Royal Gurkha Rifles

The Royal Gurkha Rifles

Cap badge of the Royal Gurkha Rifles
Active 1 July 1994 – present
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Rifles
Role 1st Battalion: Light Infantry
2nd Battalion: Air Assault Infantry
Size Two battalions
Part of Brigade of Gurkhas
Garrison/HQ RHQ: Shorncliffe
1st Battalion: Seria, Brunei
2nd Battalion: Shorncliffe
Nickname(s) The Gurkhas / The Bravest of the Brave
Motto(s) कांथर हुनु भन्दा मर्नु राम्रो
"Kaatar Hunnu Bhanda Marnu Ramro" (Nepali)
"Better to die than to be a coward"
March Quick: Bravest of the Brave
Double Past: Keel Row
Slow (band): God Bless the Prince of Wales
Slow (pipes and drums): The Garb of Auld Gaul
Anniversaries Meiktila (1 March)
Medicina (16 April)
Regimental Birthday (1 July)
Gallipoli (7 August)
Delhi Day (14 September)
Colonel in Chief The Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
Brigadier J C Lawrence CBE
Tactical Recognition Flash
Tartan Douglas (pipers trews and plaids)
From 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles
Abbreviation RGR

The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) is a rifle regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. Unlike other regiments in the British army, soldiers are recruited from Nepal, which is neither a dependent territory of the United Kingdom nor a member of the Commonwealth. Their motto is: Better to die than live a coward.


The regiment was formed as the sole Gurkha infantry regiment of the British Army following the amalgamation of the four separate Gurkha regiments in 1994:[1]

The amalgamations took place as follows:

The 3rd Battalion was amalgamated with the 2nd Battalion in 1996 as part of run down of British forces in Hong Kong.[2]

The Gurkhas in general and the direct predecessors of the Royal Gurkha Rifles in particular are considered by some to be among the finest infantrymen in the world, as is evidenced by the high regard they are held in for both their fighting skill, and their smartness of turnout on parade.[3]

In December 1995, Lieutenant-Colonel Bijaykumar Rawat became the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, the first Nepalese to become a battalion commander in the RGR. He oversaw the departure of the battalion from Hong Kong just before that city's transfer to Chinese control, and the battalion's relocation to Church Crookham, Hampshire in 1996.[4]

Twice during its most recent Brunei posting the 2nd Battalion was deployed as the Afghanistan Roulement Infantry Battalion, while the 1st Battalion deployed as part of 52 Infantry Brigade in late 2007. During this tour, Cornet Harry Wales (Prince Harry) was attached for a period to the 1st Battalion as a Forward Air Controller.[5]

Under Army 2020, the regiment was intended to provide two light role battalions, rotating between Brunei and the UK, with their higher unit as 11th Infantry Brigade.[6] However, in June 2015, the 2nd Battalion, then based in the UK, was reassigned to form part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, in the air assault infantry role.[7]


The two battalions of the RGR are formed as light role infantry.

The first battalion (1 RGR) is based at the British garrison in Brunei as part of Britain's commitment to maintaining a military presence in Southeast Asia.[8]

The second battalion (2 RGR) is based at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone in Kent as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, and is available for deployment to most areas in Europe and Africa.[9]

Notable soldiers

Corporal Dip Prasad Pun of the 1st battalion (1 RGR) was awarded Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for an act of bravery during the War in Afghanistan in 2010. He alone defended his outpost against a force of up to 30 Taliban fighters. He fired more than 400 rounds, 17 grenades, and one mine. He even resorted to fighting with his machine gun tripod after his ammunition had run out.[10][11]

Battle honours

The battle honours of the Royal Gurkha Rifles are as follows:[12]


The Royal Gurkha Rifles The 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) The Sirmoor Battalion
The 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles The Cuttack Legion
The 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles Assam Sebundy Corps
The 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles 14th Battalion of Coast Sepoys


See also


  1. "Serving Brigade of Gurkhas". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  2. "Regimental History". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  3. The Gurkhas, Byron Farwell, W.W. Norton, 1984
  4. "New Ideas: Gurkha Signals, Engineers & 'British' Officers". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  5. "Prince Harry made honorary Gurkha by fearsome warriors he served with in Afghanistan". Daily Mail. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  6. "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  7. "Gurkhas from 2 Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles based at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone join army's 16 Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester". Kent Online. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  8. "Royal Gurkha Rifles return home". 17 November 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  9. "Gurkhas from 2 Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles based at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone join army's 16 Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester". Kent on line. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  10. "The Outstanding Examples Of A Generation - The OP Honours Recipients". London. States News Service. March 25, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2013.  via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  11. "The land of the brave". Kathmandu. The Kathmandu Post. April 1, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2013.  via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  12. "Battle Honours". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
Preceded by
The Parachute Regiment
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
The Rifles
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