Jump to content

9th Gorkha Rifles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
9th Gorkha Rifles
Active1817 – Present
Country India
Branch Indian Army
Size5 Battalions
Regimental CentreVaranasi, Uttar Pradesh
Motto(s)Kafar Hunu Bhanda Marnu Niko काफर हुनु भन्दा मर्नु निको (Better to die than live like a coward)
ColorsRed faced yellow
1894 Dark Green; faced black
MarchWar Cry: Jai Maha Kali, Ayo Gorkhali (Hail Goddess Kali, The Gorkhas are here)
Decorations3 Victoria Cross
5 Maha Vir Chakras
17 Vir Chakras
7 Shaurya Chakras
13 Sena Medals
1 Ashoka Chakra
Battle honoursPost Independence Phillora,
Kumarkhali and
Dera Baba Nanak
Colonel of
the Regiment
Lt Gen Zubin A Minwalla
Regimental InsigniaA pair of crossed Khukris with the numeral 9 below
Chhetri or gorkhas

The 9th Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha infantry regiment of the Indian Army and, previously, the British Army. The regiment was initially formed by the British in 1817, and was one of the Gurkha regiments transferred to the Indian Army after independence as part of the tripartite agreement in 1947. This Gorkha regiment mainly recruits soldiers who come from Nepal's Gorkhali Kshatriya community i.e. the Chhetri and Thakuri clans. Domiciled Indian Gorkhas are also recruited, and they form about 20 percent of the regiment's total strength. The 9 Gorkha Rifles is one of the seven Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army. The other regiments are 1 GR, 3 GR, 4 GR, 5 GR (FF), 8 GR and 11 GR.





The history of the 9th Gorkha Rifles dates back to 1817, when it was raised as the "Fatehgarh Levy"; this designation was changed the following year to the "Mynpoory Levy". In 1823, the unit became the 1st Battalion, 32nd Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, although this only last until 1824 when it was renamed the "63rd Regiment", and was formed as a regular unit as part of the Bengal Native Infantry. After the reorganisations that took place in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the regiment's designation was changed to the "9th Bengal Native Infantry" in 1861;[1] at this time one of its companies was formed by Gorkhas and the others by hillmen. By then the regiment had fought at Bhartpur and in the difficult Battle of Sobraon in the First Anglo-Sikh War.[citation needed]

By 1893, the regiment became a wholly Gorkha unit of Khas origin, accepting only those who were more closely linked to Hindu ways as compared to the Buddhist ways. In 1903, the regiment was designated as the 9th Gurkha Rifles.[2]

9 GR fought in World War I in Europe,[3] and in the inter war years took part in the operations on the North-West Frontier.[4]

In response to a peaceful civilian public gathering, that included entire families, temporary brigadier general R. E. H. Dyer blocked the only open entrance/exit to this meeting place with the 9th Gurkha infantry regiment of the British Army.[7] Thus the Jallianwala Bagh courtyard (where the event was taking place) could only be exited on 1 side, as its other 3 sides were locked.

Dyer then ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to shoot even as the unarmed civilians tried to flee. The troops kept shooting until their ammunition was exhausted.[8] Dyer testified he ... wanted to inflict a lesson that would have an impact throughout all of India. Dyer also had sat his disposal a British armored car sporting a machine gun, but it couldn't enter the courtyard as a result of a narrow passageway. When asked if he would of ordered the machine gun to be used to kill civilians he replied I think so probably.

Estimates of those killed (many argue murdered) vary from 379 to 1,500 or more people;[1] over 1,200 others were injured, of whom 192 sustained critical injuries.[9][10] Britain has never formally apologised for the massacre but expressed "deep regret" in 2019.[11].[5]

Soldiers from 2/9 GR in Malaya, October 1941

In World War II, the regiment's battalions fought in Malaya,[6] Italy, and North Africa.[7] The 3/9 GR and 4/9 GR formed part of the Chindit operations in Burma,[8] and earned a reputation in the long range penetration operations.[citation needed]



India gained its independence in 1947 and 9th Gorkha Rifles was one of six Gurkha regiments (out of 10) allocated to the Indian Army as part of the Tripartite Agreement between Britain, India and Nepal.[9][10] Since 1947 the regiment has fought in the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the 1/9 GR fought under the most demanding conditions on the Namka Chu in (Arunachal Pradesh).[citation needed]

The battalions of the regiment were involved in the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan.[citation needed]


British and Indian officers 9th Gurkhas at their headquarters (Photo 24-59) in France. July 1915
Gorkhas from the Khas or Kus tribe

The regiment has existed since 1817 under the following designations:[citation needed]

  • 1817–1819: Fatagarh Levy
  • 1819–1824: Mianpuri Levy
  • 1824–1861: 63rd Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry
  • 1861–1885: 9th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry
  • 1885–1894: 9th Regiment of Bengal Infantry
  • 1894–1901: 9th (Gurkha Rifle) Bengal Infantry
  • 1903–1947: 9th Gurkha Rifles
  • 1950–present: 9 Gorkha Rifles

Battle honours


The battle honours of the 9th Gorkha rifles are:[11]

  • Pre-Independence: Bharatpur, Sobraon, Afghanistan (1879–80), Punjab Frontier,
  • World War I: La Bassee, Festubert, Armentieres, Givenchy, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Loos, France and Flanders, Tigris, Kut-al-Amara, Mesopotamia,
  • World War II: Malaya (1941–42), Djebel El Meida, Djebel Garci, Ragoubet Souissi, North Africa (1940–43), Cassino I, Hangman's Hill, Tavoleto, San Marino, Italy (1943–45), Chindits 1944, Burma (1942–45).
  • Indo-Pak Conflict 1965: Phillora, Punjab 1965
  • Indo-Pak Conflict 1971: Kumarkhali, East Pakistan 1971, Jammu and Kashmir 1971, Dera Baba Nanak, Punjab 1971



As the 9th Regiment of Bengal Infantry red coats with yellow facings were worn. In 1894 the newly renamed 9th (Gurkha Rifles) Bengal Infantry were issued with what was to become the standard Gurkha parade and cold weather uniform of rifle green, with puttees, silver insignia, black metal buttons and black facings. The headdress was a round black Kilmarnock cap with a badge of crossed kukris over the numeral 9. Pipers for the 1st Battalion wore a green plaid while the 2nd Battalion were granted the Duff clan tartan by a colonel of that name.[12] The broad brimmed "Kashmir" slouch hat[13] was adopted by the 9th Gurkha Rifles in July 1902.[14] It continued in use with khaki drill service dress as general wear by all ranks in winter and summer, between the two world wars.[15]

Victoria Cross recipients


Notable members

  • John Bradburne, (1921–1979), afterwards the "Vagabond of God".
  • Stafford Beer, operation research theorist who served as an officer with the regiment from 1945-7.[19]
  • Colonel M. N. Rai, a colonel who received the Yudh Seva Medal for bravery and Shaurya Chakra posthumously.
  • Bernard Dineen, (1923–2013), afterwards an award winning journalist for The Yorkshire Post.
  • Lieutenant General B. K. N. Chhibber, later governor of Punjab and administrator of Chandigarh.
  • Lieutenant General Anil Kumar Bhatt, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM was Director General Military Operations (DGMO) at Army Headquarters, Commander of Chinar Corps at Srinagar (J&K) and Military Secretary at Army Headquarters.


  1. ^ "9th Gurkha Rifles". Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  2. ^ Carman 1969, p. 210.
  3. ^ Parker 2005, pp. 102–103.
  4. ^ Punjab disturbances, April 1919; compiled from the Civil and military gazette. Lahore Civil and Military Gazette Press. 9 April 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ Punjab disturbances, April 1919; compiled from the Civil and military gazette. Lahore Civil and Military Gazette Press. 9 April 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ Cross & Gurung 2007, p. 37.
  7. ^ Parker 2005, pp. 164 &210.
  8. ^ Allen 2000, pp. 351 & 353.
  9. ^ Cross & Gurung 2007, pp. 169–171.
  10. ^ Parker 2005, p. 224.
  11. ^ Singh 1993.
  12. ^ Carman 1969, pp. 210–211.
  13. ^ Mollo, Boris (1981). The Indian Army. p. 129. ISBN 0-7137-1074-8.
  14. ^ Carman 1969, p. 211.
  15. ^ Nicholson, J.B.R. (15 June 1974). The Gurkha Rifles. pp. 33–34. ISBN 0-85045-196-5.
  16. ^ Parker 2005, p. 392.
  17. ^ Parker 2005, p. 393.
  18. ^ Parker 2005, p. 210.
  19. ^ "Obituaries: Stafford Beer". The Telegraph. 28 August 2002. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  • Allen, Louis (2000) [1984]. Burma: The Longest War 1941–45. London: Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-260-6.
  • Carman, W. Y. (1969). Indian Army Uniforms Under the British From the 18th Century to 1947: Artillery, Engineers and Infantry. London: Morgan-Grampian. ISBN 978-0-24943-956-4.
  • Cross, J.P.; Gurung, Buddhiman (2007). Gurkhas at War: Eyewitness Accounts from World War II to Iraq. London: Greenhill Books. ISBN 978-1-85367-727-4.
  • Parker, John (2005). The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World's Most Feared Soldiers. London: Headline. ISBN 978-07553-1415-7.
  • Singh, Sarbans (1993). Battle Honours of the Indian Army 1757–1971. New Delhi: Vision Books. ISBN 8170941156.

Further reading

  • Chaudhuri, P. (1985). 9th Gurkha Rifles: A Regimental History, 1817–1947. Lancer International, Lancer Press. ISBN 978-1-85127-002-6.