2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles
Sirmoor2GR.jpg
Cap badge of the 2 Gurkha Rifles
Active 1815–1994
Country  British India
 United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Infantry
Role Light Infantry
Garrison/HQ British Hong Kong
Nickname The Sirmoor Rifles, Second (2nd) GR
Colors Green; faced and piped red, 1888 scarlet
March Lutzow's Wild Chase(Quick March)
Commanders
Colonel in Chief HRH The Prince of Wales
Notable
commanders
Lieutenant-Colonel Begbie
Major General D Macintyre VC
Colonel H T Macpherson VC
Subadar-Major Santbir Gurung
Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick William Nicolay
Insignia
Shoulder Flash Gurkha TRF.PNG
Abbreviation 2 GR

The 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) was a rifle regiment of the British Indian Army before being transferred to the British Army comprising Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin on India's independence in 1947. The 4th Battalion joined the Indian Army as the 5th Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles (Sirmoor Rifles), where it exists to this day. As part of the British Army, the regiment served in Malaya, Hong Kong and Brunei until 1994 when it was amalgamated with the other three British Army Gurkha regiments to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles. It is the only Gurkha regiment which did not have Khukuri on its cap badge.[1]

Formation and early service[edit]

The regiment was first raised in 1815 as The Sirmoor Battalion.[2] This was the first Gurkha unit in the service of the East India Company to see action, during the 3rd Mahratta War in 1817. The regiment, by now named the 8th (Sirmoor) Local Battalion, gained its first battle honour at Bhurtpore in 1825.[3] During the First Sikh War, the regiment fought at Bhudaiwal and Sobraon, as well as the Battle of Aliwal. Personnel carried colours at the time, and the flagpole was broken by cannon fire. The colour itself was seized by the Sikhs but reclaimed by a small party of Gurkhas led by a Havildar who chopped their way into the densely packed enemy lines.[4]

Kabul expeditionary force on the march: Quarter Guard of the 3 Gorkha Rifles. Nov. 30, 1878.

During the Indian Mutiny, the Sirmoor Battalion was one of the Indian regiments that remained loyal to Britain. It was during this that the regiment took part in the defence of Hindu Rao's House, near Delhi.[4] For their part in the action, the Sirmoor Battalion was presented with the Queen's Truncheon, which became a replacement for the colours that they relinquished when the regiment became a rifle regiment in 1858.[nb 1][4] With the decision to number the Gurkha regiments in 1861, the Sirmoor Rifles became the 2nd Gúrkha Regiment. In 1876, which then acquired a royal patron in the then Prince of Wales, becoming the 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Gúrkha Regiment (the Sirmoor Rifles).[5]

First World War[edit]

During the First World War, the 2nd Gurkhas (by now named the 2nd King Edward's Own Gurkha Rifles), along with the other regiments of the Gurkha Brigade, served initially in Flanders. In 1915, the 2nd Battalion moved to Egypt, before returning to India in 1916. The 1st Battalion went to Persia and Mesopotamia in 1916, assisting in the fall of Baghdad.[6] In 1919 it was assigned to the Norperforce in Iran.[7]

Second World War[edit]

The Second World War saw the 2nd Gurkhas serving in many different theatres; the 1st Battalion was initially in Cyprus before moving to North Africa as part of 7th Indian Infantry Brigade, 4th Indian Division, where it fought at El Alamein. Following this it took part in the invasion of Italy, taking part in the battle for Monte Cassino. The 2nd Battalion meanwhile spent much of the war as prisoners of the Japanese after being captured in Malaya. The 3rd Battalion (raised during the war) took part in the Chindit operations in Burma in 1943.[3]

Indian Independence[edit]

In 1947, as part of India's independence, it was agreed that the Gurkha regiments would be split between the British and Indian armies—the British Army would take on four regiments (the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th), while the Indian Army would retain the rest.[8]

While the 2nd Gurkhas became one of the four Gurkha regiments to transfer to the British Army, the regiment's 4th Battalion was transferred to the Indian Army as 5th Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles (Sirmoor Rifles) where it exists to this day. The first Indian commanding officer of this battalion, Lieutenant Colonel (later Brigadier) Nisi Kanta Chatterji, requested Army Headquarters, to let the battalion keep the title 'Sirmoor Rifles', which was accepted. This battalion saw action in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War (as part of the 3rd (Independent) Armoured Brigade, 28 and 191 Infantry Brigades) where it stopped the advance of the Pakistani armour to Akhnur in the Battle of the Fatwal Ridge. In the 1971 war against Pakistan, the battalion now as part of the 68th Mountain Brigade, the corps reserves, once again saw fierce action in the defence of Chamb-Akhnur. It launched five successful counterattacks and recaptured Chamb village and the bridge over the Tawi river.[citation needed] A replica of the bridge exists as a trophy in the officers mess.

It also fought in the Indian North east against the Naga insurgents and in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. Here it distinguished itself by killing the Supreme Commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, the leading Kashmiri insurgent group. It was awarded the Northern Army Commanders Citation in 1998. It was deployed in Sierra Leone as part of UNAMSIL and distinguished itself in Operation Khukri in which the Revolutionary United Front rebels were decisively defeated.[citation needed]

Post Indian Independence[edit]

Following this, the 2nd Gurkhas spent several years in the Far East, initially during the Malayan Emergency from 1948–1960. Following this, the regiment's two battalions alternated between Malaya, Borneo, Brunei and Hong Kong, before receiving a regimental depot at Church Crookham in Hampshire. In 1992, while serving in Hong Kong, the 1st and 2nd Battalions amalgamated to form a single 1st Battalion. This was followed in 1994 by the regiment being amalgamated with the 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles to form the 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles.[9]

Battle honours[edit]

The regiment was awarded the following battle honours:

Victoria Crosses[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Rifle regiments by tradition did not possess Colours.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Lawrance Ordnance - Gurkha (British Army) Regiment Badges
  2. ^ Parker 2005, p. 46.
  3. ^ a b c Chappell 1993, p. 15.
  4. ^ a b c Chappell 1993, p. 13.
  5. ^ Chappell 1993, p. 14.
  6. ^ Chappell 1993, pp. 14–15.
  7. ^ Cecil John Edmonds (2009), East and West of Zagros, Brill Academic Publishers, OCLC 593346009 
  8. ^ Parker 2005, p. 224.
  9. ^ Parker 2005, p. 302.
  10. ^ Parker 2005, pp. 385–386.
  11. ^ Parker 2005, pp. 391–393.

References[edit]

  • Chappell, Mike (1993). The Gurkhas. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-357-5. 
  • Parker, John (2005). The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World's Most Feared Soldiers. London: Headling Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7553-1415-7. 

External links[edit]