In Collaboration With Charles Griffin


Brief History
The 10th Gurkhas started out as a police unit created in 1887 to keep order in the Kubo Valley on the west of Burma. The reason for this was that King Theebaw of Burma had angered the British with some rather provocative acts including the setting up of a French Bank in Mandalay together with a detachment of French troops to guard it. This was too much for the British Viceroy who stepped in, deposed Theebaw and assumed control of the country. There was a breakdown of public order and military police battalions were raised to protect life and property. The Kubo Valley Police Battalion was made up of recruits who had served in the Indian Army, mostly Gurkhas, and they proved to be very good at their job. It may seem odd that these Gurkhas became part of the Madras army, but Burma was at the time in the Madras Military command, so that when it was decided to create a permanent force there the Kubo Valley Police Battalion became a regiment of the Madras Infantry. They were uniformed and equiped like the Gurkha regiments.
The Chin-Lushai Patrol
The Chis and Lushais were primitive tribes who were raiding areas on the east of Burma. Several expeditions had failed to control these guerilla fighters. The 10th, or the 1st Burma Infantry as they were at first called, constantly patrolled the region, living off the land in many cases for four years. The terrain was hard and the enemy elusive so it was a testing time for the new regiment.
1903
The regiment was happy when, by coincidence, the 10th Madras Infantry became the 10th Gurkha Rifles in 1903 under Kitchener's reorganisation. They were instructed to continue recruiting Limbus and Rais from the eastern end of Nepal. Generally, these tribes were considered to be unorthodox and troublesome by the other Gurkha regiments but they had performed well in the 10th. Unlike the Madras units that were converted into Punjabis at the same time, the Tenth's battle honours earned by their parent regiment were not conferred on them. However, they certainly made up for it in the two world wars.
World War I
The 2nd battalion was raised in 1908 and the regiment was based at Maymo in Burma, employed in cutting rides through the jungle. The 2nd were the first to go to the War and fought the Turks on the Suez Canal. They were vastly outnumbered but held on with great determination and foiled the Turkish advance.

The Gallipoli campaign was disasterous for 2/10th Gurkhas. There were two other Gurkha battalions, 1/6th and 1/5th. All three were invariably at the head of the advancing Allied columns. 2/10th went further inland than the rest at Sulva Bay. The Turkish losses were put at 10,000 a day but British losses were great too. The 10th lost 75% of its officers and 40% of other ranks.

The 1st battalion spent the early part of the War fighting tribes on the northern border of Burma. They were then sent to Mesopotamia and were frustrated at their inactivity, their task being to provide protection for the railway construction. But they joined the largest force of Gurkhas seen so far in Maude's major offensive on Baghdad.

Inter War Years
The 1st battalion stayed in Meopotamia for four years after the end of WW1 and were on active service dealing with a volatile situation there. The casualties were considerable, so much so that they could only muster two companies. It was decided to join the 1/10th Gurkhas with the two remaining companies of the 116th Mahrattas, giving rise to their nickname 'The 126th Gurattas' and their unofficial motto 'Per Arida ad Astra', a reference to the interminable treks through the desert to cover as much territory as possible.. Meanwhile, the 2nd bn. were on the North-West Frontier.
World War 2
The first battalion served in India and Burma; the 2nd in India, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Italy. A 3rd battalion was raised in October 1940 at Dehra Dun, serving in India, Burma, Malaya and Dutch East Indies. The 4th battalion, raised in March 1941 at Abbottabad, served in India, Burma, French Indo-China and Cambodia. The regiment's 4 battalions spent more time in action and won more gallantry awards than any other regiment in the Indian Army. Casualties amounted to more than 1000 dead and almost 2000 wounded.
The Chindits
Under pressure from the Americans to mobilise the Indian Army against the Japanese, Churchill put Ord Wingate to work organising 'Operation Thursday'. Wingate was killed in a plane crash so Brigadier Joe Lentaigne took over. This was welcomed by the Gurkhas because he was formerly an officer in the 4th Gurkhas. Veterans of the original 77th Brigade formed the nucleus of the force, including 3/2nd Gurkhas along with 3/6th, 3/4th and 4/10th. The brigade were involved in fierce fighting, having made their way through difficult terrain in unbearable heat. After two months of continuous action the men looked forward to a well earned rest but they were sadly disappointed because US General Joe Stilwell called for assistance in his attempt on the Japanese positions at Myitkyina. The 77th was ordered to proceed at once to capture the town of Mogaung, 265 kilometres away. So Brigadier Calvert marched his his 2000 tired, sick men through thick jungle in the Monsoon to reach the battle where they spent 16 days fighting a well dug-in enemy until their objective was achieved and the Japanese pulled back.
Cyprus 1974 - 75
When Turkish troops invaded the north of Cyprus, the partition of the island began and refugees were moved from north to south. The 10th took on a peace-keeping role which at times became potentially dangerous. On one occasion, 2000 Greek refugees approached Turkish troops after a Greek shepherd had been captured. Major M G Allen led a platoon of his C Company supported by armoured cars into the Turkish line of fire until the situation had been diffused.
Badge
Badge
1937 Badge
Map
Map
Tribal Areas
Soldiers
Post-Mutiny
Equipment
Kukri
Pouches
Post-Mutiny
Uniforms
Post Mutiny
Predecessor Units
Kubo Valley Military Police Battalion
(1887 - 1890)
1st Regiment of Burma Infantry
(1890 - 1891)
10th Regiment (1st Burma Battalion) of Madras Infantry
(1891 - 1892)
10th Regiment (1st Burma Rifles) Madras Infantry
(1892 - 1895)
10th Regiment (1st Burma Gurkha Rifles) Madras Infantry
(1895 - 1901)
Post-Independence Fate
To Britain
Suggested Reading
India's Army
by Donovan Jackson

Regiments and Corps of the British Army:
A Critical Bibliography

by Roger Perkins

Sons of John Company
by John Gaylor

Armies of India
Painted by Lovett, Text by Macmunn

The Indian Army
by Boris Mollo

Forces of the British Empire
by E. Nevins and B. Chandler

Indian Army Uniforms - Infantry
by W. Y. Carman


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by Stephen Luscombe