Father 10th Gurkhas during WW2 ; we seemed to have camp followed and spent 18 months at Alhalal Camp in tents. Pipe Band played BlackBear on Sundays. In January 1954 my father , Uncle W A Russel MC Royal Scots and another friend fromTge Royal Artillery visited Kohima, W A Russell believed he had rediscovered his slit trench on the slope facing down the Imphal Road . We also visited Imphal and Dimapote. War Graves Commission has superb cenertaeies and in Kohima the tennis court laid out in concrete. “When you go home , tell them and say ‘for your tomorrow we have our today” This is the alternative version of this famous poem (Radio Times article by Fergal Keane quotes wrong one)
In 1954, during the Emergency in Malaya, my father, a Regular Army Captain was posted to Singapore and I joined him in early 1955. He travelled with his unit widely throughout Malaya and I attended the Slim School, Cameron Highlands, as a boarder. It was here that I met a number of Gurkha lads, all destined to become Officers in Gurkha Regiments, and I became lifelong friends with one Jogindra Sing Gurung, better known to everyone as 'Jogin'. All the Gurkha lads were great characters, good sportsmen and you couldn't do better than to have one of them as a personal friend! I was occasionally able to visit Jogin during the school holidays when he was back with his battalion and my father was with them. We remained friends throughout my time in Malaya until we returned home to England in September 1957. I kept in touch with him until we lost contact some years later. I was at sea in the Merchant Navy and he was busy with the Gurkhas elsewhere and it was not until 2012, that we finally regained contact. We were able to exchange our life stories and it was pleasing to know that his education at Slim School had enabled him to do well, but he had not been selected, along with Kulraj Limbu, to attend Sandhurst. His determination to succeed was not, to me, surprising and he joined the Gurkha Engineers Regiment. Unbeknown to both of us, he had twice attended courses in military engineering at Chatham, Kent, when I had been at home on leave in Whitstable, not far away, but we had unfortunately missed each other. Jogin earned professional awards and an M.B.E. as a result of his technical abilities and leadership and retired as a Captain. Kulraj Limbu retired as a Major, and Phatteh Bahahdur Limbu retired as a Lt. General. All live in Kathmandu. Not bad achievements for those with a British Forces schooling background, but, lets face it, they are Gurkhas! This is not a story of mutual combat experience, but one of lasting friendship and respect for the Gurkhas. I and many other ex Slim School students have never forgotten our time at school with them. The last time I spoke to Jogin was on hearing of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. I phoned him,but I forgot the time difference and a lasting memory will always be - "You do know it's three o'clock in the morning here, don't you?" Communication with Nepal is very poor. Letters aren't delivered, the phones and email don't work and, sadly, I have lost all contact with him again. If I learned one thing from him it was to keep trying.
Had a lot of fun and great experiences alongside these "little brown-skinned smiling gentlemen",Nepali super-soldiers it was my privilege to spend some time with during my time ,serving with 59 Sqn in Singapore, malaya,& Hong Kong!!.
I had the great honour to serve alongside the Great Gurkha Battalions when I was in Hong Kong for two years; watching our Gurkhas destroy all comers on the Maclehose Trail annually and achieving great things militarily and on the sports field. My contribution was at volleyball and as a soccer referee where I had the honour to be on the Football League and occasionally on TV when the match was televised; my best memories of course were for the Nepal Cup and the wonderful post match, game over get togethers over a decent Gurkha Curry and a cooling refreshment or two. I remember on my Aikido Instructors course attempting to get a curry with bones in but I was referred to the western food side (of course, later as a QM I enjoyed Aloo Dam and curries to my hearts content when the Gurkha Transport Squadron appeared in Kosovo to take over from my chefs!) I have always had the deepest respect for Gurkhas and had the exceptional experience of working with Major Tekbahadur Gurung MBE, 7 GR (Jai Seventh!) at 5 Airborne Brigade Logistic Battalion and I enjoyed a lovely time learning about Gurkha culture and an education second to none. Major Tek was the first Gurkha to go through officer training at RMAS and it was a pleasure to be in his company, humourous, exuding leadership, tough and yet one of the finest officers I have had the honour to serve with. The reason for this article though is to mention a gentleman who commanded a Gurka Battalion in the Indian Army and fought at the Tennis Courts at Kohima. I met him in the late 80s when I did an E2 post and he was an RO there; what an amazing man who exuded leadership and knowledge. All us young men quickly established the deepest respect for him, a natural culimination of his humour, knowledge and leadership, knowing how to speak to and deal with young men and senior ranks alike. This gentleman was named Lt Col Ian Goad, known (only found out afterwards) as 'Gurkha Goad'. I found him a font of knowledge about many things, he had a sharp wit and could find a sharper tongue if things didnt please him but he was one of the most approachable, honest and decent officers I have ever met. I found out that he had kept in touch with his Gurkha Batman from Command days, making sure all was well over in Nepal and stuff. My natural curiosity (which again assisted as a QM later in life) couldnt resist asking, on the grounds of being able to tell my grandchildren in the years to come - this predated the media we have now and I can now share it with whoever reads this. His answer was quite simple, 'He saved my life once' and on the few occasions I kept quiet and listened closely as he continued, 'A Japanese soldier was about to bayonet me and he stood in front of him to stop him and despatched him. I think that well worth acknowledging in a couple of ways annually'. One of the reasons for my silence was that I was quite choked up, the sand blowing into my eyes as I realised that Command and Leadership was exceptionally important and much different and wider than section, platoon and Company that I was used to. It taught me a great lesson and experience and I am proud to say I was able to fully subscribe to this as a Company 2IC and when I ran Command and Support Company in peace, on ops and at War. May this exceptional and very brave Gurkha Rest In Peace, his memory lives among many, his deeds that he and his Battalion of Gurkhas, I still in awe of.
My great grand father in Bombay, Moses David, made the Gorka Hats for the British in Bombay! It can be googled to get a picture of the hat that has his name!
My husband Robert served in Burma he always spoke very highly of the Gurkhas & told me they once saved his life.