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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gurka thoughts 

Great that Gurka veterans came to Henley on Sunday to help our by-election campaign. Sorry though that I missed meeting them.

My dad fought beside Gurka troops in the Malaya Emergency (so-called) in the 1950’s and when he left Malaya the Gurkas presented him with one of their famous Kukri knives, which I believe is quite an honour.

Britain’s treatment of these ex-Servicemen (in terms of pensions and of UK citizenship rights) is disgraceful and we as a party must continue the campaign to change this.

A little story from my Dads wars. He was responsible for training the Malay army and one day led out a troop to set an ambush for insurgents. This was a live war, remember not some kind of exercise. Anyway they located their ambush point and settled in, deeply camouflaged lying down, and waited. Time passed. Suddenly, my Dad said, a hand went over his mouth, his head was pulled back, a sharp blade pressed against his throat…. And a familiar voice said in pleasant tones “Ah, Major Sahib!”. The Gurkas, out on a parallel patrol, had detected the ambush, but not been able to determine whether it was friendly or hostile and had therefore checked it out in their inimitable and intimate fashion.

Let me tell you, having handled one, that you seriously seriously do not want to be on the wrong end of a Kukri. A skilled Gurka with a sharp Kukri can cut off the head of a bull with one blow.

But above all if you must have a war, having the Gurkas with you is a huge advantage and a military honour and privilege. And these are the people who after their service ended we have treated as disposable items on a spreadsheet. .

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