Surrey History Centre holds the vast archive of The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment and its predecessors, which spans four centuries and occupies 45 metres of shelving in the archive strongrooms.
The regiments served all over the world, in China, India, Africa, and the Far East. Through battalion war diaries and private journals, official photograph albums and snaps taken by wide-eyed soldiers, thousands of stories are revealed documenting heroism and disaster, imperial heyday and decline, the trenches on the Western Front, the deserts of the Middle East and the jungles of Burma.
For over 200 years Gurkhas have been a part of Britain’s armed forces. Gurkhas originated from the hill villages of Nepal where they were a proud warrior nation. The British fought them at the height of Empire building during the 1800s, and realising their potential, put them in uniform and eventually made them part of the British Army. Gurkhas became renowned as tough, dedicated soldiers, fearless in the face of the enemy and they have a reputation for frontline fighting all over the world. 13 Victoria Crosses have been awarded to the Gurkhas to date and 13 to their British Army officers. Three are on display at The Gurkha Museum, Winchester. http://www.thegurkhamuseum.co.uk/
The Kukari, the traditional Gurkha knife, is the traditional symbol of the Gurka Regiment.
These images of Gurkhas come mainly from the East Surrey Regiment albums. Some are captioned but can you help Surrey History Centre identify them further?
1) Photograph album of the 6th Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, of British and Gurkha soldiers and local inhabitants, 1916-1918 (SHC ref: ESR/10/12/5)
2) Photograph album of inhabitants and views of India, now Pakistan and Pakistan North West Frontier, with Indian and Gurkha soldiers, 1928. Compiled at Rawalpindi, North West Frontier, by J Wood in March 1928 (SHC ref: ESR/25/WOODJ/4)
3) Photograph album of the 1st Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, with inhabitants and views of India and Pakistan, including the 2/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles at Abbottabad, North West Frontier. c.1928 (SHC ref: ESR/25/WOODJ/7)
4) Photograph album entitled ‘1/6 Battalion Surreys, India and Aden, 1916-1919’. Includes individuals and groups of British and Gurkha soldiers, views of people and views of Aden and India, 1916-1919 (SHC ref: ESR/10/12/6)
5) Photograph album, 2nd Battalion, Colours of the 70th Regiment, parades, views of Burma, including inhabitants and Military State Police, c.1911 (SHC ref: ESR/3/13/11)
6) Photograph album of 1/5th Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, and groups, individual soldiers, views and inhabitants of Egypt, India, Pakistan, the North West Frontier, 1914-1918
7) Photograph album relating to 1st Battalion, 1928-1946, compiled by R J Watson and presented to Cpl H Amor upon his leaving the East Surrey Regiment (SHC ref: ESR/2/13/17)
Letters from Padam Singh of 1/5 Royal Gurkha Regiment to Mr J Wood, dated Christmas Day, Dec 1928 and 9th March 1930. (SHC ref: ESR/25/WOODJ/8, loose). Click on the images to see larger, PDF copies.
Article from the Sunday Express newspaper dated 13/2/1983 advertising the book Britain’s Brigade of Gurkas and picturing Cpl Limbo receiving his VC for rescuing two wounded comrades under fire in Borneo, 1965. (SHC ref: ESR/25/WOODJ/8, loose). Click on the image to see a larger, PDF copy.
Click here to read more about the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment.
Click here to read a summary of the arrangement of the records of the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment held at the Surrey History Centre.
Click here to see the research guide (pdf) “Tracing military records at Surrey History Centre“.
For a history of the Gurkhas and the British Army see www.army.mod.uk/gurkhas/27856.aspx
Woking Nepalese Community website: www.nepalisamajuk.com
Brecon Museums online Gurkha gallery includes some WW2 images.