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4 Gorkha Rifles
File:4 Gorkha Rifles.png

1857 – Present

 India 1947-Present
Branch Army
Type Rifles
Role Light Infantry
Size Five battalions
Regimental Centre Bakloh, Dharamshala, Chakrata. Presently, Subathu, Himachal Pradesh
Patron Colonel of the Regiment Lt Gen CA Krishnan, AVSM
Motto(s) Kafar Hunu Bhanda Marnu Ramro (Better to die than live like a coward)
Colors Rifle Green; faced black and Red
March 'Barde Jaun' (Onwards..Advance.. Sons of Balla Bhadra
War Cry - Jai Maha Kali, Ayo Gorkhali (Hail, Goddess Kali, The Gorkhas are here)
Anniversaries Regimental Day- 11 March

1858-1946:Victoria Cross1, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire 1, Distinguished Service Order 10, Order of the British Empire 1, Bar to DSO 1, Military Cross 24, 1 Bar to MC, 1 MBE, 1 French Legion of Honour, 96 Mention in Despatches, 9 Order of British India,15 Indian Order of Merit, 6 IDM, 42 Indian Distinguished Service Medal, 1 Croix De Guerre, 11 Medialle Militaire, 1 Bronze Medal for Military Valour, 1 Medal of Saint George, 2 Star of Nepal

1947- Present:3 Param Vishisht Seva Medal, 1 Maha Vir Chakra, 1 Kirti Chakra, 3 Ati Vishishtha Seva Medal, 5 Vir Chakra, 2 Shaurya Chakra, 1 Yudh Seva Medal, 24 Sena Medals, 6 Vishishtha Seva Medals,9 Mention in Dispatches, 40 Commendation cards.
Battle honours

1866-1914:Ali Masjid, Kabul 1879 and Kandahar 1880, Afghanistan 1878–80, Chitral Campaign, Waziristan Campaign 1895, Tirah Campaign, Punjab Frontier, Boxer Rebellion,China 1900[1]

World War 1:[1] Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Ypres 1915, St. Julien, Aubers, Festubert 1915, France and Flanders 1914–15, Egypt 1916, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1916–18, Gallipoli 1915, N.W. Frontier India 1917, Baluchistan 1918. 1919-39:Afghanistan 1919. World War 2[1] Iraq 1941, Syria 1941, The Cauldron, North Africa 1940–43, Trestina, Monte Cedrone, Italy 1943–45 Burma 1942–45, Pegu 1942, Chindits 1944, Bishenpur, Shwebo, Mandalay.

1947-Present: Punch, Gurais and Bilafond La

Theatre Honours: Punjab 1965, Jammu and Kashmir 1971
Regimental Insignia A pair of crossed Khukris with the Roman numeral IV below,and Ashoka on top.
Tartan Government (1st Bn pipers plaids and pipe bags)
Mackenzie HLI (2nd Bn pipers plaids and pipe bags)

The 4 Gorkha Rifles(GR), abbreviated as 4 GR, is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It was raised in 1857 as part of the British Indian Army. In 1947, after India's independence, 4 GR along with the 1 GR, 3 GR, 5 GR, 8 GR, and 9 GR, remained with the Indian Army. Four Gorkha Regiments, 2, 6, 7, and 10 GR were transferred on 1 January 1948 to the British army. These regiments, much shriveled, in 1994 were amalgamated to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles.[2]

4th Gorkha Rifles has five infantry battalions. These are designated sequentially, in the order of raising, as 1/4 GR, 2/4 GR, 3/4 GR, 4/4 GR, and 5/4 GR. The regiment, in its first 90 years since its raising, saw action in wars in Africa, Europe, and Asia, including in the Second Afghan War, the Boxer Rebellion (China), World War 1, and World War 2.

Since 1947, the regiment has seen action in Pakistan prompted wars and armed clashes in 1947-48, 1965, 1971, 1987, and 1999, and in China's war on India, from bases in Tibet, in 1962 . It has also been deployed on Counter Insurgency and internal security tasks in various parts of India. The Regiments Second battalion (2/4 GR), in 1998-99, was deployed in UN Peace Keeping Mission, in Lebanon, as part of UNFIL, in area Ibl-al-Saqi along the Israel - Lebanon border in the Golan heights.[3]


In 1857, in the wake of the 1857 rebellion, an Extra Goorkha Regiment, was raised at Pithoragarh, (UP), as part of the old Indian army, and was briefly known as 19th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry. Following the decision in 1861, to number the Goorkha Regiments sequentially, in order of raising, the Regiment was designated as the 4th Goorkha Regiment. In 1924, the regiment was honored with Royal connection; it become the 4th Prince of Wale's Own(PWO) Gurkha Rifles, and Edward Albert, the Prince of Wales, later the love lorn King Edward VIII, was appointed as Colonel-in-Chief. In 1950, after India become a republic, the appellation PWO was discarded.

In 1866, the then Government acquired Bakloh, as Goorkha Cantonment for the 4th Goorkha Regiment and Balun, Dalhousie Cantonment,as cantonment for British troops, along with a sliver of territory to connect the two cantonments, from the Raja of Chamba for a sum of rupees 5000/. Bakloh, a hill station, remained the home, and the Regimental Center and Depot, of the 4th Gurkha Rifles, for 82 years, from 1866 to 1948.[4][5]


Between 1857 and 1914, the regiment saw action in small wars, on India's N E, in the Lushai Hills, present day Mizoram, and along India's North-West Frontier, including during the Second Afghan War. In 1900 the Regiment formed part of the Expeditionary Force deployed to China in response to the Boxer Rebellion.

In 1903, in Somalia, during the Third Somaliland Campaign, Captain William George Walker, a Regimental officer, on deputation with Somali Camel Corps, became the first person from the regiment to be awarded the Victoria Cross, for risking his life to save the life of another officer.[6]

World War 1

Soon after the start of World War 1, the 1st Battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles(1/4 GR), was deployed to France, as part of Sirhind Brigade, the 3rd (Lahore) Division, Indian Corps, to form part of Indian Expeditionary Force A, to reinforce British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France. The orbat of Sirhind Brigade, included two British infantry battalions, and two Indian Battalions, the 1/1st Gurkha Rifles and 1/4th Gurkha Rifles. The battalion arrived at Marseilles from Egypt on 30 November, and was hurriedly deployed to the front in December 1914.[7] As a part of the Sirhind brigade, 1/4 GR GR saw action in the battles of Givenchy, Neuve Chapelle and Ypres, in France. In April 1916 the 3rd (Lahore) Division was deployed to Mesopotamia[8]

The 2nd Battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles(2/4) saw service in Mesopotamia, present day Iraq.

3rd Battalion, 4th Gurkha Rifles (3/4 GR), was ordered to be raised during the war; but due to a clerical error the 4th Battalion, 3rd Gurkha Rifles(4/3) was raised. 3/4 GR was eventual raised in World war 2, in Bakloh, on 1 October 1940.[9]

World War 2

In World War 2, the Regiment saw action in the Middle East, North Africa, Italy, India's border areas in Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram, and the Far East.

Burma Campaign

1st Battalion(1/4 GR), in the Burma Campaign saw action, as part of 48 Infantry Brigade, 7 Indian Infantry Division, in the Battle of Sittang Bridge, in February 1942, and the retreat into India, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel "Joe" Lentaigne, who succeeded Major General Orde Wingate after he was killed in an air crash on 24 March 1944, as commander of the Chindits. In 1944, during the Battle of Imphal, the battalion suffered very high casualties.

Soon after its raising in October 1940, 3rd Battalion(3/4 GR) was deployed to the Burma front to form part of the 111th Indian Infantry Brigade, commanded by Brigadier W.D.A. Lentaigne, (succeeded later by Major John Masters) to participate famously in the Second Chindit Expedition, 1944, Operation Thursday.

The 4th Battalion the 4th Gurkha Rifles (4/4/GR) was raised in 1941. It distinguished itself in the storming of Mandalay Hill, Burma, in 1945.

Iraq, Syria, and Italy

The 2/4 GR saw service in Iraq and Syria. It was overrun by two Bersaglieri battalions of the Italian Trento Division storming the fortress of Mersa Matruh on 29 June 1942,[10] but was rebuilt and subsequently fought in the Italian Campaign.

Bugles and a Tiger

A prominent figure who was part of the 4th Gurkha Rifles during the thirties and the Second World War was the author John Masters, who participated in operations on the North West Frontier, in Iraq, the Second Chindit Operation, the capture of Mandalay and at one point commanded the 3rd Battalion of the regiment. His autobiographical books "Bugles and a Tiger" and "The Road past Mandalay" and "Pilgrim's Son" portray life in the Indian Army and the 4th Gurkha Rifles during this period.[11]

1947 Present

Customs, traditions, and regimental Arcane

The Regiment drills and standards are similar to British 'Greenjackets'. It marches 'quickstep' at 180 paces a minute, the only Indian Army regiment to do so. Commanders in 4th Gorkha Rifles, unlike other regiments in the Indian Army, but like some some British Rifle Regiments, wears (a plain Black) Lanyard attached to a whistle over the Jersey. The intention of this arrangement is to facilitate use of the whistle with the left hand to draw attention of the command, while leaving the right hand free to use the sword. The uniform and insignia are Spartan; the regiment prides itself on its simplicity and disregard for pomp and ceremony.'4 GR', in black metal, is worn as regimental signage on the shoulder straps by all ranks.

The official, and correct, spelling of 'gorkha', since February 1949, is Gorkha, and not Gurkha, as the British still choose to spell it.[12]

Regimental Day

The Regimental day of the 4th Gorkha Rifles is 11 March. It commemorates the 1st Battalion's action in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in France and the 2nd Battalion's entry into Baghdad (albeit in different years), during World War 1. On the occasion of the regimental day officers and men of the regiment exchange greeting, and meet over lunch or dinner. The main regimental day lunch for serving and retired officers is usually held at an officers mess, in Delhi cantonment. The luncheon is usually scheduled on the first holiday in the week of the regimental day(11 March). The Regimental day event is in addition to the annual luncheons hosted by the 14 Gorkha Training Centre, in October, for all 1 GR and 4 GR officers, and by the Gorkha Brigade, for officers of all the Gorkha Regiments, in February, in Delhi Cantonment. A report on the event is usually carried in the News Letter.[13] In 2011, the main regimental day lunch was held in Noida, the burgeoning city East of Delhi, across the river Yamuna, in Uttar Pradesh, which has large concentration of senior 4 GR retired officers. [10] Regimental day luncheons, on a smaller scale, are also organized in Pune, Mhow, and other towns. [13]

Regimental Centre: Bakloh to Sabathu

In the wake of the Partition of India, in 1947, the 4th Gorkha Rifles(GR) Regimental Center and Depot, was shifted from Bakloh, first to Dharamshala,the Centre of the 1st Gorkha Rifles, and then to Chakrata, and finally to Sabathu, Shimla Hills. In Sabathu the 4th Gorkha Rifles Centre was merged with the 1st Gorkha Rifles Centre to form the First and Fourth Gorkha Training Centre (14 GTC).[14][15]

Battalions of the regiment

First Battalion of the 4th Gorkha Rifles (1/4 GR), JETHI Paltan, was awarded the COAS Unit Citation in 2002, for its performance in counter terrorism operations in Kupwara district, Kashmir. The Battalion was commended for neutralizing 94 Foreign Terrorists, in Tangdhar, Panzgam and Lolab. The Battalion suffered two fatal casualties, Capt Anirban Bandhyopadhyay and Nb Sub Deb Bahadur Thapa. They were posthumously awarded the Sena Medal and the Kirti Chakra respectively.

Second Battalion of the 4th Gorkha Rifles(2/4 GR), Mainli Paltan, which was raised in Bakloh, in 1886, celebrated its 125 anniversary, or the Quasquicentennial anniversary, in Trivandrum, Kerala, 21–24 April 2011. The anniversary was attended amongst others by Major General BD Kale, former commanding officer of the battalion, and the President of the 4 GR Officer's Association.[16]

Third Battalion of the 4th Gorkha Rifles(3/4 GR), Chindits, Sainli Paltan, which was raised on 1 October 1940, has an enviable war record. It valiantly defended Bilafond La, at heights of nearly 20,000 feet (6,100 m), against Pakistan attacks, in 1987.

Forth Battalion of the 4th Gorkha Rifles(4/4 GR), the Kainli Paltan, also called Phor Phor, which was raised in November 1962, following the Chinese Invasion, celebrated its golden jubilee at Dera Baba Nanak(DBN), Punjab, on 22–25 November 2011.[17]

The 5th Battalion the 4th Gorkha Rifles, 5/4 GR, the kannchi Paltan, was raised by Lt Colonel Ranjit Singh Chandel, formerly of 1/4 GR, on 1 January 1963, in the wake of the Chinese Invasion, at Ambala Cantonment, Haryana, the sprawling cantonment town, north of Delhi. 5/4 GR celebrated its Silver Jubilee in Naraina, Delhi Cantonmentin 1988. On 19–21 October 2012, the Battalion, celebrated its Golden Jubilee, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The Golden Jubilee program included: Wreath Laying, Guard of Honor, and Sainik Sammelan, Barakhana and wreath laying. Over 200 Bhu Puus (bhut purva or former Ex Servicemen, in Nepalese ), attended the jubilee with their wives, children, and grandchildren.[18]

Regimental Reunions

The 4th Gorkha Rifles organizes a Regimental reunion every four years, usually at Sabathu, the Regimental Centre of the First and 4th Gorkha Rifles. The Regimental centenary celebrations and reunion, was organized and hosted by 3/4 GR, in 1957, in Calcutta, West Bengal.[19]

Reunion, 1977

In 1977, the regimental reunion was held in Bakloh. It was hosted by 5/4 GR. The reunion was attended by large number of officers, Junior Commissioned officers(JCOs)s and men, including many Indian and British officers who had served in Bakloh, before the 4 GR Centre was shifted to Sabathu.[20]

Reunion, 2007

The Regiment celebrated its Sesquicentenary in 2007.

Reunion, 2011

The preparation and planning for Reunion, 2011, started in November 2010, a year before it was held on 27–29 November 2011. The planners of Reunion, 2011, had projected an attendance between 250-300, based on attendance at previous regimental reunions. Eventually Reunion, 2011, was attended by 773 all ranks, including 107 from Nepal, and 10 from the UK (including dependents).[21]

The program for Reunion, 2011, included informal lunch, 'Reception' dinner, a sit down continental Reunion Dinner, Subedar Major's dinner for Junior Commissioned Officer's and families, Guard of Honor,wreath laying at the regimental war memorial, Sainik Sammelan, display by the pipes and drums, Puja in the 14 GTC Mandir, Pagal Gymkhana, release of first day cover, book release, toasts to the Regiment, group photograph outside Kennedy House, reminiscence, regimental gossip, and speeches.

Amongst those who made speeches were Major General PS Paul, the Colonel of the Regiment, Maj General, (Retd) BD Kale, President of the Officers Association, Brigadier Arvind G Kundalkar, SM, Centre Commandant, and Geoffery Lloyd, representative of the British Officers Association.[21]

During the release of the book Regimental customs, and traditions, Lt General(Retd) Vijay Madan, an authority on regimental arcana, and former Colonel of the Regiment, inevitably, spotted errors of fact in the book. The offending error of fact was on page 114 of the book. The author of the Regimental Song was shown as Major (Retd) Nasir Hussain VSM, Officer in Charge of Military bands, in the Military Training Directorate of India, instead of Captain Babar Singh Thapa of 1/4 GR, the Battalion Madan had commanded. Major Nasir, the Madan pointed out, was not the author of the regimental song, but the music for the Regimental song which makes the song and music such compelling music. The Regimental Song, was first rendered by Mr Karan Sundaram, an accomplished Karnāṭaka vocalist, and musician, at the Regimental Centenary, organized by 3/4 GR in Calcutta, in 1957.[21]

The reunion was big success, "every event" as one participant in the Reunion noted, "was Suberb", "especially Symphony and Picnic!." Possibly because the reunion was so 'suberb', it was expensive. The 14 GTC, the chief organizer and host of Reunion, 2011, hope to defray expenses for the next reunion by seeking contribution from sponsors (and, may be, from those who attend).[22]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John Parker (28 February 2013). The Gurkhas. Headline. ISBN 978-1-4722-0260-4. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  2. http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/10th_Princess_Mary%27s_Own_Gurkha_Rifles
  3. Kesava Menon, Kesava (December 20, 2000). "Gorkhas stand tall even here". 
  4. Rose Hutchison (1 March 1998). Gazetteer of the Chamba State. Indus Publishing. ISBN 978-81-7387-041-5. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  6. Parker 2005, p. 392.
  7. "3rd (Lahore) Division," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 20, 2013).
  8. ibid
  9. A History of the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, 1857-[1948]. W. Blackwood. 1952. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  10. See
  11. John Masters (2002). Bugles and a Tiger: My Life in the Gurkhas. Cassell & Company. ISBN 978-0-304-36156-4. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  12. K. C. Praval (1990). Indian army after independence. Lancer International. p. 97. ISBN 978-81-7062-014-3. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS, ed. (2011). "Pot Pourri". Forth Gorkha Rifles Officer's Association, News Letter, India (in English, Hindi, and Nepali) 34: 165.
  14. Sodhi, Brigadier, Retired, Harinder Singh (2011). "Bakloh-New Look - Comments and Views". In Negi, Brigadier, Retired, RPS. Sabathu: 14 GTC. pp. 105–06. 
  15. Sodhi, Brigadier, Retired, Harinder Singh (2012). "At Bakloh on Commissioning". In Negi, Brigadier, Retired, RPS. Sabathu: 14 GTC. pp. 128–34. 
  16. Banerjee, Major, Sayan (2012). "Quasquicentennial celebrations: Second Battalion|". In Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS. Forth Gorkha Rifles Officer's Association, News Letter, India (in English, Hindi, and Nepali) 35: 13–29.
  17. Singh, Major, Abhishek (2012). "Forth Bn celebrates its Golden jubilee". In Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS. Forth Gorkha Rifles Officer's Association, News Letter, India (in English, Hindi, and Nepali) 35: 29–35.
  18. Mehta, Gp Capt. "Raising Day Golden Gorkhas". Sainik Samachar (New Delhi-110 011: Directorate of Public Relations, Ministry of Defence)
  19. Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS, ed. (2012). "4 GR Reunion". Forth Gorkha Rifles Officer's Association, News Letter, India (in English, Hindi, and Nepali) 35: 38–49
  20. Bowyer, Maj, Retd, Tony (2012). "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". pp. 50–58. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS, ed (2012). "4GR Reunion 2011" (in English, Hindi, and Nepali). pp. 44. 
  22. Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS, ed (2012). "4GR Reunion 2011" (in English, Hindi, and Nepali). pp. 49. 



  • Sodhi, H S, Brig(Retd). Gupta, Prem K, Brig(Retd). History of the 4the Gorkha Rifles,(Vol IV), 1947-1971 (Delhi,1985). The authors of 'History of the 4the Gorkha Rifles,(Vol IV)' are senior retired officers of the Regiment. It is a reliable, and much vetted, source on the contemporary history of the Regiment and its five battalions.
  • Macdonell, Ronald & Marcus Macauley, compliers. History of the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, 1857-1937, 1&2 vol. Illustrations by Lieutenant Colonel CG Borrowman. 1857-[1948] Edinburgh and London: William. Blackwood, 1940.[250 copies issued].
  • Mackay, Col, JN, compliers. History of the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, 1938-1948, vol III. Edited and Illustrated by Lieutenant Colonel CG Borrowman. London: William . Blackwood, 1952.[350 copies issued]. These are sentimental Raj regimental histories. Despite the motivated historicity of the three volume History of the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, these remain an excellent source on the history of Bakloh, the battalions of the Regiment, and on regimental life in the 4 Gorkha Rifles, from 1857 till 1948.
  • Parker, John. (2005). The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World's Most Feared Soldiers. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7553-1415-7.

Journals and News Letters

  • Negi, Brig (Retd), RPS. ed. Forth Gorkha Rifles Officer’s Association, News Letter, India. Number 1-35, (in English, Hindi, and Nepali).

The Forth Gorkha Officers Association, News letters, is published annually. It has articles and reports on the activities and achievements of the units of the Regiment. It also includes news of the 4 GR pensioners and the Gorkha Sabha, the representative body of 4GR and other pensioners, in Bakloh, and Dharamshala.

External links

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