Gurkhas and Family Traditions

Gurkhas and Family Traditions

Just as family plays an important role within the Brigade of Gurkhas, ethos, kinship and family play a large role for each individual Gurkha soldier. Long periods of service away from their home country, led the Brigade of Gurkhas to develop a system of ‘Long Leave’.  In the early stages of a soldiers service they would be eligible to take on leave at home in Nepal or Northern India for a continuous period of six months every three years, recognising that because of the distances and costs involvedshorter leave periods would be unviable for junior soldiers. Young soldiers often took the opportunity to marry during their first Long Leave.  

After a period of about six years’ service soldiers below a certain rank also became eligible for an opportunity to have their families live in regimental family quarters for a time, depending on availability; more senior Gurkha officers could have their families permanently based with them. 

The tradition of following previous generations of family members into service has always strong but in the 19th and early 20th Centuries it could begin from a very young age. The image here shows soldiers of the 4th Gurkha Rifles in China c.1900.  The young Gurkha boy is quite possibly the son or grandson of a member of the Regiment and is serving in the role of bugler.  

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