Honorary Captain Shamsher Bohra, Sirdar Bahadur, MBE, OBI, MSM

Shamsher Bohra as King’s Gurkha Orderly Officer 1938

Shamsher Bohra came from a family of senior 2nd Goorkhas officers.  He was the grandson of Gopal Bohra, who had been Subedar Major of the 2nd Battalion from 1893-1896, the son of Man Sing Bohra, Subedar Major of the 2nd Battalion 1912-1914, who was killed in France, and elder brother of Hari Sing Bohra, also Subedar Major of the 2nd Battalion, from 1940-44, who was tortured to death while a prisoner of the Japanese in Malaya.

He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion in 1912 and served in France and Belgium from October 1914 to November 1915, where he was wounded.  He then went with them to Egypt until February 1916 before returning to India, serving on the North-West Frontier and in the 3rd Afghan War in 1919.

He was commissioned in 1919, promoted Subedar on 1 November 1924 and became Subedar Major of the Battalion on 1 November 1930, remaining in that post until 16 December 1934.  In 1935 he was appointed ADC to GOC Northern Command in India, and in 1938 was a King’s Gurkha Orderly Officer in the UK, following which he retired.

However, in November 1940 he returned to duty as Subedar Major of the Regimental Centre in Dehra Dun, remaining in post until 1 April 1943.  The Regimental History gave this account of the period, during which the Centre was having to expand rapidly to fulfil the demands for manpower of the Regiment’s five battalions:

‘This remarkable expansion would never have been possible but for the response of pensioned Gurkha officers and men on the outbreak of war.  They came flocking to the call and placed themselves unreservedly at the disposal of the Regiment.  Examples of loyalty and generosity abounded.  Honorary Captain Shamsher Bohra MBE OBI, the senior pensioned Gurkha officer and a man of substance in the Doon, placed his land at the disposal of the Regiment.  He likewise returned to duty as Subedar-Major during the early difficult days of the war.  When the Regimental Centre began to function he did much to reconcile the divergent interests of the regular battalions.  Throughout the dark days of Japanese successes in Malaya and Burma he communicated to many waverers in the Doon his unflinching faith in ultimate British victory.’


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