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10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles

Reference Library – Line Infantry – 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles

वीर गोरखा: The Complete History of Queen's Gurkha Signals …

The Borneo Confrontation 1962 – 1971 : The Brunei revolt in 1962 drew 248 Squadron, supporting 99 Brigade, into Borneo to suppress the poorly trained Indonesian backed guerrillas operating in the Sultanate. Although the rebellion was quickly quashed Indonesian dissatisfaction with Malaysia intensified into cross border incursions by Indonesian Regular troops. The Borneo jungle was in many ways similar to Malaysia, although the hills seemed to be twice the size and most of the jungle had not been properly mapped. As in the Malaysian conflict engagements were rare and when they did occur they were fast and furious. Two brigades deployed to Borneo, 99 brigade in West Sarawak and 51 brigade to Brunei. 248 Squadron was based with 99 Brigade in Kluching and 247 Squadron returning from their sojourn in UK and BAOR arrived in Brunei in February 1964 to be based in Bolkiah Camp, four miles out side Brunei town. The difficult nature of operations in Borneo demanded the highest quality of communications possible and 247 and 248 were worked constantly.

A major problem with Borneo was that the Brigade TAOR’s were often huge, notably 51 Brigade’s which was the size of Scotland and this presented immense communication problems. The establishment of Radio Relay and VHF radio rebroadcast stations on top of key hills alleviated these problems, but not without considerable effort from the Squadrons, especially as the hills were many thousands of feet high and inaccessible except to helicopters. 247 Squadron was the first to establish a permanent station on top of a hill site at Gunong Serapi (3000′) in West Sarawak. Established by Lt Max Young , this station eventually received huts and was permanently manned until the end of the Confrontation in 1966 when it was blown up. 2Lt Sam Cowan of 248 Squadron (now General Cowan, Colonel of the Regiment) was the next to build another hill top station on Gunong Marud (8000′) in 1965. This hill top was initially inaccessible to helicopters and the Gurkha Signals Troop had to climb to the top, hacking their way through the jungle, and then establish a helicopter pad in order to be re – supplied. For his efforts in establishing this station, which became operational almost immediately because of the 200 mile coverage of the Air Safety Net rebroadcast from there, 2Lt Cowan was awarded the coveted Royal Corps of Signals Whistler Trophy, which is awarded to out – standing subalterns. Conditions on these hill tops were extremely difficult. The weather has unpredictable and frequently cold and wet, and the only way to resupply the stations was by air – weather permitting. Yet the detachments maintained good communications throughout their existence and were the key to tactical control of all brigade operations.

One of the most interesting units to be formed during the Borneo Confrontation was the Gurkha Independent Parachute Company raised on 1st April 1963. Soon after its conception its role was converted from a conventional Parachute Company to an SAS type Company in June 1964, in order for more tried and tested long range jungle patrols to be sent out. The Company quickly acknowledged that it could not provide enough signallers of sufficient quality to cope with this increased amount of patrolling and so the Regiment was therefore approached to form a troop of Parachute qualified signallers who could not only operate on the jungle patrols but who could also train the Regimental signallers up to a sufficient standard to operate on their own. The troop was initially formed and commanded by Captain Paddy Verdon who was aided and abetted in this endeavour by Lt Mike Walker , who subsequently went on to command the troop himself. There were 29 signallers to begin with, half of whom were already parachute qualified and the other half soon jumped themselves at RAF Changi later in 1964. In 1965 under Major JP Cross MBE the company moved to Kluang and then onto Brunei in the following October. Whilst at Kluang the Company conducted a demonstration jump for Brigade week and could have recruited to a man the 850 recruits who were watching. There was also no shortage of volunteers from the Regiment and the Troop was soon up to its maximum strength of 40 soldiers.

Whilst in Brunei the Company was housed in the now famous Haunted House the home of all SAS units in Borneo and from there the Company was constantly on operations. Whilst on operations the Troop used a variety of specialist equipment and developed its own techniques of signalling in the jungle. It was therefore fortunate that when the Company exercised with D Squadron SAS in 1968 it was found that the Troop’s techniques didn’t differ too greatly from those of the SAS and in some cases were more refined. Before its eventual wasting away in 1968 the Troop had two other OCs Captains K Ryding and Johnny Fielding and it was the latter who was the last Gurkha Signals officer who served with the Company. The end to the Borneo Confrontation saw a reversion of the Parachute Company back to its conventional role and the decision was taken to waste out the Gurkha Signals from the Company, and so ended an exciting chapter of the Regiments history.On 28th May 1966 the Confrontation was declared over following a conference in Bangkok between the Malaysian and Indonesian Governments which decided that there could be no winners or losers in this conflict. 1966 was also a good year for the Regiment, it won the coveted Nepal Cup, one of six times it has won this highly contested football competition, held within the Brigade of Gurkhas (the other years were 1959, 1960, 1961, 1966, 1972 and 1982). The peace following the official end to the confrontation did not bring an immediate change to the operations of the two active Squadrons but there began a gradual drawdown of both the brigade of Gurkhas and the Regiment, which would eventually lead to the disbandment of 17 Gurkha Signal Regiment.

Various activities occupied the Regiments time between 1966 and 1971. The Coulter Quaich Competition was devised by Major H M D Paterson prior to his retirement from the Army, and this was to prove an incredibly arduous exercise. The essence of the competition was to navigate an orienteering course through the Malaysian jungle over a distance of some 30 miles. 10 man teams took part and the competition lasted a day and a half. It was won in 1968 by Lt (QGO) Jitbahadur Thapa and was acknowledged by all to be one of the most arduous and testing exercise they had ever accomplished. That same year 3 Squadron left aboard HMS Sir Galahad for North Queensland, Australia accompanying 3 Commando Brigade on Exercise Coral Sands. During this exercise Lt (QGO) Prem bahadur Gurung aboard HMS Bulwark attempted to establish a ship to shore radio relay link, only to find his efforts frustrated by the swinging of the ship on its moorings in the tide. Undaunted he sent a runner to the bridge to present his compliments and ask if the Captain could stop his ship moving; He was summoned to the bridge for a friendly handshake and a lesson in seamanship. The exercise was a great public success and the Squadron, which provided Umpire, Enemy, and Control radio nets, was invited with the other Gurkhas on the exercise to march through the town of Rockhampton. 300 Gurkhas, mainly from Gurkha Rifles and the Gurkha Signals, marched on a cold, damp morning to the resounding cheers of the crowds.

The drawdown of the Brigade spelt the end for the Regiments stay in Malaysia and plans were created to move the Regiment to Hong Kong, via Nee soon in Singpore. On the 15th August 1969 249 Squadron relinquished the Brunei commcen to a Troop from 248 Squadron, which became known as the Brunei Signal Troop and from this day hence all communications to Brunei became the responsibility of the Regiment. 247 Squadron was disbanded along with 51 Brigade in May 1967 and 248 Squadron lost its title as 99 Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron in April 1970 before amalgamating with 1 Squadron at the end of 1970. 248 Squadron was eventually reformed in Sham Shui Po Camp, Hong Kong in July 1971. 17 Gurkha Signal Regiment was disbanded in September 1971 and that year the Gurkha Signal Regiment moved to Sek Kong Camp, Hong Kong, bidding farewell to Sikamat Camp in Seremban which had been its home for 11 years. By the middle of 1970 the withdrawal of the British Army from Malaysia was well under way and the Regiment provided control communications for Exercise Bersatu Padu, a five nation Commonwealth joint service final fling on the East coast of the Malay Peninsula. At the same time the Regiment vacated Seremben and took up residence in Nee Soon Singapore until September 1971 when the remnants of 17 Gurkha Signal Regiment moved to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong 1971 – 1997

The end of the Borneo confrontation and the demise of 17th Gurkha Signal Regiment in 1971 marked the end of an era. The Regimental Headquarters of the Gurkha Signal Regiment left Brunei and moved to Sek Kong, following closely in the footsteps of the newly reformed 248 Gurkha Signal Squadron who had moved into Sham Shui Po in July 1971. The Regiment then began the second half of its life in peace – time soldiering, a condition it was totally unused to having spent 14 years of its 16 years existence on active service. But after numerous Territory, Brigade, and Regimental exercises over the following years the Regiment then proved that it had not lost its skills when it went to war twice; firstly in 1982 in the Falkland War and then in 1991 in the Gulf War.1971 saw a return to the fold of the Regiment’s contingent to the Annapurna South Face Expedition led by world famous climber Chris Bonnington . Chris Bonnington had approached the Brigade of Gurkhas in 1969 for a liaison officer in Nepal to orchestrate all the supplying and paperwork of the expedition. The Regiment knowing Captain Kelvin Kent ‘s desire to be part of a large Mountaineering expedition readily volunteered him. Kent together with Lieutenant (QGO) Bishnuparsad Thapa and Signalman Gambahadur (later Major (QGO) Gambahadur Buduja Gurkha Major), provided sterling work to assist the expedition to its base camp at 12,500 ft properly supplied and equipped.

They then maintained communications between Pokhara Base Camp and the team climbing, through out the expedition. Although this attempt to climb the mountain was unsuccessful it began an association with mountaineering expeditions to Nepal which the Regiment has continued. The Regiment has supported the 1975 successful Joint Services expedition to climb Everest, the 1976 expedition to climb Nuptse and the 1992 unsuccessful British Army attempt to climb the west ridge of Everest. In 1992 the Regiment’s detachment to the expedition was led by Sergeant Rabin Gurung and included Sergeant Kharka Gurung , Lance Corporals Chudakumar Gurung , and Tekraj Rai . The Regiment has also carried out its own mountaineering expeditions notably to New Zealand. In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles were despatched to defend the Sovereign base area of Dhekelia. 581 Battalion Signal Troop the rear link detachment to the battalion accompanied the Regiment on its year long tour. Unfortunately the Troop commander Lieutenant John Wedgbury had to remain in Church Crookham with the Officer Commanding Rear Party for 10 of those 12 months only reaching Cyprus for the very end of the tour. That same year the Regiment celebrated its 25th Anniversary year using the year 1949, when recruits first under went training, as the starting year for the Regiment. A parade was taken by Major General EJS Burnett CBE, DSO, MC Major General Brigade of Gurkhas on the 23rd September in Sek Kong Camp. A week long series of festivities followed the parade with numerous barbecues, cocktail parties, and families daysConsiderable reorganization became the most memorable events of 1976 – 1977.

In 1976 248 Squadron moved from Sham Shui Po Camp to Gun Club Hill Barracks on 13th December, occupying Block 4 which became their home until 1993 when it was handed over to the Royal Hong Kong Police as a depot for their reserve units. From 1993 until 1994 the Squadron had to move into Block 2 before moving completely to Prince of Wales barracks on Hong Kong Island. The Squadron beat the Gurkha Transport Regiment into the camp by one month and left a month after the Queen’s Own Gurkha Transport Regiment when that unit was absorbed into the Logistic Support Regiment based in Osborne Barracks in April 1994. 248 Squadron was forced to move out of Sham Shui Po camp because of the Hong Kong Defence Costs Agreement, which also disbanded 27 Signal Regiment and initiated the re – badging of all Signals personnel in the Far East to Gurkha Signals. The Regiment then became responsible for all Far East communications and the long haul Defence Communication Network (DCN) circuits to UK, Brunei, and Nepal. 1977 was a particularly joyous year for the Regiment because, as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, the Regiment regained its Royal title, along with the Gurkha Engineers, becoming Queen’s Gurkha Signals. A submission had been made by Major General RWC McAllister QBE Major General Brigade of Gurkhas , on behalf of both Regiments to gain the Royal title and on 20th April 1977 the titles were changed officially. The following message was sent by Brigadier WPW Robertson CBE , Honarary Colonel of Queen’s Gurkha Signals, to commemorate this event; ‘For CO and all ranks Queen’s Gurkha Signals. This is a proud day. You now bear a Royal title as well as the Royal crown that you wear in your badge. Such honour is not bestowed lightly. You and your forebears have faithfully served the crown in Malaya, Hong Kong, Borneo, East Pakistan, the UK, Germany, Nepal and Cyprus.

Many individuals have received personal recognition but none so great as that now bestowed upon all of you who follow in their footsteps. HF Radio and cable route are the communication tools of your forebears. You now work in a technological age. However you must in addition continue to uphold the martial traditions of the Brigade of Gurkhas. By your new name will you be known. By your ability will you be judged. I know you will not be found wanting. Go to It!’ The Regiment celebrated in true style with picnics, cocktail parties, and families barbeques, as well as the Re – badging parade held on the 21st September 1977 at Gun Club Hill BarracksThe 1980’s will be remembered for the hordes of Vietnamese boat people who descended upon Hong Kong and who were encamped on the runway of RAF Sek Kong outside the Regiments Sergeants’ Mess. They will also be remembered for the visit by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne on 30th April 1983. Her Royal Highness visited the Regiment for four hours on a glorious Saturday morning, thanks in no small part to some to the prayers from Regimental Pandit Babiram Dahal who cleared away the drizzle, and was shown around the various stands representing the Regiment by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel M J Lance . A village house, a Linge Ping, and a Rote Ping had been built and accompanied by dancing from both the boys and the children provided a very festive occasion.

Exercises in and around Hong Kong occurred with frightening regularity, but occasionally a few exotic exercises were undertaken by the Regiment. In 1984 troop strength parties from the Regiment went to Exercise LIONHEART in Germany and Exercise REINDEER in Australia, and in 1985 Germany was revisited again for Exercise FLYING FALCON. Lieutenant EA Davis led a Troop of Gurkha Signals on the exercise and was attached to 1st Armed Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel SMA Lee and whose adjutant was Captain IW Mackenzie , both familiar faces to the Regiment. The exercise was a great chance for the boys to drive armoured vehicles and generally see a side to signalling they are denied in Hong Kong. They were not found wanting. This was the Regiment’s first contact with PTARMIGAN which it would become much more intimate with later. The 1990’s could not have started better for the Regiment when on 1st June 1990 250 Gurkha Signal squadron was reformed as part of 30 Signal Regiment in Blandford. A reformation parade was taken by the Signal Officer – in – Chief (Army) Major General RFL Cook and attended by many guest of the Regiment, the Squadron could not have been reformed in a more exciting and versatile unit. 30 Signal Regiment provides the Army’s out of area signals capabilities and over the past few years has seen service in Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Bosnia, Croatia Kosovo, Mozambique and Sierra Leone (to name only a few operations). Being part of 30 Signal Regiment was breaking new ground for the Gurkhas because 250 Squadron was the first of the Gurkha Brigade’s Corps units to move to UK permanently and integrate with a British unit in preparation for ‘Options for Change’ and the eventual run down of the Gurkha Corps Regiments themselves. It also provided the opportunity to test the Regiments ability in actual operations after an absence of 12 years.

In August 1990 30 Signal Regiment deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of the Allied response to Saddam Hussain’s aggression in Kuwait. Elements of 250 Squadron deployed within 2 weeks to the Gulf area and Sergeant Padambahadur Rai had the honour of being the first Gurkha in the Gulf on 13th October 1990. Many more of the Squadron followed, as detachments were established in Riyadh, Tabuk, Muharraq, Dharan, Seeb, Al Jubayl, and Kuwait. In all 44 members of the fledgling Squadron deployed to the Gulf prior to the air war, some soldiers having served long enough there to be replaced on Roulement and then sent back. The men of 250 Squadron were not however the only soldiers of the Regiment to serve in the Gulf war. Twelve men deployed with 28 Squadron Gurkha Transport Regiment who were providing ambulance support for 1st UK Division. There was a requirement for radio operators with this squadron and so the Regiment stepped into the breach. Fortunately the war was resolved with few casualties but the Regiment had once again proven its worth and reconfirmed that its skills were not lost. Whilst their fellow soldiers were in the Gulf the rest of 250 Squadron did not sit idly by. 16 men commanded by Lieutenant (QGO) Dorje Tamang accompanied 249 Signal Squadron (AMF(L)) on Exercise HARD FALL 91 in Norway. This Arctic survival exercise was to prove extremely testing to the men involved and new skills had to be learnt, such as cross country skiing, ‘Pulk’ pulling (sledges to the rest of us) and arctic survival techniques – especially those requiring them to jump into a frozen lake at – 10 degrees Celsius, but the men emerged from the exercise unscathed and the Regiment was able to add to its already great wealth of experience.

In 1992 the honour of providing the last Korean Honour Guard to be supplied by a British Army unit fell to the Regiment. The Guard, which is correctly titled the United Nations Platoon of the Honour Guard Company, conducts all the ceremonial duties of the United Nations on the North/South Korean border. The Regiment had first provided the guard in 1981 commanded by Second Lieutenant DG Macauley , and then subsequently in 1988 and 1991 commanded by Lieutenant RCA Pool and Lieutenant Tim Smith respectively. Captain Bill Fathers led the 1992 contingent and their tour was extended by a month and a half so that the final ceremonial duties could be conducted. It was a opportunity to visit a country not on the normal tourist agenda and was greatly sought by everyone in the Regiment and will consequently be sorely missedAnother opportunity to visit pastures new was revived in 1993 when the Hong Kong to Beijing Rally was revived after a six year absence. This motor rally, covering 3900 km, is probably one of the most gruelling in the World and had previously run between in 1983 – 1987. Queen’s Gurkha Signals was approached in 1987 and in 1993 to provide the communications expertise on the rally. An 18 man contingent led by Lieutenant James Anderson and Staff Sergeant (Foreman of Signals) Paul Cooper entered China, and using a mixture of old commercial VHF radios and up to the minute satellite communications, successfully maintained communications throughout the rally.

Other countries that were visited in 1993 include Belize by the rear link detachment of 2nd Gurkha Rifles and Chile by Lieutenant Rob Chamberlain OC C Troop 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron on Operation RALEIGH, whilst a detachment from 250 Squadron were on operations in Bosnia. This history will end not with a look at the past but at a view of the future. Options for Change has radically reduced the size of the Brigade of Gurkhas and consequently the Corps units are beginning the reduction to achieve an establishment of just one squadron by 1997. Queen’s Gurkha Signals begins its reductions in 1994 when 247 and 248 squadrons amalgamate into one, the Hong Kong Gurkha Signal Squadron, on 1 July 1994, to be based in the Prince of Wales Barracks (formerly Victoria barracks/HMS Tamar). 246 Squadron will reduce to a large troop strength and the RHQ will leave Sek Kong to travel down to Prince of Wales barracks but both these occurrences are at a date not known yet. In 1997 the Regiment will have just one Squadron, 250 Squadron, still with 30 Signal Regiment but now currently based in Bramcott, near Coventry. Hopefully this history will give an insight to the new comer about a Regiment that has led a very impressive life.

Community Relations and Sporting Achievements

Queen’s Gurkha Signals has gained quite a reputation both within the Brigade of Gurkhas and the outside world as an organiser and a participant in sporting activities. The Regiment has been represented around the world from Honolulu to Cyprus in various sports and although every success is worthy of being mentioned there is only space to highlight a few of the better known events. Three events in particular have propelled the Regiment into the limelight in the Armyrats © military and civilian world:

– Trailwalker

– Operation Mercury

– Regular Army Skill At Arms Meeting

Trailwalker

Over a period of just 10 years a Squadron charity walk has blossomed into probably the largest charity event in South East Asia and certainly one of the most physically demanding runs in the world. In 1981 246 Squadron’s OC Major S M A Lee (now Brigadier Brigade of Gurkhas) encouraged his men to raise HKD 70,000 for the Hong Kong Spastics Society by walking the Macelhose Trail in the New Territories. The Trail begins in Sai Kung Country Park and finishes 100km later on the other side of Hong Kong at Perowne Barracks. In between the Trail crosses all the major peaks of the New Territories and their names have now become synonymous with the event; Grassy Hill, Pyramid Hill, Ti Mo Shan and Ma On Shan to name but a few. To climb all these hills is equivalent to walking up Mount Everest.In 1983 246 squadron ran the event again and invited in some outside participants, mainly military, to raise more money for charity. Forty – four teams of four ran, and because of inter service rivalry the army teams began to compete against each other. By 1985 the event, now being run annually, had become a Regimentally run affair with some 60 four man (and woman) teams taking part, over HKD 100,000 was raised that year.

The event still continues today and in 1993 some 630 teams or 2540 people from all walks of life, took part. Trailwalker begins on a Friday morning in October – November time and finishes 48 hours later on a Sunday afternoon. There are now too many walkers to have just one start and so a second start occurs on the Friday afternoon. The Regiment mans all the 9 checkpoints, providing water, soup and encouragement, and more importantly ensures that safety comes first no matter what. Using a network of computers and by bar – coding all the walkers like a supermarket product, the organisers keep tabs on the location of every walker in the event. 1993’s event rose over HKD 10 million for charity, the money being managed by the Trailwalker Trust and the majority of it going towards the Gurkha Welfare Trust in Nepal and to OXFAM. A large number of community aid projects in Nepal and Hong Kong would only have been possible with the money from Trailwalker. The event continues to be popular, and every year there are more team applications than can be coped with. But why the popularity? It is the charity aspect, but its also the challenge. To walk 100km in 48 hours is no mean feat, and the is always the 20 hour goal which everyone would like to complete in. 10 Gurkha Rifles in 1993 won the record for the course from Queen’s Gurkha Signals by 8 minutes. The goal for any future Trailwalkers 13 Hours 21 minutes.

Operation Mercury

In 1970 a group of Swiss businessmen on route to EXPO 70 in Japan stopped over for a few days in Hong Kong. They were all reservists in the Swiss Signal Corps and were therefore invited to visit the Regiment by Colonel John Hart . They were obviously well looked after because a few months later a competition crossbow arrived as a measure of their appreciation. In April 1972 Major General E Honneger , Director of the Swiss Signal Corps, was elected as Vice Chairman of the Swiss National Crossbow Championship and suggested that a live crossbow match between the Swiss Signal Corps and QG Signals in Hong Kong would be quite a innovative competition. Lt Col Tony Lewis readily agreed and the Regiment set about making arrangements for Exercise Crossbow. The actual competition took place in July 1972 and a Telex circuit was established between Switzerland and Hong Kong with the help of the Cable and Wireless company. The local Swiss expatriate community was invited to attend the Hong Kong side and a fun day ensued. Lt (QGO) Tikaram Gurung was despatched to Switzerland to act as an observer and to present a Kothemora Kukri to the Signals there.

The day was a great success, although the Regiment was well and truly trounced in the competition. The Swiss Expats brought along a small cheese to show their appreciation of the day out, and the whole Regiment dined on the 200 Lbs Emmental (3′ diameter). Exercise Crossbow soon became Operation Mercury and has been held annually ever since. Unfortunately the live crossbow competition against the Swiss Signal Corps finished in 1980 but the crossbow event still continues against the local Swiss community. It was discovered in 1973 that Swiss Expat communities everywhere must still re – qualify as reservists every year by doing an annual personal weapons test. Expats from 43 countries around the world compete for the best shooting results and since 1973 the Regiment has run the Swiss Requalification tests. Operation Mercury is now a family event where all variety of fullbore weapons can be fired for fun and in competition, it now has a very popular Raffle and of course each Op Mercury ends with the cutting of the Cheese.

RASAAM

Probably the event which has brought the Regiment more recognition within the army than any other is the Regular Army Skill At Arms Meeting (RASAAM) held at Bisley every year. Until 1980 the Regiment had never been represented at Bisley but since that year only 1984 has seen the list of competing Regiments without QG Signals entry. In 1980 the Hong Kong Gurkha Signal Squadron team, which notably included LCpl Krishna Gurung , won the Minor units championship in the Hong Kong Skill At Arms Meeting (HKSAAM) and qualified for Bisley. On route to RASAAM the team warmed up by winning every team match in the Royal Corps of Signals SAAM and by beating all comers in the Falling Plate competition at the same event. At Bisley, despite this being their first appearance, the team came second in the Minor Unit Championship against the best of the rest of the army. 1981 saw Hong Kong Gurkha Signal Sqn narrowly beat Gurkha Field Force Signal Sqn in the Hong Kong SAAM into 1st place, and so two teams were off to Bisley from the Regiment. Again Hong Kong Gurkha Signal Sqn came second in the Minor Units Championship. In 1982 and 1983 it was Gurkha Field Force Signal Sqn who travelled to RASAAM to get 2nd and 3rd respectively. It wasn’t until 1984 that the Regiment could compete as a Regiment in the Major Units Non Infantry competition, and until 1985 the Regiment wasn’t represented again at Bisley.

1985 began the remarkable team captainship of Capt (QGO) Lilbahadur Gurung , and the pairing of Capt Lilbahadur and Sgt Krishna Gurung in the Machine Gun competition. In 1985 the Regiment was the best Non Infantry Unit at RASAAM. In 1986 the Regimental team came 8th in the Major units competition, by 1987 they were 4th. 1988 was undoubtedly the best shooting year for the Regiment ever. It won everything at the R Sigs SAAM and won the Series B open sights Major Unit Championship at Bisley. That same year the Regiment represented the British Army in Canada in Exercise Sharpshooter, an Exercise in which every major Western Army is represented. The Team walked away with 2 major trophies and 26 individual gold medals, making notable success in the Machine Gun Competition taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd against 70 other teams. What is even more remarkable is that the team was using a World War Two vintage Bren/LMG machine gun. Since 1988 the Regiment has continued to win the Series B Major Units competition at Bisley and to sweep the board at every other shooting event it takes part in.

Tomahawks Adventure travel and survival: Burma Rifles

Being a big fan of South East Asia, I am forever studying the history of the region. Recently, I came across some information about the 1st Battalion Chin Rifles in Burma. This unit was made up of mainly Hill people like the Karen, Kachins and Chins, cool stuff.

One regiment – 10th reg ,1st Burma Rifles later became the 10th Princess Marys own Gurkha Rifles. Below, I have posted some info for you. If you are a Armyrats © military history buff, you might find it interesting.

See you on the Trail, Tomahawk – Scouts Out! Burma Rifles; The Burma Rifles were a regiment of the British Indian Army created in 1917. The regiment re-used the name of an unrelated earlier unit, the 10th Regiment (1st Burma Rifles) Madras Infantry, which evolved into the 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles.

Contents. Origins of the regiment Early history: The expansion of the British Indian Army during World War I led to the raising of two companies of Burma Pioneers in Mandalay in November 1916. Burmese of all groups were recruited for these units.

After expanding to four companies, the Pioneers became the 70th Burma Rifles in September 1917. The 85th Burman Rifles were raised from the Burma Armyrats © Military Police in July 1917. A second battalion of 70th Burma Rifles was raised in January 1918 and both battalions served in the Middle East in 1918-20.

Two more battalions were raised during 1918. According to John Gaylor in his history: Sons of John Company – The Indian & Pakistan Armies 1903-1991, the 3/70th Burma Rifles, raised in April 1918, went to Southern India to suppress the Moplah Rising whilst the 4/70th, raised in May 1918, remainded in Burma.

1922 reorganisation of the British Indian Army In the 1922 reorganisation of the British Indian Army the 70th Burma Rifles and the 85th Burman Rifles were merged to form the 20th Burma Rifles. The new regiment numbered four regular battalions.

A new battalion, the 11th (territorial) battalion was also formed in 1922. The Burman element in the regiment was mustered out after 1927, although Burmans continued to serve in the Burma Armyrats © Military Police. Personnel drawn from the hill-tribes of Burma and other groups (Karens, Kachins and Chin) continued to serve and in 1940 Burmans were again recruited, although the Anglo-Burmese tended to be overly represented in the Burma Rifles and the Burma Armyrats © Military Police.

Separation from India After the British formally separated Burma from India in 1937 the 20th Burma Rifles was allocated to Burma and renamed the Burma Rifles. The intention was for officers to be drawn from the British Army. However the majority of the British officers already serving with the regiment chose to remain with their units on secondment from the British Indian Army.

World War II The regiment was expanded during the Second World War to a total of 14 battalions and served through the Japanese invasion of Burma during the Burma Campaign. Eight Battalions of Infantry were raised along with a holding battalion, a training battalion and four territorial battalions. The men of the territorial battalions were under no obligation to serve outside the borders of Burma.

After the British Burma Army’s retreat from Burma, a reconstituted 2nd Battalion continued to take part in the Burma Campaign. The remaining highly weakened battalions were disbanded although many of the non-Burmese nationals (Indians and Gurkhas) from them went to form battalions of the Burma Regiment created in September 1942. The 2nd battalion participated in the 1st and 2nd Chindit expeditions into Burma.

In his official report following the first expedition Orde Wingate the Chindit commander wrote: I would like to record here that I have never had under my command in the field as good a body of men as the 2nd Burma Rifles. As a result, for the 1943 Chindit operation, the battalion was expanded and broken down into reconnaissance platoons for the Chindit column. In 1944, the battalion was broken down into sections among the Chindit force.

In 1945, the 2nd Burma Rifles was reconstituted as an infantry battalion. In July 1945, the 1st battalion was re-raised in Burma. Over the following three years leading up to Burmese independence, the 3rd through 6th battalions were re-raised.

Uniform and insignia The mess uniform of the Burma Rifles was rifle green with scarlet facings and the regimental badge was a (male)Burmese peacock (displaying)over a title-scroll “BURMA RIFLES” in white metal. (officers Silver or silver gilt) In Volume 2 of his work “Indian Army Uniforms” W.Y. Carman describes a full dress uniform in the same colours, noting that it was worn by officers and other ranks forming part of the Coronation Contingent of 1937. It is not however known on what other occasions (if any) it was used.

The last surviving Burma Rifles Officer, Major Neville Hogan MBE noted further insignia distinctions from WW2. Shoulder Titles : Rifle Green with “BURMA RIFLES” in red. Collar Dogs: Same as the Cap Badge, a (male)Burmese peacock (displaying)over a title-scroll “BURMA RIFLES” in white metal. (officers Silver or silver gilt) Officers Pips, Silver for Full dress, Black for Service Dress, Black embroidered onto Red worsted (after the traditions of the 60th Rifles/KRRC) Enlisted Stripes & Crowns, Black embroidered onto rifle green worsted (after the traditions of the 95th Rifles/Rifle Brigade) This unusual mix was noted and verified by photographs in Major Hogan’s collection.

Titles of the Regiment 70th Burma Rifles / 85th Burma Rifles 20th Burma Rifles Burma Rifles

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Tomahawks Adventure travel and survival: Burma Rifles