My late father served alongside Gurkha troops whilst serving in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in the run up to the independence of India and always spoke of them with admiration and some awe as well as gratitude: it was, when serious intercommunal rioting took place, usually enough to bring it to an end if news of the Gurkha’s despatch was sent over an insecure Station Master’s telephone line. Upon arrival it would be found that most trouble had evaporated such was the reputation of these hardy hillmen of Nepal who have served the British Crown with such distinction for nigh on two hundred years.
Aliwal, Afghanistan, Ypres, Loos, France and Flanders, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, North West Frontier, Malaya, Burma, Tobruk, El Alamein, Cassino, Imphal, Falkland Islands and many others besides too numerous to list (but every bit as distinguished), these are the Battle Honours, the footprints in the sands of history left by the eleven regiments of Gurkhas (six of which went to the Indian Army at independence with a seventh being re-raised soon after, the other four going onto the British Army Establishment) that have fought alongside British troops since 1815 when the first Gurkha regiments were raised.
Whatever explanation is given for this dishonourable act will be disbelieved. Most will suspect that it is in fact an act of revenge for the campaign that was waged for years to get the Gurkhas the same pensions as indigenous British troops. For complex reasons relating to an agreement with India and Nepal at independence designed to maintain parity with the regiments that remained on the Indian establishment, the Gurkhas for years were paid less than UK soldiers and given a tiddly pension. A campaign to see that they were placed financially on an equal footing with the rest of the Army succeeded a while back. This scheme is plainly the shabby and disgraceful means by which that campaign’s success will be neutered.
The MoD is, of course, notoriously run by a part time second-rater called Des Browne. One wonders if this Socialist apparatchik has personally approved this nasty piece of behaviour. He and his unpleasant Socialist chums get very excited at the thought of ensuring that equality in absolutely every facet of life is afforded to homosexuals and lesbians and all sorts of other groups that Labour likes to cuddle up to in order to curry electoral favour. Yet when it comes to equality for Gurkhas who put their lives on the line in the service of the Crown, these little shits do the dirty on them.
Well, here is hoping that some retired Gurkhas boot the snivelling Browne from here to Khatmandu before lopping off some vital piece of his tackle with a finely-honed kukri. And the Civil Servants who thought up this shameful wheeze can shown to the door whilst they are at it.