Craig Lawrence author, military historian and lecturer in strategy

During my research, I occasionally come across quotes which I think are worth capturing, particularly about Gurkhas.  I continue to add to the list on this page but I hope it provides a useful starting point for anyone wanting some pithy quotes about Britain's Gurkhas. For quotes about strategy and strategic leadership, see the 'Strategy' page. For those interested in finding out more about Gurkhas generally, the 'Gurkha History' page - see the tabs above - provides an updated summary of their 201 years of service to the British Crown.

About Gurkhas:

"Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had a country more faithful friends than you."  ​

Professor Sir Ralph Turner MC, ex-3rd Gurkha Rifles

"If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."  ​

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Indian Chief of Army Staff (8 June 1969 - 15 January 1973)

"The nastiest part about parachuting is landing, and in this, with his compact light body and strong hill legs, he has a distinct advantage over most other races.  For this reason I would say that, along with the Jap who is similarly built, he is probably the best natural parachutist in the world." 

Lieutenant Colonel F J Loftus-Tottenham, 'Walkabouts and Laughabouts in the Raj' (Undated)

"I have never seen more steadiness or bravery exhibited in my life.  Run they would not and of death they seemed to have no fear, though their comrades were falling thick around them, for we were so near that every shot told." 

Ensign John Shipp describing the Battle of Makwanpur, February 1816

"I must pause in this narrative especially to notice the determined hardihood and bravery with which our two Battalions of Ghoorkhas, The Sirmoor and Nusseeree, met the Sikhs, wherever they were opposed to them.  Soldiers of small stature but indomitable spirit they vied in ardent courage with The Grenadiers of our own nation, and, armed with the short weapons of their mountains, were a terror to the Sikhs throughout this great combat." 

General Sir Hugh Gough, dispatch after the Battle of Sobraon, 1846

"The Gurkhas were merry little chaps and the only native troops with whom British soldiers were friendly enough for joking and playing tricks." 

Frank Richards, 'Old-Soldier Saheb' (1936)

"The Gurkha is a soldier of high battle-skill, a world-famed fighting man and respected in every country where men fought alongside us in the last war." 

Lieutenant General Sir Francis Tuker, 'While Memory Serves' (1950)

"The Gurkha keeps faith not only with his fellow men but with great spiritual concepts, and above all, with himself." 

John Masters, 'Bugles and a Tiger' (1956)

"To serve with a Gurkha soldier under the British Crown was, and is, a rare privilege which nobody who has shared it can ever forget." 

Colonel B R Mullalay, 'Bugle and Kukri' (1957)

"The Almighty created in the Gurkhas an ideal infantryman, indeed an ideal Rifleman, brave, tough, patient, adaptable, skilled in field-craft, intensely proud of his military record and unswerving loyalty." 

Field Marshal Viscount Slim, 'Unofficial History' (1959)

"It was easy to command such people.  It was a privilege to be allowed to do so." 

Patrick Davis, 'A Child at Arms' (1970)

"Hearing a British Gurkha officer discuss his profession was something like hearing a priest discuss his vocation." 

Byron Farwell, 'The Gurkhas' (1984)

Gurkhas: 1914 - 1918

Sirmoor Rifles (Gurkhas) on Delhi Ridge in 1857
Gurkha soldiers sharpening their kukris in the First World War

Gurkhas: 1857



Eight Gurkhas circa 1815
Gurkhas in Afghanistan

Gurkhas: 2015

Gurkhas: 1815