Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Memorial day - 4

Between the Embankment and Horse Guards, at the junction of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall Court, north of the Ministry of Defence in Westminster, London, stands the Gurkha Soldier Memorial, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth 2 on December 3, 1997

“Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you",
the words by Sir Ralph Turner, inscribed on the memorial, who served with the 3rd Queen Alexandra‘s Own Gurkha Rifles in World War 1..

The Gurkha people take their name from the eighth century Hindu warrior saint Guru Gorakhnath and are native to Nepal. They fought against the British East India Company in the Gurkha War (1814 - 1816). So impressed were the British, that after the war ground to a stalemate the “Company” were granted permission to hire Gurkhas. So came into being the Gurkha Regiment to fight as mercenaries for the British. Today, under International Law the Gurkhas are not treated as mercenaries, the Brigade of Ghurkhas is fully integrated into the British Army.

One hundred thousand Gurkhas fought in the First World War and 250,000 in WW2. Post WW2, while American troops got bogged down in Vietnam, the Gurkhas were one, if not “The”, major factor in quelling the communist insurrection in Malaya.

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest award for valour “in the face of the enemy” granted to members of British forces. Gurkha soldiers have won 13 VCs; in addition 13VCs have been awarded to British Officers serving in Gurkha regiments. The Gurkhas are truly legendary soldiers and are one of the foremost elite fighting units, not only in the British Army, but any army.

The emblem of the Brigade of Gurkhas is the “kukri” knife, an iconic symbol of bravery.

Click here to see YesBut’s Image of the day and make a suggestion of a suitable caption for the picture.

1 comment:

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

It looks like this statue is doing a very long wee!