Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Another commemoration

It seems that barely a week goes by without there being some anniversary to be celebrated or event to be commemorated.  Although I doubt if anybody knows the exact date, this year sees the 200th anniversary of the Gurkhas joining the British army.

I have come across two slightly different versions of the story of how this came about, but, according to the BBC, "After suffering heavy casualties in the invasion of Nepal, the British East India Company signed a hasty peace deal in 1815, which also allowed it to recruit from the ranks of the former enemy.  Gurkhas - whose name comes from the Nepalese hill town of Gorkha - began joining the East India Company, and later the British army."

Gurkhas are famed as fierce fighters and have served in every major conflict during the past 200 years, winning no fewer than 13 Victoria Crosses, the highest British military decoration for valour.

Some 50 or so years ago, Brighton Lions Club revived the Brighton Carnival.  A major element was the procession which formed up in Hove and made its way along the seafront and up through the town to the park where the fair was held.  In its heyday, the procession comprised about 85 floats and several marching bands, two of which would be military bands.  Given the length of the parade, it is hardly surprising that gaps arose, much to the concern of the police.  The following year, the second military band was supplied by the Gurkhas.  The Gurkhas are part of the Light Brigade and march at 140 paces per minute.  I have thoughts of the floats in front of that band really cracking on the speed to avoid being trampled to death!

In this video clip, members of the Brigade of Gurkhas march from Wellington Barracks down the Mall to the Gurkha Statue where a memorial service was held to mark 200 years of service, . As they marched out of the barracks to Scotland the Brave, the Gurkha units were led by the Band, Pipes and Drums and the Queen’s Truncheon. 30th April 2015.

1 comment:

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Any faster and they'd be running.