How fortunate it is that Robert Atkins wrote up his experiences as a young Gurkha officer in India and later Malaya as, seventy years on, they form an important contemporaneous record of two historically significant periods.
When India was granted Independence in 1947, irreconcilable religious differences made Partition inevitable. His account of the death, destruction and suffering that he and his soldiers witnessed makes for traumatic yet compelling reading.
In the aftermath of Independence the Gurkha Regiments were split between the Indian and British Armies and Robert returned to England and British service.
Three years later on his way to fight in the Korean War, he was ordered to join 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles engaged in the battle against communist terrorists, known as the Malayan Emergency. Robert saw more than his share of action over next seven years in this eventually successful but bitterly fought campaign. His courage and leadership earned him the Military Cross.
The Brave Shall Inherit the Earth is the motto of the Rajputana Rifles, the oldest rifle regiment in the pre-World-War-Two Indian Army. It is a fitting epitaph to this remarkable young officer who commanded the mortar platoon in 3/6th Rajputana Rifles during the 14th Army's invasion of Burma in 1944.
Denis O'Leary came from a family of soldiers; his father was also RajRif. Just out of officer training, a practicing Catholic, handsome, athletic, twenty years old, Denis joined 3/6th Rajputana Rifles on the eve of Field Marshal Slim's invasion of Burma in 1944.
This book is the story of his Regiment in that Homeric engagement. It is also about the close friendships formed in war between a British officer and his Rajput and Punjabi 'Mussalman' soldiers.
The Regiment 'had been fortunate in our introduction to war. It had been a gradual process.' Luckily Denis learnt quickly and by the time he came to his Kurukshetra - a decisive battle to hold Pear Hill against suicidal Japanese attacks during the Irrawaddy crossings - his mettle had been tested and forged.
During this battle, in which he won his first Military Cross, he was badly wounded by shrapnel and evacuated back to India for the rest of the war, only re-joining his beloved battalion in pre-Independence Burma, which this account also covers.
Denis O'Leary was a life-long soldier, he is a modest historian, he writes simply but eloquently. There are few books so hauntingly beautiful about something so savage as war.
Powerful, heart-rending and unforgettable, 'Gurkha Guns' tells the true story of a young Gurkha soldier's life before, during and after, the Falklands War. The reader is gripped from the beginning by this remarkable, moving account of how the author Ganesh Rai became a soldier and left his native village for a life of adventure, peril, and arduous self-discipline.Buy this book here
It is 1814 and the Bengal Army of the Honourable East India Company is at war with a marauding Nepal. It is here that the British first encounter the martial spirit of an indomitable foe the Gurkha hillman from that mountainous independent land. Impressed by their fighting qualities and with the end of hostilities in sight the Company begins to recruit them into their own ranks. Since then these light-hearted and gallant soldiers have campaigned wherever the British Army has served - from the North-West Frontier of India through two World Wars to the more contemporary battlefields of the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan s Helmand Province, with well over one hundred battle honours to their name and at a cost of many thousands of casualties. Seen through the prism of his own Regiment and service, General Duffell vividly recounts some of the history, character and spirit of these loyal and dedicated soldiers as well as his personal experience of campaigning with them. He has commanded Gurkha soldiers at every level from Subaltern to General while facing both operational and peacetime challenges. His service includes command of his Regiment and a Gurkha Brigade, as Major General of the Gurkha Brigade and as Colonel of his Regiment. He knows Nepal and its language well and has toured his Regiment s historic battlefields in India and France.Buy this book here
A pictorial history of The Royal Gurkha Rifles. An introduction to the regiment, its deployments at home and on operations supported by a wealth of photographs chronicaling the last quarter of a century in service to the Crown. Brief histories of deployments and special interest sections, including recruiting, training, sport, religious festivals and of course, the Kukri are included. The Roll of Honour, Battle Honours (including its Antecedent Regiments), lists of officers and soldiers plus honours and awards are amongst the detail amassed in this special edition.Buy this book here
by Maj Gen J C Lawrence
Containing over 200 images, this is the complete visual history of Britain’s Gurkhas and the mystique that surrounds them. From the earliest days to modern operations in Afghanistan and sections on hill racing, the Kukri and bagpipes this is the official commemorative book of the bicentenary. Order your copy today from the Gurkha Museum in support of the Gurkha Welfare Trust:
The Gurkha Museum
All royalties support The Gurkha Welfare Trust
Sam Cowan first visited Nepal in 1966 when he trekked for two months in east and west Nepal. At the time he was on a three-year tour as a junior officer with Queen's Gurkha Signals in Borneo, Malaya and Hong Kong. During a long and distinguished career, until his retirement as a four-star general in 2002, he performed numerous staff and command jobs culminating in the successive appointments of Inspector General of Army Training, Quartermaster General, and Chief of Defence Logistics. In 1989, he became Colonel of Queen's Gurkha Signals and a trustee of the Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT). In 1994, he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas, the titular Head of Gurkhas in the British Army, an appointment which also carried with it the responsibility of being Chairman of the GWT. His annual visits to Nepal as Colonel Commandant included eight official audiences with the reigning monarchs to deliver a report on the Brigade of Gurkhas. Since 1989, he has done a further 30-plus treks. Sam Cowan's unique essays are essential for the specialist and highly entertaining for the generalist. His analyses of the battles of the Maoist insurgency, or 'People's War', were pathbreaking when originally published and remain deeply insightful. What he has to say on frontiers, human rights abuses, corruption in high places, and the misjudgements and foibles of Nepal's rulers, makes for compulsive reading. -David Gellner Professor of Anthropology, University of OxfordBuy here
‘Tears That Never Dropped’
By Mangal Pradhan (Review by John Patchett)
Copies of this book are priced at £5 including postage and can be obtained from Maj J Patchett by phoning 01540 661800.
There have recently been published some very impressive autobiographical accounts by Gurkha soldiers about their war fighting and other operations. Here, for a change but equally welcome, is a short romantic novel by a Gurkha Colour Sergeant who has been retired for some time. I knew Mangal Pradhan when we were both posted to Brunei many years ago. He served his writing apprenticeship with carefully crafted magazine articles, based on his military experiences and his home life in Kurseong in Darjeeling District. This is his first work of fiction.
‘Tears that Never Dropped’ sets out to make us reflect on the military life we live and its impact on others, particularly our families and others we love. Mangal does not adopt a moralizing tone and he desists from elaborating on the barracks existence of Gurkha soldiers overseas. He safely assumes the reader will know enough about that literally uniform experience. He expends his energy instead on relating how one individual finds that love and army life can often make difficult bedfellows. Here is the joy and hope of youth, offset by the sorrow and regret of later years.
In both action and appearance the main characters are convincingly developed, and their dialogue is well thought out. The rural setting is brought to life with a local artist’s eye, whilst the hubbub of the towns passed through also rings true. The author shows with the end result that he spent a long time devising the strands that form a plot with considerable tension and true surprises. His use of idiom puts many native English writers to shame.
Mangal confused me by giving the hero his own first name. Once I realized it was clearly not an autobiography, I felt some relief and began to enjoy the story. My only other gripe is at the proliferation of minor characters whose role is sometimes unclear. But as a first novel this is very promising indeed. I thoroughly recommend it to all who want to read of the trials of a distant love and the pressures of separation, set in a wild and wonderful part of the world.
Mangal had this attractive little book printed in Kalimpong. All profits will be used in the Kurseong area to alleviate hardship for Ex Gurkhas, who are constantly repairing the damage caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters. As the long standing Secretary of the Kurseong Branch of the British Gurkha Ex Servicemen’s Association, he is regularly involved in providing advice and assistance over a large area, along with Captain Tendup Lama and the other committee members.
Neville Sarony is currently a practising QC in Hong Kong, but he has also managed to find the time to write two novels, both extremely exciting thrillers. As a national serviceman he served with 2/7GR in Malaya and Singapore, and since then most of his working life has been in Asia and the Far East.
The Dharma Expedient is set in the indefinite future focusing on the escape of an infant 15th Dalai Lama from Tibet. A retired Royal Gurkha Rifles Officer Max Devlin who is trying to make a living in the trekking world in the Himalayas suddenly finds himself at the centre of events. He becomes the focus of a highly complicated scenario which has tentacles linking Nepal, China, and India. From the high mountain passes, the fast-moving plot takes a number of dramatic twists and turns before coming to an enthralling climax in the Terai of Nepal. Retired Gurkhas play a part and there is also a wee bit of romance.
Devlin’s Chakra, Devlin finds himself in the midst of another international tussle, this time for the ownership of the Dalai Lama’s treasure which has been left for safe-keeping in a Sikkim monastery. Buddhism, the Gurkha world and again the competing interests of China, India and the Dalai Lama’s government in exile come into the mix; and once more the action is frenetic before coming to a fascinating conclusion in a Hong Kong court of law.
The pace in both books is frenetic, as Neville weaves his plots in a style which flows easily. In short these are two ‘rollicking good’ reads just the tomes to take on holiday, and which would make an extremely good film. Those readers who buy into the project will be delighted to know that Max Devlin will appear again in a prequel, and may be later in a sequel too. Bob Couldrey
Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward, My Life with the Gurkhas
by Kailash Limbu
WO2 Kailash Limbu, from Second Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, was selected by the brigade headquarters to be the first serving Gurkha Soldier to tell his story. His autobiography tells the inside story of the 2006 siege of Now Zad, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
In the summer of 2006, then aged only 24, W02 Limbu was a section leader in a platoon sent to help secure a police compound in the district centre of Now Zad. He was told to prepare for a forty-eight hour operation. In the end, he and his men were under siege for thirty-one days – one of the longest such sieges in the whole of the Afghan campaign.
Kailash recalls the terrifying and exciting details of those thirty-one days – in which they killed an estimated one hundred Taliban fighters – and intersperses them with the story of his own life as a villager from the Himalayas. He grew up in a place without roads or electricity and didn’t see a car until he was fifteen.
Kailash’s descriptions of Gurkha training and rituals – including how to use the lethal Kukri knife – are eye-opening and fascinating. They combine with the story of his time in Helmand to create a unique account of one man’s life as a Gurkha.
ARC OF THE GURKHA: From Nepal to the British Army
by Alex Schlacher
It is a stunning and powerful book of photographs that reveal the human face of the legendary Brigade of Gurkhas.
There have been other books about the Gurkhas, but none has focused on the individual soldiers, their backgrounds, lives and experiences. Arc of the Gurkha explores the span of a Gurkha career from recruitment through to training and deployment up to post-military employment and retirement. Alex Schlacher has accompanied the Gurkhas on operations in Afghanistan, on exercises in the Brunei jungle and Australia; she has visited all the units in the Brigade as well as retired and medically discharged Gurkhas; she has taken intimate portraits of hundreds of soldiers and heard their stories.
Beautifully presented and exquisitely crafted, this extraordinary publication is the first to explore what it really means for a Gurkha to be a Gurkha.
Published by Elliott & Thompson on 4 December 2014
Order now for Special pre-order price £20 Order here
by Christopher Bullock
How often has the British Soldier fighting in company with Gurkhas muttered that quiet imprecation ‘Thank God they are on our side’: Generations of British officers with Gurkha units have felt the same way – why?
This, the official history (1815 – 2009) of the Brigade of Gurkhas, tells why.
Only available, in soft back, from the Gurkha Museum Code 182: £15.95 plus £4.50 p & p.
THE STORY OF GURKHA VCs
by Maurice Biggs (Revised 2012).
Dedicated to the Hillman of Nepal, whose loyalty, cheerfulness and comradeship has been an inspiration both in peace and wars.
A Gurkha Museum publication in association with FireStep Publishing
Code 124: £10.00 plus £4.50 p & p.
THE AGE OF RAGE
Gurkhas, Gorkhas and Nepal in the post War World 1947 – 2008
by J P Cross
“To all the British Gurkhas and Indian Gorkhas, whose loyalty was ever steadfast despite the many untold difficulties and hardships tempting you to renounce your oath of allegiance”
Code 1018: £24.00 plus £6.50 p&p
J P Cross served with the Gurkhas for all but three of his 39 years in the British Army and since retirement has lived permanently in Nepal with his surrogate family. An expert on Nepalese History who has been awarded both the MBE and OBE, he is a prolific author. This is the last in his series of five historic novels.
THE MOUNTAIN KINGDOM VOLUME 3
Portraits of the Himalayas and Mountain Men
The Photographs of Colonel Bruce Niven
Colonel Niven was born in Scotland in 1935 and educated at Edinburgh University where he took an MA (First Class Honours) degree in Geography. On graduating he joined the Brigade of Gurkhas and has served with Gurkhas ever since
Only available from the Gurkha Museum Code 1012: £10.00 plus £4.50 p & p
Combine your order with a copy of The Mountain Kingdom Volume 2 – The Gurkhas and their Homeland Code 182: for £15.00 plus £4.50 p & p.
Colonel Bruce Niven PPA MBE MA is generously donating all profits from the sale of these books to The Gurkha Welfare Trusts (Registered Charity No: 1034080) which works to relieve hardship and distress among Gurkha ex-servicemen and their dependants in Nepal and to the Gurkha Museum (Registered Charity No. 272426) which provides a living tribute to Gurkha Service to the British Crown.
THE ULTIMATE NEPALESE COOK BOOK
by Pemba Lama
Nepal is a culturally diverse nation with an equally diverse variation in the availability of culinary ingredients. Given its landlocked location, there is an inevitably insignificant influence on Nepalese cuisine from its neighbouring countries India, China and Tibet and although curries are commonplace, as is for example naan bread, each dish in this book is given its own unique Nepalese twist.
Available from the Gurkha Museum Code 1009: £14.99 plus £4.50 p & p with £5.00 being given to Gurkha Charities.
Winner of a number of awards including the Gourmond World Cook Book Awards 2012 – UK Best Fund Raising Book in Europe.
By E.D Smith
By Chris Bellamy
By John Masters
By John Parker
By Tony Gould
By Sandro Tucci