Thursday, April 19, 2007


24 Mar 07
I met a British officer in the Queens Own Ghurka Logistics Regiment (QOGLR). Ghurkas are Nepalese soldiers serving in the British Army. I remarked that I didn’t know the Brits still had Ghurkas to which he explained they’ve had them since the early 1800s when the Brits were at war with Nepal in the former Raj. The British Army recruits heavily in Nepal and for every one Ghurka position that opens, they receive 2,000 applications accepting only the most elite amongst them. He said they never have fitness or “welfare” problems with Ghurkas and that they make fierce warriors. As an example he told me about taking his troops to the rifle range and one the Ghurkas ran out of ammo with one target to shoot remaining. With no other option but compelled to eliminate the target, the soldier leaped from his foxhole and charged the target to attack with his Ghurka bolo knife. “Brilliant!”

The Ghurka concept seems similar to the French Foreign Legion (i.e. they aren’t British sons dieing). They can serve in the British Army for an entire career and when they return to Nepal they are often the wealthiest individuals in their town. However, there’s currently a Maoist insurgency in Nepal and the Ghurkas are often targeted by the insurgents. Unlike Legionnaires, Ghurkas are not afforded British citizenship following honorable service in the Army.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some reason known only to those idiots in Whtehall Ghurkas who left the army after serving 4 years or more after 1997 may now stay in the UK. That the Ghurka (the plural S is traditionally not used)still serves alongside the UK born soldier is baffling, considering the treatment by the goverment. Maybe its due to the mutual respect between the Ghurka adn his UK born counterpart.The greatest compliment I believe ever paid to the British soldier at a time before the Ghurka joined us was made by a Ghurka commander at the end of the Nepalese war, which was a draw "these british soldiers are very good warriors, they are nearly as good as us".