4th Gurkha Rifles Miniature Memorial Bell

4th Gurkha Rifles Miniature Memorial Bell

Accession Number: 1989.08.06

Silverware

By the close of the First World War all ten pre-existing Gurkha regiments had fought in the conflict, and a further regiment had been temporarily raised to support them. Gurkha regiments suffered over 20,000 casualties during the war, with over 6,000 dead reported. Like other British and Commonwealth forces who served and died in the war, the families of Gurkhas who had fallen were to receive a Memorial Plaque in bronze (colloquially known as a Dead Man’s Penny), commemorating their name and sacrifice. Due to the similarity or duplication of many Gurkha soldier’s names, and the difficulty in contacting or finding next of kin for Gurkhas in rural or hard to reach areas in Nepal, many of the Gurkha regiments found that they were unable to deliver these plaques. In order to ensure remembrance, these undelivered plaques were melted down by several regiments and recast into large bronze Memorial Bells kept by the regiment. 4th Prince of Wales’s Own Gurkha Rifles followed this practice in 1927, and later a miniature of that bell, made in silver, was created.

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© The Gurkha Museum Trust Winchester - Registered Charity Number 1169920 (formerly 272426)