Major Maniprasad Rai as a boy soldier, aged 10 in Malaya. Major Rai was one of the first Gukhas to become a commissioned British Officer.

Major Maniprasad Rai as a boy soldier, aged 10 in Malaya. Major Rai was one of the first Gukhas to become a commissioned British Officer c/o Major M.P. Rai

The 1950s saw many changes and developments in the Brigade of Gurkhas. One was the formation of the Gurkha Signals, Gurkha Engineers and the Gurkha Army Service Corps: all of which deployed Gurkhas in new areas: communications, engineering and logistics - requiring new skills and higher than ever standards of training and education. Another initiative was the training of a few Gurkha 'line boys' - young men who had grown up in the Gurkha 'family lines' accommodation - for entry into Sandhurst Military Academy.

Sandhurst is the 'British Army officer initial training centre' and the young Gurkhas who graduated from there became 'British' officers: equal in rank and status to their British colleagues - something that Gurkhas had never before achieved. Very few Gurkhas were given the opportunity to enter Sandhurst and to date only two have reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel: Lieutenant Colonel Lal Bahadur Pun and Lieutenant Colonel Bijay Kumar Rawat. Another scheme resulted in a selection of young Gurkha women being sent to UK hospitals to train as nurses in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC). Many of the Gurkha 'British' Officers went on to marry women from the QARANCS. [The producer of the Ayo Gorkhali project is the son of a Sandhurst-trained British Officer and a QARANC nurse.]

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Comments (4)
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Era 3: Last Days of the Raj


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