One of the most vicious battles ever fought by the Brits during World War I was on September 25, 1915 at Neuve Chapelle, France. There when troops withdrew from an unsuccessful assault on German trenches, three Gurkhas and one soldier of Leicestershire Regiment were inadvertently left behind on the wrong side of the No-Mans-Land.
While one of the Gurkha soldiers was only slightly wounded, the other three were not so fortunate. Ignoring their plea to withdraw and save himself, the Gurkha had got quietly busy dressing their wounds as best as he could.
He spent the rest of the night taking care of the wounded friends and at daybreak, carried two of his comrades, one by one, to the German Field Ambulance. When the Gurkha emerged from his trench for the third time carrying one more wounded friend the German soldiers now began to cheer him up and even clapped their hands in appreciation. But this time, he walked right across the No-Mans-Land back to his own side.
The German High Command, in recognition of that exemplary display of courage and self-sacrifice wrote a citation and offered to decorate the anonymous Gurkha. The Brits of course, would have nothing to do with German sentiments, but when the story reached London, His Majesty King George V expressed a desire to see the Gurkha himself.
Accordingly, in due course of time, the Gurkha was ushered into Buckingham Palace where, in a rare expression of royal prerogative, the King Emperor personally decorated Rifleman Kulbir Thapa Magar with Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
It is recorded here for the information of my readers that the Gurkhas are not cold blooded killers, their ability to remain cool under extremely adverse circumstances, their readiness to sacrifice whatever it takes, make the Gurkha more than a dependable soldier, he emerges a dignified and more complete man.