In the Second World War, there were 110,000 Gurkhas in British Service. In 1940, permission was sought to recruit another 20 battalions and the Nepalese Prime Minister readily agreed saying, “We will not desert you in times of need and no matter what occurs we will always support you.” ”
Against the Japanese, the Gurkhas earned a reputation as relentless and skilled hand-to-hand fighters. In Burma, Rifleman Ganju Lama went solely with an anti-tank gun to destroy 2 tanks and although he was injured with 3 gun-shot wounds he advanced to kill the enemy with grenades. He won the VC for that action, yet it is only one of many hundred stories that explain the enormous affection and respect the Gurkhas have earned for themselves.
If there was a minute’s silence for every Gurkha casualty from World War 2 alone, we would have to keep quiet for two weeks. Gurkha graves are spread across the face of the earth in nearly every country in which Britain has fought – silent testament to Gurkha Loyalty and Courage.
Gurkha troops (1st Battalion, 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles) were the first to be used again in an operational role at the outbreak of the Brunei Revolt in December 1962. There followed four years on continuous operations against units of the Indonesian Regular Army in Sabah and Sarawak in which every unit of the Brigade of Gurkhas took part. As they did in the Malayan Emergency, Gurkha units again provided the bulk and the continuity of the British Army’s contribution to this campaign. It was in November 1965 that Lance Corporal Rambahadur Limbu of the 2nd Battalion, 10th PMO Gurkha Rifles won the Victoria Cross. When the Borneo campaign ended in 1966 there was a short lull before the Brigade found itself engaged in internal security tasks in Hong Kong during civil disturbances resulting from China’s Cultural Revolution.