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Tom Y

THIS is a knife

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Eat your heart out, Crocodile Dundee. Those little brown men with the big smiles from the high mountains have you beat.

Introducing the Kukri. Longer than your forearm, heavy as a cleaver, and equally proficient at hewing firewood or removing heads.

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Beautifully hand forged, it weighs in at about 2 pounds (almost a kilo for you Euros)

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It comes with matching eating utensil and, in a "secret compartment" in the belt loop, a small "change purse".

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This particular example is pre-1900 and a little longer (19 in./48.26 cm.) than the WWI and later issue models. The spine bears an inscription, but my knowledge of Devanagari being not much better than my knowledge of High Martian, I have no idea what it says, other than the numerals 3, 2, and 4.

Any help with translation would be appreciated.

Chris, old Bean, do you still have that dispatch from WWI you posted on WAF a while back?

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You mean this....

"2nd Lt. Charles Winton, Indian army reserve of officers, attd to 1st Btln Queen Victorias Own (corps of Guides) (in Egypt)

For conspicuous gallantry and good leadership north of Arsuf on 13th July, 1918. He was in command of a daylight raid on two enemy strongpoints, and it was mainly due to his coolness and leadership that the whole affair was carried out so successfully. He personally killed two enemy with the bayonet"

It was an interesting citation and after having bought the group, I found the following information..

"On the 13th July a most successful daylight raid was carried out by Lt. Winton and a party of Guhrka volunteers, including Havildars Dhan Jit and Puran Bahadur, Naik Karma Dhoj and lance-NAik Hasta Ram. The objectives were 2 strog points in front of the right of the battalion line and 150-200 yards from it. The raid, which was carefully planned and rehearsed, took place at 1:00pm, the time of day when the Turks were usually most inactive. The raiders left our trenches and creeping down a Wadi in No mans land for about 100 yards then advanced across the open to their first objective. As the Gurkhas neared the enemys line they drew their kukris and leaping down upon the astonished Turks speedily cleared the trench, 7 Turks being killed there, while 5 prisoners and a MG were captured. The party then advanced and cleared the other strong point, a seperate redoubt, 15 Turks in all being killed and 15 prisoners (5 wounded) being taken. The raiders then returned across no mans land, the operation having worked exactly to plan and having taken only 12 minutes from start to finish.

This raid was thus refered to in an English newspaper...

Decapitated with a Kukri.

A subaltern in charge of a party had an extraordinary experience. He had stuck his bayonet into a Turk, but was unable to disengage owing to the narrowness of the Trench. Another Turk beyond began jabbing the butt end of his rifle into the ribs of the officer, and seemed likely to inflict an Injury, when the officer saw his assailants head leap from his shoulders, a Ghurka having dextrously decapitated him with his Kukri, which is an invaluable weapon at such close quarters.

This is the actual of Lt Winton during the raid and the Gurkha was Sepoy Mardani of the Guides.

".... This impression of a distancing of the officer from the infliction of death is reinforced by reading the citations which are written to explain and endorse the award of high decorations for bravery: those written for soldiers lay stress on thier success at killing - "lance-corporal .... courageously worked his way round the flank of the machine-gun which was holding up the advance and then charged it, firing his carbine from the hip, so accounting for six of the enemy" (Citation writers, flinching from "Kill", deal largely in "account for", "Dispatch", "dispose of"); on the other hand, those written for officers minimize their direct responsibility for killing and emphasize their powers of inspiration and organisation when all about are loosing theirs (in the metaphorical sense; nothing so nasty as decapitation ever creeps into a citation) -"Captain....., taking command at a difficult moment of the battle, quickly rallied his men and, without regard for his own safety, led them back over the open to the position they has earlier bben forced to leave..."

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It comes with matching eating utensil and, in a "secret compartment" in the belt loop, a small "change purse".

Tom,

I can do something with the first half, but nothing with the second. Suspect Nepal Army rather than British mercenaries, though.

Any chance of retrying scan for aging eyes?

Thanks,

Ed

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Chris, yup, that's the one. Moral: Never pi$$ off a Gurkha.

Ed, here's an enhanced scan. Rick R ain't the only one who can do that hoodoo :cheeky:

Nepal Army would make sense, as it came from the "closeout sale" of the Royal Nepalese Armoury.

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Chris, yup, that's the one. Moral: Never pi$$ off a Gurkha.

Ed, here's an enhanced scan. Rick R ain't the only one who can do that hoodoo :cheeky:

Nepal Army would make sense, as it came from the "closeout sale" of the Royal Nepalese Armoury.

These are very intersting blades with a great history. When I was in the Middle East, we had a lot of Gurkha guards that worked with us. I spent many hours talking to them of their military traditions and etc. They told me that every time the blade was drawn, it had to draw blood before it could be resheathed!

Paul

Edited by Paul Reck

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They told me that every time the blade was drawn, it had to draw blood before it could be resheathed!

Yeah, they like telling the goras (whiteys) that. A good laugh ensues afterwards. Not true, but part of the Gorkha mythology.

Tom - Thanks for the scan, working with it and cross-referencing to what little I have on the Nepal army. Suspect it is a unit stock stamp. Will get back to you.

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Yeah, they like telling the goras (whiteys) that. A good laugh ensues afterwards. Not true, but part of the Gorkha mythology.

Tom - Thanks for the scan, working with it and cross-referencing to what little I have on the Nepal army. Suspect it is a unit stock stamp. Will get back to you.

Thank you for the clarification! God, I can be gulliable sometimes!

LOL

Paul

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I think most people believe that, it is a legend that does the rounds.... however... I always thought the one swipe decapitation was a myth or legend... then found I had a medal to a guy who was "there" when it happened.

I think the "must draw blood" thing must have started when everyone started bothering Gurkas to show them theirfunny knives... and one gurka came up with the idea... to scare off the curious !

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The one swipe decapitation is true, an only slightly larger khukri is used as Dusshera (in a few weeks now) to decapitala a bullafo (thing "Apocalypse Now"). Humans are easy. I have interviewed some who served in North Africa. The Germans never knew what haoppened" plop. You do have the "number" on the Gorkha response to the "Ohh, duh, shew me yewr nifffe" crowd.

A great bunch of guys, with a great sense of hunmur about themselves, those who command them, and those they encounter.

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if it was issued to the british ( or pre-partition Indian) army units, it would have english proof stamps on, probably the broad WD arrow, probably an I (for an Indian proof house), also the design of the sheath is wrong for british issue

the small 'eating' utensils (sorry i have forgotten their names) one is a small knife for using when the kukri is just too big, the other ( thicker and blunter) is actually for sharpening the other two

for a little interesting bit of information, wilkinson sword were asked to produce some kukris for the gurkha units but they weren't popular as the steel was too hard and they couldn't sharpen them in combat situations

Edited by harribobs

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One of my favorite stories about Gurkha soldiers was in "Bugles and a Tiger" by John Masters, relating his service as a Army of India officer in a Gurkha regiment. There was a big fancy ball of some kind and a lieutenant had convinced a young lady to come outside and they proceeded to lie down (I believe under a cannon at the top of the outside stairs) and get to procreating. Just then a squad of Gurkhas marched by and the lieutenant froze in mid-thrust and stared in horror, as the Gurkha sergeant called "Eyes right" and saluted as the marched past. :P

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One of my favorite stories about Gurkha soldiers was in "Bugles and a Tiger" by John Masters, relating his service as a Army of India officer in a Gurkha regiment. There was a big fancy ball of some kind and a lieutenant had convinced a young lady to come outside and they proceeded to lie down (I believe under a cannon at the top of the outside stairs) and get to procreating. Just then a squad of Gurkhas marched by and the lieutenant froze in mid-thrust and stared in horror, as the Gurkha sergeant called "Eyes right" and saluted as the marched past. :P

Interesting picture springs to mind.............Sort of caught in the "Lying position, LOAD." there.............. :P I wonder did he present arms as a return salute :P:P

Kev in Deva

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I have interviewed some who served in North Africa. The Germans never knew what haoppened" plop.

I believe I read once that @ Monte Casino somehow the "word" got leaked that the the allies were going to use gurkhas in the next assault on some portion of the German lines that was being a particularly tough nut to crack and when the assault happened the German positions were found to be empty.

I do not know enough about the battle and/or the Gurkha unit history therein to know if it indeed happened but it certainly makes for good reading.

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I believe I read once that @ Monte Casino somehow the "word" got leaked that the the allies were going to use gurkhas in the next assault on some portion of the German lines that was being a particularly tough nut to crack and when the assault happened the German positions were found to be empty.

I do not know enough about the battle and/or the Gurkha unit history therein to know if it indeed happened but it certainly makes for good reading.

There were IA units at Monte Casino, including Ghurkas: among other things they did incredible work mna-carrying supplies up the mountain, at night, under fire, for the British and Allied units. The empty trenches sounds like a Ghurka type story and certianly one they'd enjoy spreading.

I was lucky enough to be taken to the Ghurka Museum at Aldershot and then through Sandhurst on a tour with a friend, ex-colonel of the 10th G. Rifles, many years ago. At the time the current "best story" was of the wee lads in the Falklands. Young Argie recruits had been told that the Ghurkas were cannibals! When captured, wounded, and sleeping peacefully in a Br field hospital they'd be wakened by a nudge on the bed to the sight of 4-6 little brown men brandishing kukris and FORKS and grinning hugely. Hilarious from the Ghurka point of view!

Sadly, the British Ghurkas were a much diminished force then. One of the 3 regiments was always in Hong Kong, where they did the anti-illegals border work and one was in Brunei, but the lads in ENgland didn't take to it all that well. A number of the soldiers have been busted bringing drugs into Britain and few British officers wanted to make a career with then, so they tended to get a rotating roster of officers posted from other branches who spoke no Gurkhali and had little commitment to the unit. One can only hope that has changed over the years, but it was sad to see a proud fighting force so reduced.

Peter

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One can only hope that has changed over the years, but it was sad to see a proud fighting force so reduced.

Peter

Hallo Peter, :beer: do you know if the Gurka Regiment ever saw duty in Northern Ireland I, from my point of view, think they would have been perfect for the role, they could hardley be accused of a religious bias that often attached to the Scot's regiments. (No offense meant to Scots soldiers). :blush:

I served in the Irish Defence force from 1976 -1997 with many years stationed on the Donegal - Leitem -Cavan Border. I am in the centre of the group, picture taken in 1996.

Kev in Deva.

Edited by Kev in Deva

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Here is an example of a British made Khukri. This one is stamped with the broadarrow ->

acceptance mark and I for India. It is also dated 1914.

[attachmentid=29526]

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Here is a closeup of the broadarrow and date.

Greg

[attachmentid=29527]

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Most Gorkhas, of course, continue serving in the Indian Army.

i wasn't aware of that Ed, i know there was a lot of bickering about which regiment transferred to the British Army

what was the split?

Greg,

good illustration!

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i wasn't aware of that Ed, i know there was a lot of bickering about which regiment transferred to the British Army

what was the split?

Greg,

good illustration!

The "opt" in 1946 was very badly handled and is, to this day, immensely controversial among both Indian Gorkhas and, I assume, British Gurkhas as well (though I have no contact with any of them). Not just regiments were assigned, but individual soldiers (some of them, at least) had the choice of which service to continue in. There is much mythology on this among those with a terminal infection of the Dreaded Gurkha Disease, so I won't go into detail. (Talking about this and challenging the prevailing myth has gotten me expelled from some internet fora and lists.) Once other research projects are off the table, I may just try to actually look at the sources and tell the tale in full. Again, the most delicate and diplomatic thing is to say now is that it was very very badly handled and just leave it at that.

Which pre-1947 regiments went where?

1st GR => India

2nd GR => UK

3rd GR => India

4th GR => India

5th GR => India

6th GR => UK

7th GR => UK

8th GR => India

9th GR => India

10th GR => UK

11th GR - raised in India after 1947, in large part to absorb transfers from British Gurkha regiments, mainly from the 7th and 10th GR

Most of the British Gurkha regiments were far, far under normal regimental strength once the "opt" was sorted out.

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if it was issued to the british ( or pre-partition Indian) army units, it would have english proof stamps on, probably the broad WD arrow, probably an I (for an Indian proof house), also the design of the sheath is wrong for british issue

the small 'eating' utensils (sorry i have forgotten their names) one is a small knife for using when the kukri is just too big, the other ( thicker and blunter) is actually for sharpening the other two

for a little interesting bit of information, wilkinson sword were asked to produce some kukris for the gurkha units but they weren't popular as the steel was too hard and they couldn't sharpen them in combat situations

The two smaller knives are called the karda and the chakmak. The karda is a small accessory blade used for many tasks. The chakmak is used to burnish the blade and it can also be used to start a fire with flint. The flint is sometimes carried in a pouch attached to the scabbard.

Found this which gives some good info on the kukri:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukri

Hope this helps.

Dan :cheers:

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