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History

The Royal Gurkha Rifles was formed on 1 July 1994, after amalgamation of four Gurkha Regiments, 2 GR, 6 GR, 7 GR and 10 GR. Its history is therefore short, but full.

During this time, battalions of the Royal Gurkha Rifles have taken part in operations in Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Afghanistan. Companies of Gurkhas have also deployed to Iraq.

The Royal Gurkha Rifles now consists of two battalions, one of which is based in Shorncliffe in Kent, and the other in Brunei. The battalions change over every three years.

A more detailed history about the origins of Gurkha service to the crown, and of our forebear Regiments, can be downloaded from the right-hand side panel.

The Queen's Truncheon

During the Indian Mutiny in 1857-8 the Sirmoor Battalion (which later became the 2nd KEO Goorkhas, and latterly the Royal Gurkha Rifles) remained loyal to the British Crown. The Battalion, together with the Guides and the 60th Rifles, held the key position on the outskirts of Delhi known as Hindu Rao's House for over three months of constant attack.

During this period the 2nd Goorkhas suffered 327 casualties (including 8 of their 9 British Officers) out of a total strength of 490. Following the conclusion of the mutiny, the 2nd Goorkhas were designated as a Rifle Regiment as a mark of the bond that had been created with the 60th Rifles.

This explains the dark green uniforms, the rapid marching pace, and the title of Rifleman given to Gurkha soldiers. In addition, Queen Victoria directed that the Battalion be awarded a special truncheon to replace the Regimental Colours that could no longer be carried by a Rifle Regiment.

The Queen's Truncheon is still in service today, proudly guarded by the Royal Gurkha Rifles. There is an inscribed band around the staff of the truncheon to commemorate each occasion that it has subsequently been presented to the sovereign.

The Victoria Cross

In the two World Wars the Gurkha Brigade suffered 43,000 casualties, and to date it has won 26 Victoria Crosses - 13 awarded to Gurkhas and 13 to British Officers.

The most recent Victoria Cross was awarded to the then Lance Corporal Rambahadur Limbu in November 1965 during the Borneo Confrontation

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