The Regiment: 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles)
Historical Overview. The Regiment was raised as part of the Indian Army in 1815, after the Anglo-Nepal war, as ‘The Sirmoor Battalion’. In 1947, on the partition of India, it moved to the British Army where it remained until 1994, when it merged with the 3 other Gurkha infantry Regiments then in the British Army order of battle to become The Royal Gurkha Rifles. During these 179 years the Regiment took part in numerous campaigns worldwide. Please click on this link to read an abridged history of these. A pictorial history of the Regiment is available via the ‘Galleries’ link at the top of this page.
Battle Honours, Lineage, Medals. At various stages the Regiment had slightly different names and up to 5 battalions. Click here to read more details on its lineage. Click here to read a full list of battle honours and affiliations with other regiments, and here for an overview of its Campaign Medals & Badges. Gallantry resulted in the award of two Victoria Crosses: click here for details.
Colours and The Queen’s Truncheon. The Regiment originally had colours in the same way as any other line infantry regiment, but after its loyalty to the British crown and exceptional service during the Indian Mutiny it was awarded a special third colour by Queen Victoria, known as the Queen’s Truncheon. At the same time the 2nd Goorkhas (an archaic spelling used colloquially in the Regiment) was accorded the honour of becoming a Rifle Regiment and adopting many of the traditions and dress of the 60th Rifles, alongside which it had fought against the mutineers on the ridge at Delhi. As a Rifle Regiment it therefore no longer carried the usual 2 colours of a line infantry regiment, but continued to carry the Queen’s Truncheon. The Truncheon has always been a unique honour and is now carried on parade by The Royal Gurkha Rifles. For more details on the colours and Truncheon, please click here.
Regimental Marches and Bugle Calls. The 2nd Goorkhas also adopted the Regimental March of the 60th Rifles and as a Rifle Regiment used bugles to control routine in barracks and movement in the field. Click here to see a short history of Regimental Marches and Bugle Calls.
Regimental Colonels, Commandants and Gurkha Majors. The 2nd Goorkhas was privileged to have the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, as its Colonel-in-Chief from 1876 to 1910, King George V from 1911-1936 and Charles, Prince of Wales, from 1977 until 1994. Please click here for a list of Regimental Colonels, Commandants (= Commanding Officers) and Gurkha Majors.
The full history of the Regiment is set out in 4 volumes:
Volume 1, by Colonel L W Shakespear, first published in 1912 and covering 1815-1911.
Volume 2, by Colonel L W Shakespear, published in 1924 and covering 1911-1921.
Volume 3, by Lieutenant Colonel G R Stevens, published in 1952 and covering 1921-1948.
Volume 4, by Colonel D R Wood, published in 2003 and covering 1948-1994.
An interim history of the Regiment, ‘A Pride of Gurkhas’ by Harold James and Denis Sheil-Small, also covers the period 1948-1971.
Much further information can be found in the Regimental Journals (currently ‘The Sirmooree’ and ‘The Nepal Sirmooree’) as well as official documentation such as Army, formation and unit orders and diaries, many of which are held in the Gurkha Museum in Winchester, UK.