Nepti the Tiger

In 1952 1st/7th Gurkha Rifles were stationed in Negri Sembilan in Malaya, during the Malayan Emergency.

Whilst on a routine patrol, a group of Gurkha soldiers from No. 4 Platoon, ‘B’ Company, 1st/7th Gurkha Rifles stumbled across the body of a dead female tiger, sat next to which was a small and distressed tiger cub. Not wishing to remain in the vicinity any longer than was necessary, the patrol made the decision to take the cub with them back to their base. The cub was introduced to the camp and, aware that such a young cub would be unlikely to survive long on its own in the jungle, the Gurkha soldiers took the decision to keep the tiger.

After briefly being sent to a local rubber plantation (where Nepti delighted the manager’s two daughters but proved too boisterous for their mother’s liking and quickly returned), Nepti spent the next few months amongst the Gurkha’s lines, getting to know the soldiers and ‘greeting’ new visitors with a playful gnaw on an ankle. Though popular, she grew quickly (assisted by a diet of milk and pork chops, by all accounts her favourite food) and it was soon realised that a fully-grown tiger would be too much of a hazard for the camp. The decision was taken to send Nepti on, and luckily a deal was soon struck with London Zoo, who agreed to take her in.

Nepti arrived at London Zoo on the 18th of August 1952 and remained there for the rest of her life, having two cubs of her own. In 1953, as part of the Coronation Contingent sent from 7th Gurkha Rifles, some of the soldiers who had originally found and took care of Nepti travelled to London and were once again able to see her in her new environment.

Medals and Commendations

Medals of Col H. Senior, 2nd Gurkha Rifles 1862-71

A career military officer, Colonel Henry Senior joined the 2nd Gurkha Rifles in 1862 and served through a number of campaigns with the regiment before becoming a Jail Superintendent in the Indian city of Meerut. After several similar appointments he was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Silver Medal.

The Silver Medal is the society’s oldest award and is only presented to those who have either put themselves in extreme danger and difficulty when rescuing or protecting others.

Albert Medal for saving life on land, awarded to 3790 Rifleman Aimansing Pun 1/6GR.

In May 1926 Rifleman Aimansing Pun was stationed with the first Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles on manoeuvres at Attock near Peshawar. On the morning of May 16th, a fellow soldier, swimming at the confluence of the Kabul and Indus Rivers, got into difficulty in strong currents. Aimansing immediately dove in to rescue the drowning man and managed to reach him and swim both of them some way back towards the riverbank, before the currents pulled the drowning soldier from him. Aimansing had placed himself in serious danger with this rescue attempt and only managed to reach land himself with great difficulty. For this brave rescue attempt, endeavouring to save the life of a fellow soldier, Aimansing Pun was awarded the Albert Medal.

Silver Medal to 'Tutu'

A Persian 5-Kran piece, fashioned into a ‘medal’ and awarded to Tutu, the dog of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Gurkha Rifles. Tutu was wounded three times in the early 1920’s but rescued time and again by the Battalion’s soldiers.

Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct Badge awarded to Capt. Francis Hoyal, August 1967

Captain Hoyal, when attached to the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Gurkha Rifles in 1967 in Hong Kong. was off duty when one Sergeant Workman was injured in an explosion during ordnance clearing on a steep and dangerous slope. Upon reaching the area Captain Hoyal made his way down the slope with no thought for his own safety and provided first aid to the Sergeant until recovery teams could reach them.


In response to the events in Afghanistan in August 2021 as the country rapidly fell under Taliban control, ‘A’ Company of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles was rapidly sent to aid those being evacuated from the Afghan capital of Kabul. Initially deployed to Kosovo on a separate operation, the company was re-tasked with assisting in Operation ALLIED SOLACE, the NATO contribution to assisting those being evacuated from Afghanistan. The Gurkhas of ‘A’ Company rapidly cleared and established a site known as Camp Bechtel to prepare for the arrival of hundreds of Afghan evacuees and their families, many of whom had lost everything during their escape.

‘A’ Company rapidly stepped up to meet the challenges of this role, establishing a strong and compassionate dialogue with their charges, assess and attempt to provide for a wide range of needs, and assist with everything from security to Covid-19 testing to data collection. Over time both sides developed a respect and rapport, with volleyball and football competitions becoming hotly contested by both sides.

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