GURKHAS ON TUMBLEDOWN JAI SEVENTH! The 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles had a distinguished history during the 20th century where it fought in many of the United Kingdom’s major conflicts Formed on 16 May 1902, the regiment became known as the ‘7th Gurkha Rifles’ in 1907 and recruited soldiers from the area around the Nepali capital of Kathmandu. During WWI, the 7th Gurkhas fought in the Middle East before participating in the Third Anglo-afghan War in 1919. Its most significant active service came during WWII where its three battalions served across the world. The 2nd Battalion initially fought in Syria and North Africa, where it was captured at Tobruk in 1942. A new battalion was formed to replace it for the Italian Campaign where it earned the rare distinction of its own battle honour at Monte Cassino. Meanwhile, the 1st and 3rd Battalions fought in Burma against Japanese forces where they took heavy casualties. Nevertheless, they took a prominent part in the Allied victory at the Battle of Imphal, recapturing Meiktila and liberating Rangoon. One of 1st Battalion’s soldiers, Rifleman Ganju Lama, won the Victoria Cross for his extreme bravery near Ningthoukhong, India on 12 June 1944. The 7th Gurkhas went on to serve in Britain’s decolonisation conflicts such as the Malayan Emergency, Brunei Revolt and Indonesia-malaysia Confrontation. Its success in Malaya was royally recognised when it was renamed the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’s Own’ in 1959 in honour of Prince Philip. The Falklands War was the last time the regiment earned a battle honour before it was officially disbanded on 26 May 1994. 36
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