Gurkha Company Tavoleto, Warminster were privileged to be able to attend a battlefield tour to Italy, with a focus on the battle at Tavoleto from which the Company has taken its battle honour. The main aim of the tour was to gain an understanding of the history, contribution, victories and sacrifices made by our brave ancestors during World War II in an unknown land.
With the help of a subject matter expert Daniel Cesaretti and UK academic Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Bob Couldrey Saheb (Ex 7 Gurkha Rifles), we were able to see and witness all the areas and places where Gurkhas soldiers fought, and at times even with bare Khukuris.
We retraced the steps taken by our Gurkhas ancestors some 75 years ago during the battles for the Gothic Line. The Company were also greatly honoured to meet Mayors, dignitaries and local people of Tavoleto and Faetano who offered us such a warm welcome and hosted so graciously with receptions in their respective Town Halls. They were pleased to meet us because of the brave acts and courage shown by our forefathers who helped liberate their country. And recognising the heritage passed down through the generations to the soldiers who stood before them.
We also visited two War Memorials to pay respect to all those soldiers and brave Gurkhas who fought and gave their precious lives to in a foreign land. Each grave is a testament to our history, the identities and sacrifices made and how brave the Gurkhas were during the various battles. It was a very emotional moment to read through those words written on the gravestones, “he gave the best gift ever, his unfinished life.”
We must ensure this kind of battlefield tour is undertaken every year, to learn valuable lessons of previous conflicts and honour our grandfathers’ histories and of all those brave Gurkhas who fought so valiantly. Their heroism needs to be remembered by generations of new Gurkhas now and in the future. ‘It is better to die than to be a coward.’ Ayo Gurkhali.
By Rifleman Prakash Tamang, Gurkha Company Tavoleto