace (6GR) and was presented to her by the county’s Lord Lieutenant in 2014.

Read more about the Elizabeth Cross and its history as well as the full story of Lt Hugh Wallace, who was killed in action during the Borneo Confrontation.

Other Articles

Captain David Young, 4th Gurkha Rifles and the Albert Medal

Captain David Young joined the 4th Gurkha Rifles in 1892. In 1906 at Ferozepore he assisted in extinguishing a fire in the city arsenal, which, had it spread out of control, could have caused untold destruction of the local area and attendant loss of life, helping to remove the stores of gunpowder at critical moments throughout the operation, for which he would later receive the Albert Medal.

Frank Blaker VC – July 1944

Frank Blaker was born in India on 8th May 1920, the son of Captain Blaker who had served in Mesopotamia during the First World War. Frank joined the Somerset Light Infantry in March 1940. In May 1942 he joined the 3rd Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles, which then formed part of the 4th Indian Infantry Brigade of 26th Indian Division. The Division was operating in the Arakan with the object of containing any Japanese advance into India from that quarter.

One Man’s Burma Campaign:

by Dr Robert Lyman FRHIstS

The Burma Campaign was the longest campaign fought by the British Commonwealth during the Second World War. Only a tiny handful of soldiers served throughout the entirety of the campaign. One was the Gurkha officer David Tennant Cowan.

Constitution Hill Memorial Pavilion.

Amongst the names on the inside roof of the Memorial Pavilion at Constitution Hill in London are the fifteen members of Gurkha Regiments who received the Victoria Cross in two World Wars, three during the First World War and twelve during the Second World War. Of these last twelve, five were awarded posthumously.

Michael Allmand VC - 1944,

On June 11th 1944, whilst serving in Burma during the Second World War, Lt Allmand, (then an Acting Captain, due to the attrition rates of other officers) was commanding the lead platoon of a company of 6th Gurkha Rifles, and was ordered into an attack on a bridge across the Pin Hmi road at Mogaung. This site was heavily defended by well dug-in Japanese troops, and when the Gurkhas approached, they took accurate and withering fire.

Netrabahadur Thapa VC

Netrabahadur Thapa was born in 1916 and enlisted with the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) in 1932. He served on the North West Frontier and was promoted to Subedar (Captain), before being transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the regiment and being posted to the Chin hills in Burma with the 17th Indian Division. In March 1944 the division was ordered to withdraw to Imphal to halt the Japanese assault and movement towards the Indian Assam plains and Bengal.

Memorial Plaques - Sete Pun

Over 20,000 Gurkha soldiers became casualties during the First World War and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the names of 6,168 Gurkha soldiers who gave their lives during the conflict. During the Second World War these figures climbed to 23,655 casualties and 8,816 recorded killed by the CWGC.

Family Reflection of Remembrance

by Colonel (Retired) James Robinson CBE.

At this time of Remembrance many will remember members of their family who died in the service of their country. Like others in the Brigade of Gurkhas I come from a long line of military forefathers, the last 5 generations served in the Indian Army. This year I remember my great, great uncle, Captain John Graham Robinson, who served in the 2nd Goorkhas and died of his wounds at the Heights of Dargai on the Tirah Campaign on the 23rd of October 1897.

Rifleman Sherbahadur Thapa

Rifleman Sherbahadur Thapa enlisted at the outbreak of World War II and after completing his basic training at the Regimental Centre was sent to 1st Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles who were based at that time in Italy. He was sent out when a new draft of men was needed following the extremely heavy casualties suffered during the second assault on Monte Cassino.

Rifleman Thaman Gurung VC

Thaman Gurung enlisted with the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) and in September 1944, towards the end of the Second World War, was posted to the 1st Battalion in Italy then part of the 17th Brigade of 8th Indian Division in the Eighth Army. On 10th November 1944, A Company, in which Thaman Gurung was serving, was ordered to send a fighting patrol of one platoon on to Monte San Bartolo, the objective for a future attack.

Gurkha Soldiers and Remembrance

Over 20,000 Gurkha soldiers became casualties during the First World War and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the names of 6,168 Gurkha soldiers who gave their lives during the conflict. During the Second World War these figures climbed to 23,655 casualties and 8,816 recorded killed by the CWGC. Since the end of the Second World War in 1945 around 600 Gurkha soldiers have become casualties or been killed in British service, including 15 members of the Brigade of Gurkhas who lost their lives in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2012.

Rifleman Aimansing Pun

In May 1926 Rifleman Aimansing Pun was serving with the first Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles on manoeuvres at Attock near Peshawar. On May 16th, a party of men were washing their clothes on the banks of a wide river, which by reason of the strong converging currents was extremely dangerous to swimmers. Contrary to orders, one of the party Kishanbahadur Thapa, entered the stream, swam out some fifty yards from the bank, was caught by the current and rendered helpless.

Gurkha Officer Remembers Heroic Grandfather

In the month of Remembrance Day and after the nation marked the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) in the Summer, a Gurkha officer has paid tribute to his grandfather who was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung VC was given the nation’s highest honour for valour in recognition of his “outstanding bravery and complete disregard for his own safety” during fighting in Burma on 5 March 1945. As 3rd Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles advanced near Tamandu they came under heavy and accurate machine gun, mortar and sniper fire from Japanese troops. Repeatedly exposing himself to danger, Bhanbaghta Gurung VC cleared five positions singlehandedly, inspiring his colleagues to overcome the Japanese resistance.

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