Gurkhas During World War 1

gurkhas cooking during world war 1Gurkhas cooking for the French during World War 1

At the outbreak of World War 1 the Gurkha community came forward and pushed its soldiers at the disposal of the Commonwealth. Over 16,000 Gurkha's were subsequently deployed on the operations of the North-West-Frontier and as Garrison Battalions in India to replace troops of the British Indian Army who had gone to fight overseas. Some one hundred thousand Gurkha's enlisted in Regiments of the Gurkha Brigade. The fought and died; France and Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and Salonika. A battalion of the 8th Gurkha's greatly distinguished itself at the Loos, fighting to the last, and in the words of the Indian Corps Commander, “found its Valhalla”. The 6th Gurkha's gained immortal fame at Gallipoli during the capture from the Turks of the feature later known as “Gurkha Bluff. At Sari Bair, they were the only troops in the whole campaign to reach and hold the crest line and look down on the Straits which was the ultimate objective. To quote from Field Marshal Sir William Slim’s introduction to the second volume of the 6th Gurkha's history:

“I first met the 6th Gurkha Rifles in 1915 in Gallipoli. There I was so struck by their bearing in one of the most desperate battles in history that I resolved, should the opportunity come to serve with them. Four years later it came, and I spent many of the happiest and from a military point of view the most valuable, years of my life in the Regiment”

The most famous Gurkha was Rifleman Kulbir Thapa who received a Victoria Cross for his valour in the Battle of Loos in 1915.

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