2-8 Jun 17
18 Jan 17
GLORIOUS (AND NOT-SO-GLORIOUS) HISTORY
By Deepak Thapa
Nepali history-writing has erased the contribution of Kumaonis and Garhwalis in building the brave Gurkha myth.
The apocryphal story of Gurkha recruitment has it that during the Anglo-Gorkha War of 1814-16, one Lieutenant Frederick Young was captured by the by the Gorkhalis following the flight of the force he was commanding. … The truth is obviously far from that romantic. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-01-12/glorious-and-not-so-glorious-history.html
11 Jan 17
PRESENTATION OF MBE AWARDED TO MAJ KHALU CHETTRI MBE MC IOM 2/2GR
WO2 Khadak Chettri third generation pride
CLOUD FUNDING APPEAL FOR ‘CHILDREN IN THE SNOW’ FILM
Marcus Stephenson (Owner and Director of Mayfly Television) is making a film ‘Children in the Snow’ to help the mountain people of Nepal. To do that, they are telling the story of 3 children who were sent away by their families at age 4 for an education. Now aged 16, the children are returning home to see their parents for the first time in 12 years. “We don’t think any child should have to leave their family for an education. By raising awareness we can improve this situation and reconnect more children with their families. If we get just £10,000 we’ll get to the final stage of our edit”.
If interested in viewing some superb trailers and in sponsorship opportunities for ‘Children in The Snow’, please visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/children-of-the-snow-land-documentary-film-nepal#/
Please pass on this notice to your friends and family who take an interest in Nepal and its people.
23 May 16
LIEUTENANT COLONEL PETER KEMMIS BETTY MC PRESENTS THE 2ND K. E. O. GOORKHAS (SIRMOOR RIFLES) GOLF TROPHY AT CORHAMPTON GOLF CLUB ON HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY – 5TH MAY 2016
The Sirmoor Rifles Golf Championship has been played at Corhampton Golf Club since 1999, the year when one of the Members, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Kemmis Betty MC, an ex-officer of the 2nd Goorkhas (Sirmoor Rifles), first invited his Regimental Association’s Golf Society to play there.
The Championship Trophy itself was presented to the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles) by ‘Some Honorary Officers’ in India in 1923. It was won by Peter’s elder brother, Mervyn, in 1933; and by his son Richard in 2007 and 2008; and by his grandson Alexander in 2012.
The Championship this year was played on Thursday 5th May, which was Peter Kemmis Betty’s 100th birthday. And five Kemmis Bettys – sons Richard, Charlie and David, and grandsons Jonathan and Alexander – all vied for the trophy on that day. Peter came to present the Trophy.
During the presentation ceremony the 31 players were reminded of the eventful life Peter has lived – darkened only by his 3½ years as a Japanese POW in Changi, Singapore, after he lead his company of Gurkhas during the succession of defensive actions fought by his Battalion (2nd Battalion 2nd K. E. O. Goorkhas) against the Japanese all the way from the Malay/Thai Border down the Malaya Peninsular to Singapore where the Battalion was ordered to surrender.
Peter was awarded the Military Cross when his company held the vital bridge over the Sungei Dipang River against successive Japanese attacks until it could be blown. Worse was to come at Slim River when, despite fierce resistance against tanks and waves of screaming Japanese infantry, the Battalion was outflanked and became stranded on the far bank when the bridge was blown. The Battalion had to make its own way across the river and many Gurkha soldiers were drowned and much equipment was lost. Days later in Parit Bunta they were bombed and strafed by Japanese aircraft causing many casualties and more equipment destroyed.
The Battalion held a final defence position at Pontian Kechil on the south west coast of Malaya for 10 days when they were ordered to retreat across the Causeway to Singapore before it was blown up. In Singapore the battalion initially defended the Naval Base and then withdrew again to south of the Bukit Timah road when at long last they were able to prepare a very good defensive position where they expected to give a good account of themselves. There they received the order to surrender, which was met with incredulity and anger by everyone, especially the older Gurkha Officers and NCOs whose ethos was ‘never to give up’.
Then followed 3½ ghastly years as a POW in Changi, the infamous Japanese POW camp. Indeed, after his release from captivity Peter initially remained behind in Malaya to collect up other survivors of the Battalion who had been imprisoned outside Singapore, before he was repatriated to India.
But drama was to strike again a few years later when he, his wife, and their two children at that time, Richard (aged 2) and Charlie (7 months), embarked on the Empire Windrush to set sail for England from Singapore for leave. Off Algeria there was an explosion in the engine room and 4 seamen were killed. The ship caught fire and had to be abandoned. Charlie was thrown like a rugby ball by an Italian sailor into a lifeboat and thankfully caught by a safe pair of hands. The ship was towed to Gibraltar but sank off the coast and the Kemmis Bettys lost everything. The family returned from Algeria to England via Gibraltar. Later Peter was posted back to the 2nd Battalion and fought through the Malayan Emergency where he commanded the Battalion in the latter stages, for which he was Mentioned in Despatches.
Leaving aside Peter’s distinguished military career he was a very good sportsman. Skiing was his favourite sport and he skied from the age of 6 to 86! Most of this was done at a time when there were few if any ski lifts or pistes and he and his brother would ascend up the mountain for a couple of hours wearing skins to get one run down off-piste. When he retired from the Army he became Secretary of the Army Ski Association and ran the Army and Inter Services Championships. But skiing wasn’t the only thing Peter enjoyed to an advanced age. He was a very decent squash player and probably a better tennis player. He was also a very fine single figure handicap golfer.
30 Mar 16 – DOC MCKERR (Ex QGE) – NEPAL TRIPTICH FILMS OF NEPAL
Doc McKerr, ex Queen’s Gurkha Engineers who worked in Nepal as a troop commander with QGE on a number of small projects for the GWT, is making three short films, which he hopes will encourage visitors to keep going to Nepal, and not stay away because of the earthquake last year.
- “The Rise of the Artisans”. The first film can be viewed at https://youtu.be/U754DUo6U_I
- “The Power of Unity” – due to follow by 25 April, one year after the earthquake, &
- “Building for the Future”.
It is hoped that the films will help encourage further interest in, and provide much-needed tourist revenue for Nepal.
17 Mar 16 – LAVENDER’S RECENT TRAVELS TO INDIAN MUTINY MEMORIAL ON DELHI RIDGE & KOHIMA
Photograph of Christopher Lavender visiting the Indian Mutiny Memorial on Delhi Ridge – suitably attired in January. Seen here pointing out the casualties of the Sirmur Battalion (319) with his trusty old Blackthorn! He conducted a tour of Mutiny sites in Delhi en route to the battlefields of Imphal and Kohima.
Whilst at Kohima I found a valiant 2nd Goorkha officer buried at Kohima – Maj HG Lyons-Montgomery – who was a Brigade Major and quite possibly served with 50 Indian Parachute Brigade. Bruce forwarded his Regimental Register prepared by Denis Wood. When we visited Kohima various of our party decided to sponsor a Naga child to go to school through the Kohima Educational Trust (KET) for a modest amount. However the KET like to link this to someone who fought and died at the battle – and then the student is encouraged to go and visit the grave and understand a little about the huge upheaval that occurred in the lives of their grandparents. I have called my sponsorship after Maj HG Lyons-Montgomery. Apart from him being the only 2nd Goorkha that I could find on the Cemetery he is the best link I will have to an exceptional sportsman – according to his record at Sandhurst as well as winning the Sword of Honour at Sandhurst.
17 Mar 16 – BRITAIN NEPAL ACADEMIC COUNCIL BICENTENARY WORKSHOP ON BRITAIN-NEPAL RELATIONS
For programme details see the following link.
If you would like to attend the attached workshop at the Djam Lecture Theatre SOAS on the history of Britain-Nepal relations, you should register your attendance at the following link (so that we know numbers):
If you unable to make the whole day, the final presentation by John Whelpton’s Bicentenary Public Lecture on ‘The Limits of Nationalism: Political Identity in Nepal and the British Isles’ at 6 p.m. (no need to register for this) may be of interest.
5 Mar 16 – KALAA JYOTI ART EXHIBITION AT THE GURKHA MUSEUM 22-24 APR 16
5 Mar 16 – REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION SUPPORT FOR EARTHQUAKE RECONSTRUCTION
Members of the GBA and Regimental Associations in particular, have been exceedingly generous in fundraising to support the Trust’s reconstruction efforts in Nepal. Having identified some 1200 homes of Welfare Pensioners that either collapsed or are beyond repair the reconstruction team, headed by John White (ex-QGE), is committed to rebuilding these as quickly as possible.
In some cases individuals in the UK have clubbed together to fund specific houses with their generosity being recognised with their names included on a plaque attached to the finished home. Houses are constructed to earthquake resistant standards and the basic design is now being enhanced with toilets and smokeless stoves. A photograph of the very first newly constructed dwelling is attached, along with its happy owners, Rfn Dharmarsing Tamang ex-1/7GR and his wife, Doma.
The costs of houses are subject to a number of variables but come in at around £4200 per dwelling and the numbers required, by regiment, are as follows:
|Regiment/Regimental Association||Complete home rebuilds required|
Should individuals or Regimental Associations wish to make a recognised contribution for specific homes for their own regimental ex-servicemen, they should channel funds through GWT and the Trust’s UK office rather than going direct to GWS in Pokhara. Initial contact should be made through the Trust’s Director of Fundraising, Karen England on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01722 343 112.
5 Mar 16 – SOAS SEMINAR ‘LOST IN TRANSITION: REBUILDING NEPAL FROM THE MAOIST MAYHEM AND MEGA EARTHQUAKE’ ON 9 MAR 16 AT 1900.
There is to be a seminar at SOAS in London on 9 March 2016, 5 to 7pm featuring Kul Chandra Gautam’s new book: Lost in Transition: Rebuilding Nepal from the Maoist mayhem and mega earthquake. The author will be present details can be found at the following link: http://www.soas.ac.uk/south-asia-institute/events/09mar2016-lost-in-transition-rebuilding-nepal.html
The seminar is open to the public, so you might encourage people interested in Nepal to attend.
The book is available in the UK through:
5 Mar 16 – COBSEO NEWSLETTER 4 MAR 2016
Click here to read the COBSEO Newsletter 5 Mar 2016.
1 Mar 16 – CHINDIT MEMORIAL AY WHITE CITY, BURMA – Project update as at Feb 16
The bronze plaque was cast and finished in 7 weeks by Mossfords (see attached photo). It is currently awaiting clearance at Yangon (Rangoon) before being transferred up to Mawlu and White City.
We have agreed with the proposal by the Mawlu Heritage Trust (MHT) to build the memorial on the summit of ‘No.5 Hill’, a small hill opposite Pagoda Hill and within the perimeter of White City. Aspire Defence at Warminster designed the memorial and their drawings are with the MHT (see attached). Communication is difficult with the MHT (their English is limited) but we have been assured that the plinth (with the plaque fixed) will be ready by the 17th March. It’s now in their hands and, if their enthusiasm is any measure, it will be completed in time!
77th Brigade, through the British Defence Attache in Yangon, is awaiting permission from the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct a brief service of dedication of the memorial and we are confident that permission will be obtained, though perhaps at the eleventh hour.
Finally, the appeal has raised over £4,800 which is in excess of the estimated cost of the memorial. The cost of the plaque is £1,800 delivered to Mandalay. The cost of the plinth should be no more than £1,000. So in total the cost of this Chindits Memorial at White City should be no more that £3,000. Funds will be needed to reimburse the MHT who will organize regular maintenance of the memorial.
A number of donors have said that the memorial should include details of White City and Brigadier Calvert – he was of course key to the location, creation and operation of this very successful stronghold. As we have sufficient funds it is proposed that a second bronze plaque be cast and added to the memorial to commemorate White City. Chindit Bill Smyly has agreed to help in its design. We hope that donors will agree this is an appropriate addition to the memorial but if you have any thoughts or suggestions please email me.
A further update with some photos and a brief account of a successful ceremony at White City to follow in May 16.
1 Mar 16 – GBA BRIEFING DAY 20 FEB 16 – PRESENTATIONS
Please find attached a copy of the presentations given at the GBA Briefing Day on the 20th Feb 16 less the Col BG Presentation which is not for issue. I draw your attention to the Army Secretariat notes by Mr Mike Roberts which will be of interest.
1 Mar 16 – GURKHA WELFARE ADVICE CENTRE (GWAC) – NEWSLETTER FEB 16
1 Mar 16 – DRAWDOWN OF GURKHA 200 WEBSITE
In line with the reduction in G200 activity, the planned drawdown of our digital presence became effective as of today. The Gurkha 200 website, which has seen diminishing traffic, is now closed and forwarding has been set up to GWT’s Gurkha 200 page – an overview of the year’s key events with referrals to other pillars.
Following a period of referral to our various individual social media channels, Facebook and Twitter accounts have also been deactivated.