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The Gully Cup

The alliance between Britain and Nepal dates back to the signing of the Treaty of Segauli, signed on March 4th 1816. This treaty ended the Anglo-Nepal war, which had inconclusively been fought from 1814, and affirmed the ‘perpetual peace and friendship’ between the British and Nepalese peoples. This sentiment has been taken to heart by both parties over the following two centuries, with Nepal often sending its own troops (as well as allowing the recruiting of Gurkhas into British service) to assist Britain in times of need. One of the earliest occurrences of this support occurred during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

Due to a variety of grievances, in April and May 1857 large numbers of Indian troops rebelled against the orders of their East India Company officers and significant areas quickly fell under their control, including the city of Delhi by mid-May. Gurkha troops of the Sirmoor Battalion, which would later go on to become 2nd King Edward VII’s own Gurkha Rifles (the Sirmoor Rifles), were heavily involved in the British attempt to retake the city in late 1857. At the Siege of Delhi the Gurkhas of the Sirmoor Battalion fought side by side with their British comrades repulsing the rebels' onslaught on Hindoo Rao’s House. Finally on 14th September 1857 they stormed one of the gates of Delhi and with other troops lifted the siege.

In addition to the Gurkhas serving under British command, however, a large contingent of Nepalese troops consisting of 12 regiments and over 8,000 men, under the command of Jang Bahadur Rana, the then-Prime Minister of Nepal, were also deployed south into India to help end the rebellion. These troops fought at the relief of the city of Lucknow in March 1858 and were also involved in the pacification of various parts of Central India later that year.

In order to maintain communication between British and Nepalese troops, British officers from the forces of the East India Company were attached to Nepalese units for the duration of the campaign. One such officer was John Francis Slade Gully, who was attached to a unit of Nepalese army troops, which were part of a unit known as Jounpore Field Force, in December 1857. He remained attached to the unit throughout 1858 and was later presented with an engraved silver cup from ‘the civilians of the Jounpore Officers Mess’ in recognition of his time with them. This cup is now in the possession of the Gurkha Museum.

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