2nd Goorkha casualties in India 1815-1948

2nd Goorkha casualties in India 1815-1948

Numbers for casualties in the battle of Koonja, on 3 October 1824, are inexact.  Volume I of the Regimental History, written in 1912, reported that 'the casualty list of the [Sirmoor] Battalion showed 1 Havildar and 4 Sepoys killed, and 2 subahdars, 2 Jemadars, 1 Havildar, 3 Naiks and 25 Sepoys wounded, of whom several died later of their injuries'.

Click here for an account of the battle.

Major G W N Silcock of the 3rd Battalion, who had taken part in the First Chindit Expedition, sleeping indoors and upstairs for the first time in many months, had a nightmare and jumped out of a first floor window only to later die of his injuries.  The CWGC records show that his body was transferred from Kurushkul Cemetery, Cox's Bazaar to its current location in Bangladesh.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported that at the battle of Bhurtpore on 18 January 1826: 'The total British loss was 1,100.  It is difficult to find what the actual losses of the Sirmoor Battalion in the assault were, but from accounts and letters it would seem they got off lightly with four wounded and two killed.'  Click here to read an account of the battle.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported that at the battle of Aliwal on 28 January 1846:  'The casualty list of the Corps [Sirmoor Battalion] in this battle was 49 killed and wounded out of a strength of 650 all ranks, and out of a total loss to the British force of 589 men.'  A pro rata calculation based on the average ratio of dead to wounded in campaigns at this period indicates that 7 men would likely have been killed.  Click here to read an account of the battle.

Volume I of the Regimental History reports that at the battle of Sobraon on 10 February 1846: 'The grand total of British casualties on this day was 2,383 all ranks, to which the Sirmoor Battalion contributed Captain Fisher [the Commandant/Commanding Officer] and 13 Goorkhas killed, 4 Goorkha officers, 3 non-commissioned officers and 123 sepoys wounded; or 145 out of 610 all ranks.'  Click here to read an account of the battle.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported that in the action at Delhi after the capture of Kissenganj on 14 September 1857: 'Reid's....own battalion losses, inclusive of this final day, now totalled 327 of all ranks out of the 490 with which they entered on the siege, and eight British officers killed and wounded out of nine.'  Two British Officers are known to have died.  Applying a pro-rata calculation to the total based on the ratio of dead to wounded in campaigns at this time, it is estimated that a total of 50 men of the Sirmoor Battalion would have been killed.  Click here to read an account of the campaign.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported that in the Looshai campagin 1871-72:  'The return of casualties was as follows:- Killed in action, two riflemen; wounded, Captain Battye and eleven riflemen; died of disease, Subahdar Kumla Jhankri, eight riflemen and two followers.'  Click here to read an account of the campaign.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported that in the Looshai Campaign 1889-90 two 2nd Goorkha signallers 'were cut down by the Looshais while in the act of sending' and Lieutenant Boileau drowned in the Koladyne River. Click here to read an account of the campaign and see the two medals awarded for it.

The 1878-9 campaign on the North West Frontier was subsequently seen as the first phase of the Second Afghan War and was mainly punitive in nature.  Volume I of the Regimental History reports that:  'The total casualties through wounds and illness came to only fifteen over this expedition.'  It also reports that on a expedition into the Bazar Valley 'Rifleman Sarjan Pun....was mortally wounded by a bullet in the throat [fired by a local tribesman] and died after reaching camp'.  It is not known whether the other men died or survived.  The campaign was disrupted by cholera and brought to an end by a change in the political situation.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported that in the Manipur Campaign in 1891 there were no casualties in action, but when cholera broke out 'between Naungba and Irang out of fifty-eight men attacked thirty-two succumbed to the disease.'  Click here to read an account of the campaign.

A detailed breakdown of casualties for the campaign on the North-West Frontier in 1897-8 is given on p.117 of Volume I of the Regimental History.  30 were killed, including 2 British officers and one Gurkha officer, and 87 were wounded, including 3 British and 3 Gurkha officers.  Click here to read an account of the campaign and see the three medals awarded for it.

Volume I of the Regimental History reports that in the Mahsud Waziri Blockade in 1902 one man was killed and 3 wounded.

Click here to read a short account of the campaign and see the medal awarded for it.

Volume I of the Regimental History reports that on the Abor Expedition, 1911-12, the 1st Battalion incurred only one casualty, a Rifleman.  Click here to read an account of the campaign.

Volume I of the Regimental History reported: 'Their [the 2nd Goorkhas'] casualties throughout the second phase of the Afghan campaign came to 63 all ranks of whom 23 succumbed to disease.'  Click here to read an account of the campaign and see the three medals awarded for it.

In the Third Afghan War, 13 men of the 2nd Battalion died in action or of disease.  Because of when the campaign took place, they are included in CWGC casualty lists for the First World War.  Click here to read an account of the campaign.

On the Marri Expedition in March 1918, one Rifleman of the 2nd Battalion died of disease and 5 were wounded.  Because of when the campaign took place, the man who died was included in the CWGC casualty figures for the First World War.

The Marri Expedition was launched in March 1918 to suppress a revolt by the Marri tribe in the Baluchistan hills between Sibi and Quetta.  The Field Force of which the 2nd Battalion was part only undertook one major action, at Zrind on 4th April, which brought an end to the revolt.

46 men died on operations on the North-West Frontier in the period 1914-21, all except one belonging to the 3rd Battalion.  These men are included in the CWGC casualty figures for the First World War.  They include Second Lieutenant FWW Birch who died on 23 January 1920 when attached to the 2nd Battalion of the 9th Gurkha Rifles.  He was originally buried at Jandola, Tank, South Waziristan, but like other scattered graves to the west of the River Indus, his was not possible to maintain and he, like the others who were buried there, is now commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate) shown above. 

The 1st and 2nd Battalions both served on the North-West Frontier on several occasions in the interwar period.  In spite of many long tours of duty, casualties were light: one Gurkha officer and 6 Gurkha Other Ranks were killed, a further 2 Other Ranks died of wounds and one Gurkha Other Rank was wounded.  Click here to read an account of the campaigns.

All 5 Battalion of the 2nd Goorkhas served on the North-West Frontier during this period, the 5th Battalion being permanently based there throughout its existence from 1942 to 1947, sustaining 38 casualties during this time.  In what was regarded as a particularly treacherous attack, on 12/13 December 1943 the 4th Battalion had 17 men killed by tribesmen while on a training exercise in Mahsud territory.

The 1st and 2nd Battalions were involved in peacekeeping duties in India in the late 1940s on return from other theatres or (in the case of the 2nd Battalion) from Japanese captivity and prior to leaving India for good in early 1948.  The 3rd and 4th Battalions also had small numbers of casualties while peacekeeping during this time.  In addition the Regimental Centre, in Dehra Dun, used its trained troops on such duties from 1942 until it was disbanded in 1947, and although the record is unclear it may have sustained some casualties.  Casualties for all units, including the Regimental Centre, are incorporated in the CWGC lists for the Second World War.

The 3rd Battalion took part in the First Chindit Expedition between February and June 1943 and subsequently took part in operations in Burma (Myanmar) from Maungdaw to Ruywa from March 1944 to April 1945.  The 4th Battalion took part in operations along the Irrawaddy Valley from February to September 1945.

263 men of both Battalions are commemorated on the Rangoon War Memorial (shown above) including Jemadar Andaran Gurung, who died on 24th June 1943.

10 men are buring in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Rangoon (Yangon).  They include Lieutenant Colonel LA Alexander, Commandant of the 3rd Battalion, who died on 28 April 1943, Major JE Stephenson, who died on 8 September 1944, and Major PR Collins, who died on 7th June 1945 leading an attack at Tanbingon for which he was recommended for (but did not receive) the Victoria Cross.

Click here to read an account of the campaign.

In the period 1914-21, 26 men based at the Regimental Centre at Dehra Dun died of wounds sustained on operations elsewhere, disease or in accidents.

The records for this period are unclear as to how many men died on the North-West Frontier, on peacekeeping duties in India, or of wounds, disease or in accidents, but correlation of the figures with information about what the 5 Battalions were doing at the time enables a reasonable estimate to be made.

The cause of death of the 20 men who died at the Regimental Centre during this time cannot be accurately determined and they are therefore included in this figure of 44.

Click here to see the medal awarded for those who served in non-operational roles in India during this time.