View Full Version : Tuesday Ghurka joke

31st Oct 2005, 14:08
As the use of paratroops was increasing during the Malaya confrontation in the 1950's, a British colonel asked the leader of a platoon of Gurkha if they would be prepared to jump from a C130.

Somewhat to the colonel's surprise, the Gurkha sergeant requested a day to talk it over with his men.

The next day, the Gurkha duly reported that they would do it, but only over marshy ground with the aicraft flying at no more than 100ft.

'But at a hundred feet the parachutes wouldn't work,' the colonel explained.

The Gurkha replied, 'Parachutes? No-one mentioned parachutes!'

OK, you can see it coming, but it's still funny and insightful.

Windy Militant
31st Oct 2005, 14:45
You don't want to take the rise out of the Gurka's Fearsome chaps they are.

My old man served with them in India and Burma.
When he arrived at the depot first thing they did was check that his boots were laced up correctly.

It seem's that The Gurkas didn't bother with the usual challenge when on patrol. They'd sneak up and run their fingers across your boot laces. If they weren't laced regimental style the next thing you'd feel would be your head bouncing on the floor. :uhoh:

Lon More
31st Oct 2005, 15:53
Agree with Windy. Don't extract the urine; you may end up, thin sliced, in Sainsbury's for 50p. an ounce.:(

31st Oct 2005, 16:01
I think the respect for the Ghurka is universal.

IMO the 'joke' was highlighting the extremes to which these guys will go, rather than any suggestion of stupidity. Mind you it IS difficult to differentiate if you change the attributation to a less-respected nationality.

But as you say, you don't mess with those little bu66ers.

BTW does anyone know whether 'they' have a sense of humour (as defined by western standards?)?

31st Oct 2005, 17:03
Was in "Borneo" in the '60s. Worked with the Ghurkas :ok: What I want to know is was the C130 an Aussie prototype? [The RAF had Beverly, Hastings, Valletta and Argosy transports]

31st Oct 2005, 17:10
'They' certainly do have a sense of humour. They particularly liked the late Les Dawson, as much of his work translated well into Gurkhali.

Thank you Farmer1, quiet right, should be ashamed of meself, harumph.

Farmer 1
31st Oct 2005, 17:39

Could not disagree with you less, sir. And by the way, chaps, it's GURKHA!BTW does anyone know whether 'they' have a sense of humour (as defined by western standards?)? How's this for a really side-splitting gag, if a little apocryphal. Not so sure about the western bit, though:

A patrol of the little / great men came across four enemy troops one night. They were fast asleep, lying side by side (the enemy, that is).

The next morning, the two on the outside woke up to find the two on the inside had been decapitated.

What do you imagine that would do to the enemy's morale?

There are many more. Like, for instance, a Japanese soldier on guard duty. Totally committed to fighting for the Emperor, etc., fully alert. He pauses a moment in his patrol, eyes and ears cocked for the slightest sign of anything untoward. He continues his patrol, and falls over.

His boot laces have been tied together.

Do not fall out with these chaps, chaps.

tony draper
31st Oct 2005, 17:58
We could do with about fifty thousand of those chaps patroling our streets,one suspects yobbish and anti social behaviour would wither on the vine overnight.
OH! that bint from Campaign for Civil Liberties would wet her knicks.

henry crun
31st Oct 2005, 19:53
Don't Cry For Me Sergeant Major has a few references to the Gurkha's arrival in the Falklands.

"Once ashore and even without any semblance of an order to charge, the Gurkhas could not be held back. Their enthusiasm was unbounded. They shot off towards the Sussex Mountains into the short grass, their bergans high above them, blood-curdling cries of "Where de Argies ? Where de Argies ? " marking their route.
As one marine remarked, "They look like heat seeking ferrets the rate they're going" :D

31st Oct 2005, 20:20
So no mention of the pension inequality then...

31st Oct 2005, 20:37

There should be!:* A shocking way to treat such marvellous servants of the crown.

Apologies for the thread creep. The ones I've been lucky enough to meet have a wicked sense of humour and do a great curry!

31st Oct 2005, 20:45
There's a whole bunch of them based where I fly. A smarter, more polite bunch you couldn't hope to meet. :ok:

31st Oct 2005, 22:22
The joke was meant as a compliment to the Gurkhas rather than taking the p*ss. As you say, it would not do to do that.

I have a potentially fearsome colleague by name of Ratna (who is a [non-military but still very proud] Gurkha) to whom I sent the joke as well - I'm waiting to hear about the spelling, for a start!

31st Oct 2005, 22:32
>I have a potentially fearsome colleague by name of Ratna

Wasn't he in jewelry?

31st Oct 2005, 23:37
Yeah - but he was crap........

1st Nov 2005, 00:35
Ratna....isnt he the camp Indian chef from "Place in France"?

1st Nov 2005, 00:35
And the government of Singapore has a whole regiment of gurkha "police" tucked away in barracks in Singapore city. Just in case - you understand! Not a lot of people know that.

Oops! Probably get a visit by some dark suited Singaporean "cultural advisors":ouch:

1st Nov 2005, 00:41
Bit mystified by the 'jewellery' reference. The chap's name is Ratna Thapa - I asked him if I could use his name on this forum, and he agreed, saying there are many Ratna Thapa's where he comes from!

1st Nov 2005, 00:45
>Bit mystified by the 'jewellery' reference.


1st Nov 2005, 01:01
Britain unilaterally decided to withdraw the troops from East of Suez. We gave Malaysia and Singapore 5 years to build up their own capability during which time we would return sharpish if needed. An exercise called "Bersatu Padu" (Tr. - Complete Unity) was held to demonstrate that we could manage to return in short order as promised. Troops based in Far East Land Forces, including the Gurkhas, were to provide enemy forces.

9th/11th Gurkhas occupied an up-country airfield that the reinforcements from UK had to recapture. After a couple of days 'fighting' the umpires declared that the Paras had recaptured the airfield. The Gurkhas disagreed on the grounds that they were still very much alive. If they really wanted it, the Paras would have to take it off them. The Gurkhas only gave up when they ran out of food and water. Meanwhile, the British Military Hospital in Singapore filled up with the casualties. Real ones.

Ropey Pilot
1st Nov 2005, 09:16
As has been touched on here already - what about the pension inequality?

I personally don't believe that it is quite as straight forwards as a lot of people claim.

1) They have done the same job for our country and deserve to be rewarded the same as everyone else.

that is the sum total of most peoples arguement (and very hard to disagree with).

But briefly imagine a fictional scenario of a village with 10 inhabitants each with a role to play baker, builder etc. They have survived in equilibrium for centuries. Now make one of them a millionaire. The baker now charges him 1000 sheckels for a loaf of bread rather than the 1 that it used to be. In order to afford food the builder must charge him an extortionate rate for his work in order to buy the hugely overpriced bread himself since the baker cannot be bothered to make bread for 1 sheckel etc. etc. etc.
Eventually the entire economy of the village has spiralled out of control ala Germany post war. Problem is that it is not simply inflation and any member who does not have a direct dealings with the newly rich will starve. In fact those from the next village who come accross once a week to buy bread are amazed at the prices and also starve.
Very simplistic and I'm sure many holes could be picked in the economics but..

2) On that basis what if a ghurka retires in Nepal with 1000 times the average wage of the working man (I don't know the figure but when I was last there (10-15 years ago) I was told that you could live simply in the hills on literally a few Rupees a day - 70 Rupees to the pound).

So we pay them less so that the entire economy of Nepal is not thrown into turmoil (and the pittance they do get paid is still akings ransom over there - imagine what a squaddie lives like on his pension over here).

But then what about those who choose to settle in UK?

Even with the current agreements entry into the British Army is ridiculously highly prized. In fact it is very common for wannabees to walk for days/weeks to attend selection and if they fail never to go home because of the shame of that failure. Is that right?

I don't know all the answers (in fact I don't know any of them) but am just throwing some other opinions into the ring because I don't think that it is completely straight forwards. we have ruined a lot of other cultures and nations in the past - we should be sure that we don't continue to do it post-empire.

Farmer 1
1st Nov 2005, 10:56
Is it true that the instruction manual for the Gurkhas' chosen weapon is called the Kukri Book?

Lon More
1st Nov 2005, 13:27
And their favourite cookery book, "100 ways to wok your dog." ?

1st Nov 2005, 16:16
Ropey P good logical thinking, suspect you are not one of the huggy fluffy PC types who will instantly reckon your offering is, the dreaded R word. Made sense to me but then it takes one whose been out to see what that sort of thing can do.

Krystal n chips
1st Nov 2005, 17:59
I once had the pleasure of knowing a Royal Sigs Lt Col who had "spent some time" with these guys---and he was one of the very few people I have ever met who had genuine leadership / man management qualities and whom I did respect--and he had nothing by praise for them---likewise my father who met them in the Western Desert--and who experienced the bootlace check personally a couple of times when on guard duty. I understand that a bus company in South Wales employs some as drivers--so no probs with the local retards on these runs I suppose ! :ok: --

But as to the pension question, typical British hypocritical thinking at it's "colonial best" :mad:

2nd Nov 2005, 01:54
Putting a retired Gurkha NCO back into civilian life in Nepal after 22 years with a lump sum of NR4,284,000 and a monthly pension of NR119,000 could certainly cause difficulties, given the local culture and the strictly observed caste system. That's in a country where airline captains (invariably Brahmins) make about NR35,000 a month.

Also, remember the existing 100,000 retired British army, Indian army and Nepalese army personnel living in Nepal. Currently there is some degree of equivalence between the different armies. Is upsetting the balance justifed? We already had one disturbance among Brunei's Gurkha Reserve Unit - over pay and conditions comparison with the British Army Gurkhas garrisoned here.

I don't know what the answer is, but recruiting Gurkha soldiers was always a matter of cost - the amount of bang you get for the buck as it were. If Gurkha soldiers cost exactly the same in terms of salary and pensions as a British soldier, then given that the British armed forces' numbers are in decline and there is a more than plentiful supply of willing local volunteers, I'd have to question the reason for maintaining the Brigade of Gurkhas at all - regardless of their reputation and regimental history. After all, plenty of fine British regiments have already gone to the wall.

Finally, there's Machiavelli. His advice to the prince on the subject of over-reliance upon mercenary soldiers still holds good in the modern era.

2nd Nov 2005, 18:06
I thought that when Britain departed from India in 1947 the agreement was for Britain to take half the Goorka regiments and India the other half. Thre agreement, too was that they would be paid the same as well as receiving the same pensions. Service in the UK and elsewhere, where costs were higher, were met by the machinery of a local LOA.

The idea was for them to be relocated to Nepal on conclusion of their service.

This was explained to me by a Goorka colonel in the Indian Army. As he put it, returning to Nepal with a UK pension would have caused untold problems. In 1994 my pension from the RAF was greater than the colonel's salary.

Hope that goes some way to explaining the supposed inequality.

I served with them in the very late sixties and early seventies and they were wonderful characters and good friends