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The Role of Gurkha Soldiers in First World War

A Gurkha Havaldar WW1
During World War I (1914–18), more than 200,000 Gurkhas served in the British Army, suffering approximately 20,000 casualties, and receiving almost 2,000 gallantry awards. The number of Gurkha battalions was increased to thirty-three, and Gurkha units were placed at the disposal of the British high command by the Nepalese government for service on all fronts. Many Nepalese volunteers served in non-combatant roles, serving in units such as the Army Bearer Corps and the labour battalions, but there were also large numbers that served in combat in France, Turkey, Palestine, and Mesopotamia.They served on the battlefields of France in the Loos, Givenchy, Neuve Chapelle and Ypres; in Mesopotamia, Persia, Suez Canal and Palestine against Turkish advance, Gallipoli and Salonika. One detachment served with Lawrence of Arabia, while during the Battle of Loos (June–December 1915) a battalion of the 8th Gurkhas fought to the last man, hurling themselves time after time against the weight of the German defences, and in the words of the Indian Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Sir James Willcocks, "... found its Valhalla". During the ultimately unsuccessful Gallipoli campaign in 1915, the Gurkhas were among the first to arrive and the last to leave. 

Lewis Machine Gun team, Mesopotamia, 1917 now days Iraq
The 1st/6th Gurkhas, having landed at Cape Helles, led the assault during the first major operation to take out a Turkish high point, and in doing so captured a feature that later became known as "Gurkha Bluff". At Sari Bair they were the only troops in the whole campaign to reach and hold the crest line and look down on the Straits, which was the ultimate objective. The 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Gurkha Rifles (2nd/3rd Gurkha Rifles) was involved in the conquest of Baghdad. 2nd/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, North-West Frontier 1923 Following the end of the war, the Gurkhas were returned to India and during the inter-war years, they were largely kept away from the internal strife and urban conflicts of the sub-continent, instead being employed largely on the frontiers and in the hills where fiercely independent tribesmen were a constant source of troubles.

As such, between the World Wars, the Gurkha regiments fought in the Third Afghan War in 1919 and then participated in numerous campaigns on the North-West Frontier, mainly in Waziristan, where they were employed as garrison troops defending the frontier, keeping the peace amongst the local populace and keeping the lawless and often openly hostile Pathan tribesmen in check. During this time the North-West Frontier was the scene of considerable political and civil unrest and the troops stationed at Razmak, Bannu and Wanna saw an extensive amount of action.

 Exclusive Pictures of Gurkha Soldiers in World War 1

2nd Gurkha Rifles training for battle at Neuve-Chapelle, France 1915
Gurkhas in the hills firing a Vickers machine gun in WW1
6GR in Gallipoli, 1915 during WW1

British and Gurkha Officers of 1st Gurkha Rifles out of the line, France 1915
Heavy Equipment was worn in Mesopotamia ( Iraq) in 1917
5th Gurkha Rifles Runner, Ramadi 1917 During WW1






2/9 GR Crossing the Tigris Feb 1917 during WW1

(Photo Credits - Ayogorkhali.net)

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