A Gurkha and his most dangerous weapon

Photo via LIFE archives, originally black & white, cleaned up & colourised by Paul Reynolds

Photo via LIFE archives, originally black & white, cleaned up & colourised by Paul Reynolds

A Naik (corporal) of either the 7th or 9th Gurkha Rifles, part of the 4th Indian Division of the British 8th Army, swinging his curved knife known as khukri (kukri), 1st August 1943.

Unit Moto: Kafar Hunu Bhanda Marnu Niko (Better to die than live like a coward)

I bumped into a few Gurkha in my travels and dearly love a good khukri. Besides a collectable Bhojpure model that I display with my vintage Nepalese Francotte, I keep an Ontario Cutlery Kurkri in my camping gear and it is hellah functional for clearing brush and cleanup…or zombies.

Numbers increasing

The British military recently announced at a passout for new troops that, while other forces are declining, the number of Gorkha in the Army will be growing by a quarter.

Lieutenant General J I Bashall CBE, inspecting new members of the Brigade of Gurkhas, 6 October-- note the Kukri.

Lieutenant General J I Bashall CBE, inspecting new members of the Brigade of Gurkhas, 6 October– note the Kukri. They are not ceremonial.

All Gurkha soldiers undergo nine months of training at the Infantry Training Centre, in Catterick, which includes cultural integration trips to Darlington and Richmond.

Lt Gen Bashall said last week: “It is because of the excellent professionalism and first class reputation of Brigade of Gurkhas that we have decided to increase Brigade of Gurkhas by 25 per cent. This will see those on parade today offered far greater opportunity for longer service, wider employment and promotion.”

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