The British military history with the Gurkhas began during the early nineteenth century clash of the expanding English East India Company and Nepalese hillmen. The remarkable fighting abilities of the Nepalese contrasted against the most incredible British ineptitude. But on both sides, the war was harder fought than either the Afghan War or even the struggle with the Sikhs. And on both sides, the most colourful characters were involved – such as the drinker, dicer, duellist Rollo Gillespie or the legendary Gurkha hero Bhakti Thapa. In the end, the British wrested key hill tracts from the Gurkhas. As Sir David Ochterlony – perhaps the only figure who saved the British reputation – was poised to attack Kathmandu, the Gurkhas prudently made peace which maintained their kingdom as an independent state. John Pemble’s account is a comprehensive history of the conflict, detailing the origins of the war, the consequences of strategic errors, and the enduring impact of the final victory. Even before the campaign had finished, the nucleus of the Gurkha Bridgade had joined the East India Company’s Forces. This is a thrilling telling of a little-known war. John Pemble has fully authenticated his work from original sources and on-the-spot research, all presented in a lively, engaging style.
BRITAIN’S GURKHA WAR The Invasion of Nepal, 1814-16
The Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16), also known as the Gurkha War, was fought between the Kingdom of Gorkha and the East India Company as a result of border disputes and ambitious expansionism of both the belligerent parties. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816. David Ochterlony general of the East India Company and the political agent William Fraser were quick to recognise the potential of Nepalese soldiers in British service. During the war the British were keen to use defectors from the Nepalese army and employ them as irregular forces. His confidence in their loyalty was such that in April 1815 he proposed forming them into a battalion under Lieutenant Ross called the Nasiri regiment. This regiment, which later became the 1st King George’s Own Gurkha Rifles. John Pemble has fully authenticated his work from original sources and on-the-spot research,all presented in a lively engaging style