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Hackney Gurkhas

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voltaire60

   This may prove useful reading for 10 Londons and 9 DLI:

 

51omajJ9MtL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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MBrockway
8 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

      The  pre-war years were years where there were royal tournaments, Earl's Court and the like. Whether there were Gurkhas at these affairs, I do not know- I have not yet tumbled over any reference of their being brought over to the UK as a particular crowd-puller. but if it's there, then shout out.(Found the New South Wales Lancers coming over-which should cheer a Mr. SB of Hampshire) but I cannot see the Gurkhas featuring at all, thus far.

 

 

A small contingent from the 3rd Gurkha Rifles appear to have taken part in the pageant of the 1901 Royal Tournament, which commemorated the inauguration of the Australia Commonwealth earlier in the year.  It seems the Guards, the KRRC and RB also took part and a large cross-section of the Infantry of the Line.

 

See The Times, Tue 28 May 1901, p.8

 

This is the only reference I've found at the Royal Tournament so far, but the press coverage is far from detailed.  Certainly the early tournaments in the 1880's seem to be dominated by Home Service units, militia and Volunteers, with very few units from Commonwealth/Imperial forces being represented.

 

The 1896 Royal Tournament had the theme of "Sons of Empire" and included representatives from the Indian, Canadian, Australian, Cape and Colonial forces.  Unfortunately I cannot find anything written giving comprehensive detail of the units participating.

 

There was a plate by Frank Dadd published in either The Graphic or the ILN, showing the procession with unit annotations in the margin.  If you have a BNA account (I don't), you should be able to find this.  The tournament ran 28 May to 11 Jun 1896.

 

Best I could turn up was these crops of the left and centre of the plate from a commercial gallery, but the main Indian Army contingent is in the missing right hand panel, so unable to ascertain if gurkha were present.

 

1395677756-sons_of_the_empire_2.jpg.1395677781-sons_of_the_empire_3.jpg

 

 

 

Mark

 

Edited by MBrockway

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Steven Broomfield

If it's of any relevance, there must almost certainly have been Gurkhas at the Diamond Jubilee, and the Gordon Highlanders had cemented a relationship with Gurkhas on the Dargai Heights. I suspect the popular perception of Gurkhas predates the GW by some years.

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QGE

Martial Races: The Military Race and Masculinity in British Imperial Culture 1857-1914

 

Martial Races.JPG

 

"This book explores how and why Scottish Highlanders, Punjabi Sikhs, and Nepalese Gurkhas became identified as the British Empire's fiercest, most manly soldiers in nineteenth century discourse. As 'martial races' these men were believed to possess a biological or cultural disposition to the racial and masculine qualities necessary for the arts of war. Because of this, they were used as icons to promote recruitment in British and Indian armies - a phenomenon with important social and political effects in India, in Britain, and in the armies of the Empire. Martial races bridges regional studies of South Asia and Britain while straddling the fields of racial theory, masculinity, imperialism, identity politics, and military studies. It challenges the marginalisation of the British Army in histories of Victorian popular culture, and demonstrates the army's enduring impact on the regional cultures of the Highlands, the Punjab and Nepal. This unique study will make fascinating reading for higher level students and experts in imperial history, military history and gender history."

Edited by QGE

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johnboy

any mention of Hackney?

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voltaire60
54 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

If it's of any relevance, there must almost certainly have been Gurkhas at the Diamond Jubilee, and the Gordon Highlanders had cemented a relationship with Gurkhas on the Dargai Heights. I suspect the popular perception of Gurkhas predates the GW by some years.

 

   Yes-Gurkhas in 1897.     Put an oblique reference to this elsewhere-which may be of interest (though neither Hackney,nor Gurkhas- just cavalry/horsey)

 

LONDON PAPERS in AUSTRALIAN STUDIES No. 1 Replacing Working Papers in Australian Studies The New South Wales Lancers in England and South Africa, 1899: an episode in imperial federation Craig Wilcox

   Can be downloaded for free from the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies website, at King's College,London-click on link in "Publications"

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MBrockway
1 hour ago, Steven Broomfield said:

If it's of any relevance, there must almost certainly have been Gurkhas at the Diamond Jubilee, and the Gordon Highlanders had cemented a relationship with Gurkhas on the Dargai Heights. I suspect the popular perception of Gurkhas predates the GW by some years.

 

It looks like the gurkhas were not in fact represented at the Diamond Jubilee procession :(

 

The Indian Army contingent immediately preceded Her Majesty's carriage ...

59ac3cfcae87b_DiamondJubileeProcession-04.jpg.477932c56b6167694df7c1f40798eb31.jpg

© Times Newspapers Limited - The Times, Monday, Jun 21, 1897; pg. 17

 

 ... but, as can be seen, was all cavalry.  An explanation of this is here ...

 

59ac3d51642c2_DiamondJubileeProcession-02.jpg.528a6f1960f25289981aec25f1bb5c0c.jpg59ac3d5288203_DiamondJubileeProcession-03.jpg.e65e2e1d8f4afe1d7eb94993e484a551.jpg

© Times Newspapers Limited - The Times, Saturday, Jun 19, 1897; pg. 12

 

Also in the procession was the Colonial Contingent, graced by the Band of the London Scottish ...

 

59ac3e591534b_DiamondJubileeProcession-01.jpg.532f796aefdc502b31de8a771f999469.jpg

© Times Newspapers Limited - The Times, Friday, Jun 11, 1897; pg. 8

 

However the 'Colonial Infantry' mentioned here were units from Hong Kong, Singapore, Ceylon, the West Indies, and West Africa.

 

It would probably be worth checking the coronation reports - certainly a good chance they were represented there ... but I'll leave that for someone else!

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

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keithmroberts

I have removed a number of posts that were  a distraction from the subject of this topic.

 

Keith Roberts

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MBrockway
15 hours ago, MBrockway said:

The 1896 Royal Tournament had the theme of "Sons of the Empire" and included representatives from the Indian, Canadian, Australian, Cape and Colonial forces.  Unfortunately I cannot find anything written giving comprehensive detail of the units participating.

 

There was a plate by Frank Dadd published in either The Graphic or the ILN, showing the procession with unit annotations in the margin.  If you have a BNA account (I don't), you should be able to find this.  The tournament ran 28 May to 11 Jun 1896.

 

Best I could turn up was these crops of the left and centre of the plate from a commercial gallery, but the main Indian Army contingent is in the missing right hand panel, so unable to ascertain if gurkha were present.

 

1395677756-sons_of_the_empire_2.jpg.1395677781-sons_of_the_empire_3.jpg

Mark

 

I'm now reasonably confident the Frank Dadd plate was in The Graphic, since the Illustrated London News ran with this picture by S. Begg ...

59ad016ac2019_RoyalTournament1896SonsoftheEmpirePageant(SBegg)IllustratedLondonNews.jpg.5a462f3cc56eaa8de8b404ca880461a8.jpg

It shows the Royal Navy Colour Party entering the arena with the rest of the pageant procession already formed up.  Dadd's image has the procession in progress with the RN party and Union flag visible at the tail in the top left corner. 

 

Unfortunately, again it is impossible to confirm the units.

 

If any Pal has access to a set of the The Graphic, I'd be very interested in seeing the missing section!

 

The eagle-eyed Pals scanning the Dadd plate may have spotted The Rifle Brigade - the rank who have just rounded the bend in the bottom left corner - and boys from a Cadet Battalion, KRRC - the second rank ahead of the start of the Indian cavalry - with the London Rifle Brigade two ranks ahead of them.

 

Mark

 

Edited by MBrockway

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MBrockway
20 hours ago, QGE said:

Martial Races: The Military Race and Masculinity in British Imperial Culture 1857-1914

 

Martial Races.JPG

 

"This book explores how and why Scottish Highlanders, Punjabi Sikhs, and Nepalese Gurkhas became identified as the British Empire's fiercest, most manly soldiers in nineteenth century discourse. As 'martial races' these men were believed to possess a biological or cultural disposition to the racial and masculine qualities necessary for the arts of war. Because of this, they were used as icons to promote recruitment in British and Indian armies - a phenomenon with important social and political effects in India, in Britain, and in the armies of the Empire. Martial races bridges regional studies of South Asia and Britain while straddling the fields of racial theory, masculinity, imperialism, identity politics, and military studies. It challenges the marginalisation of the British Army in histories of Victorian popular culture, and demonstrates the army's enduring impact on the regional cultures of the Highlands, the Punjab and Nepal. This unique study will make fascinating reading for higher level students and experts in imperial history, military history and gender history."

 

See Post #43 higher up - and still on my Amazon Wishlist - thanks for the reminder :thumbsup:

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QGE

Edward the VII had representatives of the Indian Army including six "King's Indian Orderly Officers" at his Coronation in 1902 and immediately after initiated the King's Orderly Officers (reduced to four) whose presence at court on ceremonial occasions would be one of the few consistent images of Indian (and Gurkha) uniforms in the public eye.

 

 

 

 

 

When Edward VII died two (of the four) King's Indian Orderly Officers were Gurkhas who took turns in standing guard over his body ahead of the funeral. The four Officers had to represent the Indian Army at the funeral and three left to make preparations leaving just one (a Gurkha Officer) to stand the lonely vigil for many hours without relief. This episode was used by Rudyard Kipling's  story "In the Presence" first published in 1912 in two popular magazines*. 

 

* A critique by the Kipling Society here click

 

 

Note the publication of this was just a year after the formation of the 10th Bn London Regt (Hackney)

 

Separately, in the same year an illustrated book "The Armies of India" was published which my have provided the public with some idea of Gurkha uniforms and some of their history. The artist A C Lovett was in 1914 the CO of the 1st Bn Gloucestershire Regiment at Mons (later a Brigadier).The images include one of Subadar Major Santbir Gurung 2/2nd King Edward's Own Goorkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Regiment) who was the Officer who stood the lonely vigil see below. He is described as King Edward VII's last Indian Orderly Officer.

 

The text provides some details on Gurkhas (starting page 162 proper or page 392 of the online version) as well as a number of images. The coincidence in timing of this book and Kipling's "in the Presence" is part of a long history of the media's positioning of certain martial classes of the Indian Army in the minds of the British public. Kipling's "The Man Who would be King" mentions Gurkhas and their interaction with British soldiers (Highlanders) as well as the Drums of the Fore and Aft (illustrated and published in 1896)

which is based on real life events in the Second Afghan War when the 59th Foot broke and the line was restored by Gurkhas and Sikhs. 

 

I would argue that public awareness of the Gurkhas and their martial qualities was reasonably well understood in the late Victorian and Edwardian period. I would not be surprised if the popular illustrated periodicals of the time would have helped promote perceptions. During the War propagandist publications such as the War Illustrated would have reinforced these ideas. 

 

Martin

 

 

 

Vigil.JPG

Edited by QGE

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QGE

A few Indian Army unit dairies record being filmed for Govt propaganda purposes while on the Western Front. The 1/1st KEO Gurkha Rifles war diary

 

26th Jul 1915. Monday.

As above. The following scenes were cinematographed by the Government of India Representatives:-

 

1.  Two Companies marching along the road bound for the trenches

2.  A bombing party bombing up a trench

3.  Digging a fire trench.

 

27th Jul 1915. Tuesday.

As above.  New draft of two British officers, 2 Gurkha officers and 150 men inspected by Sir JAMES WILLCOCKS, Corps Commander.

 

28th Jul 1915. Wednesday.

As above.

 

 29th Jul 1915. Thursday.

As above. An attack on a trench carried out by the Battalion and Cinematographed by the Government of India Representatives. Battalion inspected by Sir JAMES WILLCOCKS who congratulated them on their smart and fit appearance.

 

Is suspect that this later film of the Indian Army on the Western Front (made in Nov Dec 1915) and shown in Jan 1916 in the UK may have raised awareness of the Indian Army in general and its participation in the War on the Western Front.  The blurb below the film is interesting reading. 2 mins 1 seconds in, Gurkhas are shown sharpening their kukris.

 

Click

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QGE

Of possible relevance: on 1st Sep 1915 the 29th Indian infantry Brigade came under the command of Gen Inglefiled, GOC 54th (Est Anglian) Div at Gallipoli.

 

The 10th Londons were part of the 54th Div and four Gurkha Battalions formed most of the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade (1/4th GR, 1/5th GR, 1/6th GR and 2/10th GR along with the 14th Sikhs). The diary of the 1/4th Northants (same brigade as 10th Londons) records being relieved by Gurkha battalions. Given their close proximity and the fact that they were under the same command from 1st Sep 1915 to end Nov 1915 when the 54th Div departed, this would be the first time when the 10th Londons would have operated in close contact with the Gurkha Rifles. The 10th London's diary is largely missing.

 

The Indian Brigade and Gurkha Rifle battalion war diaries invariably describe the British battalions as units of 54th Div rather than name them by Regiment.

 

Separately one of the features at Gallipoli was called Hackney Wick. 

Edited by QGE

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MBrockway
On 04/09/2017 at 15:07, QGE said:

Kipling's "The Man Who would be King" mentions Gurkhas and their interaction with British soldiers (Highlanders) as well as the Drums of the Fore and Aft (illustrated and published in 1896) which is based on real life events in the Second Afghan War when the 59th Foot broke and the line was restored by Gurkhas and Sikhs. 

 

 

Just got down my copy of Wee Willie Winkie and I cannot find any mention of gurkhas nor Highlanders in The Man Who Would Be King.  Both do feature centrally in The Drums of the Fore and Aft however.

 

Also both stories were originally collected and published in 1888.

 

Thanks for the reminder of these excellent stories though - I'm off to a remote cottage in Argyll this week for our summer hols: no TV, no Internet, no cellphone signal and the radio only picks up RTE!  A couple of volumes of Kipling will be the very dab for relaxing in the evenings!

 

Mark

 

Edited by MBrockway

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QGE
1 hour ago, MBrockway said:

 

Just got down my copy of Wee Willie Winkie and I cannot find any mention of gurkhas nor Highlanders in The Man Who Would Be King.  Both do feature centrally in The Drums of the Fore and Aft however.

 

Also both stories were originally published in 1888.

 

Thanks for the reminder of these excellent stories though - I'm off to a remote cottage in Argyll this week for our summer hols: no TV, no Internet, no cellphone signal and the radio only picks up RTE!  A couple of volumes of Kipling will be the very dab for relaxing in the evenings!

 

Mark

 

 

His short stories were bound together under the catch-all title "The Man Who Would be King: Selected Stories of Rudyard Kipling" which is confusing (I have the ebook which is free on Kindle Unlimited and simply searched "Gurkha").. It includes Fore and Aft among many others. Regardless, Kipling was an extremely popular author and played no small part in positioning the so-called martial martial races of the Indian Army in the minds of the British public. I strongly suspect the Hackney Gurkhas would have been familiar with his work. 

 

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LL64ZxkWsvAC&pg=PT297&lpg=PT297&dq=Rudyard+Kipling+gurkha&source=bl&ots=hNWun4qE0t&sig=PhIN-s8S5ecH5mYn9pMP0DN91fE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwijvo24vo7WAhWHalAKHVVoDp0Q6AEIWDAM#v=onepage&q=Rudyard Kipling gurkha&f=false

Edited by QGE

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spof
On 2017/08/03 at 07:57, QGE said:

Contrast this with one of the Australian Battalions at Gallipoli known by others (British) units as the "White Gurkhas". In this case the aggrandised title was not self-selected but ascribed by their peers. A very different construct. 

 

It wasn't just the Australians who were "awarded" that tile. I just found this in the Gale British Newspaper Collection from The Evening Telegraph and Post (Dundee, Scotland) 1 September 1915

 

White Gurkhas - 7th Scottish Rifles.pdf

 

And a search for "hackney gurkhas" returns only 1 hit and that is a brief biography of the stage actor H Brotherton Rivers in the Derby Daily Telegraph 13 June 1928

 

Like a lot more of us, Brotherton joined the army thinking the war would only
last about six months, and was kept on active service for over three years. He was one of the 1-10th Londons whose honorary colonel was Horatio Bottemley. The "mob" was known as the "Hackney Gurkhas", but in it Brotherton had a stroke of bad luck. During action he lost his glasses without whih he cannot see clearly. Shortly afterwards a comrade came up with a pair of Turkish specatcles which he had found. The rims were very rusty and there wasa only one lens. Fortunately it suited the vision and made the shooting sight effective.

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MBrockway

 

 

On 04/09/2017 at 08:34, MBrockway said:

 

I'm now reasonably confident the Frank Dadd plate was in The Graphic, since the Illustrated London News ran with this picture by S. Begg ...

 

If any Pal has access to a set of the The Graphic, I'd be very interested in seeing the missing section!

 

 

Mark

 

 

After some admirable sleuthing, Glen has turned up the missing right hand section of Frank Dadd's picture.  Unfortunately as a middling quality black and white version, but I'm now able to build a composite that gives an idea of the complete plate at least ...

 

59af5eb293a99_RoyalTournament1896SonsoftheEmpirePageant(FrankDadd)-01aleftpanel.jpg.9f2f8f9921bf3aaec2ea34c24eaba9df.jpg59af54f380be2_RoyalTournament1896SonsoftheEmpirePageant(FrankDadd)-02centrepanel.jpg.e1fa3a95d86a6b233d57c56e0ccb5291.jpg59af54f74ab52_RoyalTournament1896SonsoftheEmpirePageant(FrankDadd)-03rightpanel.jpg.00ca936caea76c84b1f29b0a5637baac.jpg

 

The plate was in The Graphic in the 13 June 1896 edition.

 

By squeezing it down for the composite, it's too small to see the detail, but on Glen's original the Indian Army infantry contingent does indeed include a single rank of gurkhas!

 

The annotation is a bit blurred but it says 5th (or possibly 8th) Gurkha (Rifle) Regt., Punjab Frontier Force.

 

This close-up is the best I can do ...

59af588a6e31c_GurkhaRegtin1896RoyalTournamentpageant.jpg.d511910ca012af1c708f650a77ae2fcd.jpg     59af5ce4440a4_GurkhaRegtin1896RoyalTournamentpageant02.jpg.3a745b124baa8c062ec0a9a7a978d453.jpg

Apologies that he looks more like John Lennon than a well-turned out Gurkha!

 

I think he is wearing a pillbox hat and the rest of the shape is the headgear of a man in the rank behind him.  The gurkha rank is noticeably shorter than the rest of the Indian infantry contingent.

 

Glen: huge and public thanks for chasing this down for me!  Much appreciated.

 

Mark

 

 

 

Edited by MBrockway
Additional close-up added & overlap corrected

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QGE

It will be the 5th Gurkha Rifles (FF) ...they were the only Gurkha Regiment that was designated the Punjab Frontier Force...later simply the Frontier Force. Incidentally its 1st Battalion fought at Gallipoli as part of the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade under the command of GOC 54th (East Anglian) Div, alongside the 10th Bn London Regt (Hackney)

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MBrockway

Just found this while researching the VTC and it's certainly germane to our topic ...

Quote

Rushden Echo, 25th May 1917

 

Rushden “Gurkha” in France - Private F D Harris – the V.T.C.

 

Pte. F. D. (“Trotter”) Harris (Rushden), of the Army Veterinary Corps, a former member of the Rushden Company 2nd Battalion Northants Volunteers, in the course of a letter to Corporal B. Tomkins, of the “Rushden Echo” staff writes:-

“I have had 15 weeks of it now, and seven weeks I have been in France. I often wonder how the old “Gurkhas” are going on. I spent many happy hours with you and the other boys, and hope it won’t be long before I spend a few more. I am pleased to say I am keeping well and in good spirits. Please remember me to all the boys of the old brigade, not forgetting the fine old veteran, Lieut. G. R. Turner. Will you let me know how things are going with the V.T.C.?  I was reading the “Rushden Echo” last night, and thought I would drop you a line. I shall be pleased to have a line from you or any of the boys. Wishing the V.T.C. the best of luck, also your most welcome paper, with all the Rushden news, which I look forward to every week.”

 

Source:  http://www.rushdenheritage.co.uk/war/volunteertrainingcorps1915.html

 

The brigade referred to, is almost certainly the Northamptonshire Volunteer Brigade of the VTC.

 

Looks like even the 'Gorgeous Wrecks' could be nicknamed gurkhas!

 

Perhaps someone with access to the Northants or BL newspaper archives could chase up the actual copy?

 

Mark

 

 

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johnboy

Nice find.

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