Royal Gurkha Rifles

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The Royal Gurkha Rifles
Royal Gurkha Rifles.JPG
Cap badge of the Royal Gurkha Rifles
Active 1 July 1994 – present
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Rifles
Role 1st Battalion: Light Infantry
2nd Battalion: Air Assault Infantry
Size Two battalions
Part of Brigade of Gurkhas
Garrison/HQ RHQ: Shorncliffe
1st Battalion: Shorncliffe
2nd Battalion: Seria, Brunei
Nickname(s) The Gurkhas / The Bravest of the Brave
Motto(s) कांथर हुनु भन्दा मर्नु राम्रो
"Kaatar Hunnu Bhanda Marnu Ramro" (Nepali)
"Better to die than to be a coward"
"Biar mati dari jadi pengecut" (Brunei Malay)
March Quick: Bravest of the Brave
Double Past: Keel Row
Slow (band): God Bless the Prince of Wales
Slow (pipes and drums): The Garb of Auld Gaul
Anniversaries Meiktila (1 March)
Medicina (16 April)
Regimental Birthday (1 July)
Gallipoli (7 August)
Delhi Day (14 September)
Colonel in Chief The Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
Brigadier G M Strickland DSO MBE
Tactical Recognition Flash Gurkha TRF.PNG
Tartan Douglas (pipers trews and plaids)
From 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles
Abbreviation RGR

The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) is a rifle regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. Unlike other regiments in the British army, soldiers are recruited from Nepal, which is neither a dependent territory of the United Kingdom nor a member of the Commonwealth, their motto is: Better to die than live a coward.


The regiment was formed as the sole Gurkha infantry regiment of the British Army following the consolidation of the four separate Gurkha regiments in 1994:[1]

The amalgamations took place as follows:

  • 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles; formed by the consolidation of the 1st Bn, 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles and 1st Bn, 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles.
  • 2nd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles; formed by renaming the 1st Bn, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles.
  • 3rd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles; formed by renaming the 1st Bn, 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles.

The 3rd Battalion was consolidated with the 2nd Battalion in 1996 as part of run down of British forces in Hong Kong.[2]

The Gurkhas in general and the direct predecessors of the Royal Gurkha Rifles in particular are considered by some to be among the finest infantrymen in the world, as is evidenced by the high regard they are held in for both their fighting skill, and their smartness of turnout on parade.[3]

In December 1995, Lieutenant-Colonel Bijaykumar Rawat became the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, the first Nepalese to become a battalion commander in the RGR, he oversaw the departure of the battalion from Hong Kong just before that city's transfer to Chinese control, and the battalion's relocation to Church Crookham, Hampshire in 1996.[4]

Twice during its most recent Brunei posting the 2nd Battalion was deployed as the Afghanistan Roulement Infantry Battalion, while the 1st Battalion deployed as part of 52 Infantry Brigade in late 2007. During this tour, Cornet Harry Wales (Prince Harry) was attached for a period to the 1st Battalion as a Forward Air Controller.[5]

Under Army 2020, the regiment was intended to provide two light role battalions, rotating between Brunei and the UK, with their higher unit as 11th Infantry Brigade.[6] However, in June 2015, the 2nd Battalion, then based in the UK, was reassigned to form part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, in the air assault infantry role.[7]


The two battalions of the RGR are formed as light role infantry.

The first battalion (1 RGR) is based at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone in Kent as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, and is available for deployment to most areas in Europe and Africa.[8]

The second battalion (2 RGR) is based at the British garrison in Brunei as part of Britain's commitment to maintaining a military presence in Southeast Asia.[9]

A post on the Gurkha Brigade website in August 2016 noted that the RGR will grow in personnel size in the future.[10]

Notable soldiers[edit]

Corporal Dip Prasad Pun of the 1st battalion (1 RGR) was awarded Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for an act of bravery during the War in Afghanistan in 2010. He alone defended his outpost against a force of up to 12 Taliban fighters, he fired more than 400 rounds, 17 grenades, and one mine. He even resorted to fighting with his machine gun tripod after his ammunition had run out.[11][12]

Battle honours[edit]

The battle honours of the Royal Gurkha Rifles are as follows:[13]

  • Amboor, Carnatic, Mysore 1792, Assaye 1803, Ava 1852, Burma 1885–87, Bhurtpore, Aliwal, Sobraon, Delhi 1857, Kabul 1879, Afghanistan 1878–80, Kandahar 1880, Tirah, Punjab Frontier, Afghanistan 1919
  • First World War: La Bassée 1914, Festubert 1914–15, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Loos, France and Flanders 1914–15, Egypt 1915, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1916–18, Persia 1918, Baluchistan 1918, Helles, Krithia, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915, Suez Canal, Egypt 1915–16, Khan Baghdadi, Mesopotamia 1916–18, Persia 1916–1918, North West Frontier India 1915–17, Egypt 1915, Megiddo, Sharon, Palestine 1918, Shaiba, Kut al Amara 1915–17, Ctesiphon, Defence of Kut al Amara, Baghdad, Sharqat, Mesopotamia 1915–18
  • The Second World War: Tobruk 1942, El Alamein, Akarit, Tunis, Cassino 1, Poggio Del Grillo, Gothic Line, Tavoleto, Coriano, Santacangelo, Monte Chicco, Bologna, Medicina, Italy 1944-45, Jitra, Slim River, Sittang 1942, 1945, Kyaukse 1942, 1945, North Arakan, Imphal, Tuitum, Bishenpur, Tengnoupal, Shwebo, Kyaukmyaung Bridgehead, Mandalay, Myinmu Bridgehead, Fort Dufferin, Meiktila, Irrawaddy, Rangoon Road, Chindits 1943,44 & 45, Tamandu, Maymyo
  • Falkland Islands 1982


The Royal Gurkha Rifles The 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) The Sirmoor Battalion
The 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles The Cuttack Legion
The 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles Assam Sebundy Corps
The 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles 14th Battalion of Coast Sepoys


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Serving Brigade of Gurkhas". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Regimental History". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  3. ^ The Gurkhas, Byron Farwell, W.W. Norton, 1984
  4. ^ "New Ideas: Gurkha Signals, Engineers & ‘British’ Officers". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Prince Harry made honorary Gurkha by fearsome warriors he served with in Afghanistan". Daily Mail. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Gurkhas from 2 Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles based at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone join army's 16 Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester". Kent Online. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Gurkhas from 2 Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles based at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone join army's 16 Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester". Kent on line. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "Royal Gurkha Rifles return home". 17 November 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Did you transfer out of the Brigade of Gurkhas?". Gurkha Brigade. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Outstanding Examples Of A Generation - The OP Honours Recipients". London. States News Service. March 25, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  12. ^ "The land of the brave". Kathmandu. The Kathmandu Post. April 1, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Battle Honours". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Parachute Regiment
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
The Rifles