In Collaboration With Charles Griffin


Brief History
The 6th are best known for their bravery at Gallipoli and if we look at their battle honours there is only one, Burma 1885-87, that was earned before World War One. This does little justice to the regiment because they served for 80 years on the north-eastern border of India, carrying out arduous and dangerous work tracking down and fighting primative head-hunters. These tribesmen used poison arrows and were extremely adept at stealth and ambush. The terrain made progress very hard and disease was commonplace.

They were the first of the Gurkha regiments to start life as a unit recruited from plainsmen. The Cuttack Legion, as they were first called, were raised in Orissa but moved to Northern Bengal in 1823 as the Rangpur Light Infantry. It was not until later that two out of the 12 companies were made up of Nepalese. The numbers increased until 1886 when they became a class regiment of Gurkhas only.

The second battalion was raised in 1904, taking over the funds and property of the disbanded 65th Carnatic Light Infantry but not their honours ( Carnatic, Sholinghur, Mysore and Pegu).

World War I
The 1st battalion fired their first shots in anger for 24 years at Kantara on 26th January 1915 when the Turks attempted to seize the Suez Canal. But they were shipped to Gallipoli later that year.

The 1/6th were the first Gurkhas to arrive at Gallipoli and take part in Sir Ian Hamilton's ill-fated campaign. The regiment was commanded by the Honourable Charles Bruce. Within 2 weeks they were leading the assault in their first major operation to take out a Turkish high point that was covered in machine-gunners doing untold damage to the Allied troops. The Marines and the Dublin Fusiliers had tried and been driven back, now it was the turn of 1/6th Gurkhas. The 300 ft. almost vertical slope caused these practiced hillmen little trouble and they put the Turks to flight. After the fight 12 of the enemys' corpses were found to have been cleanly decapitated. Later on, the ridge was shelled by the Royal Navy by mistake and the Turks saw the chance to regain the heights. This place is called Gurkha Bluff to this day in memory of the great bravery shown by the 6th.

At that stage, the survivors of the battalion were commanded by their medical officer. They were observed by a young Captain W J Slim who was in the 9th Royal Warwicks. He decided then that these were the men with whom he would like serve if he were lucky enough to survive the campaign. He did, and he served with them until 1937.

Badge
Badge
Map
Map
Tribal Areas
Soldiers
Post-Mutiny
Equipment
Kukri
Pouchbelts
Post-Mutiny
Uniforms
Post Mutiny
Principal Campaigns and Battles
1885 - 87 Burma
Predecessor Units
Cuttack Legion
(1817 - 1823)
Rangpur Light Infantry
(1823 - 1826)
8th Local Light Infantry
(1826 - 1844)
1st Assam Light Infantry
(1844 - 1861)
42nd Bengal Native Infantry
(1861 - 1864)
42nd (Assam) Bengal Native (Light) Infantry
(1864 - 1885)
42nd (Assam) Bengal (Light) Infantry
(1885 - 1886)
42nd (Gurkha) Light Infantry
(1886 - 1891)
42nd Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment of Bengal Infantry
(1891 - 1901)
42nd Gurkha Rifles
(1901 - 1903)
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