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Saturday, 14 November 2009

"Johnny Gurkha" (revised)

On the 11th September 2008,  an 87 year old winner of the Victoria Cross, Britain’s Highest Honour for Valour, RSM Tul Bahadur Pun VC, handed back his medals at the door of Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister, in protest at being denied medical treatment in a London hospital!

“Johnny Gurkha

In utter disgust I write these words
I shouldn’t have to write this letter
About a Comrade of mine, sold down the line
We should treat our old friends better.

In the rattle of the battle

In the fog of fusillade

There's a comrade I'd have beside me

And no better friend was made.

He's a Gurkha from the Mountains

I'd have watch my left and right

And stalwart stand, kukri in hand

And guard me day and night.

And when the battle’s over

You forget those bloody miles

And what sticks most is your courtly host

And those gentle Gurkha smiles.

And now I hear them marching

To the door of Number 10

They've come to say, we saved your day

And you throw us away again.

Refused the right to Doctors

Refused the right to stay

They've been our friends, right to the ends

How can we serve 'em this way?

You can thank your Gods, whichever Gods

You choose, why even Kali

They politely ask, don't take you to task

Or shout "Ayo Gurkhali!"*

In every little skirmish, 

In every war that's been

He's been our mate, since early date

In Eighteen Seventeen.

And now it's time to show the world

To lead by some example

To show these friends before it ends

Our gratitude is ample.

Copyright ©  Res JF Burman 12th September 2008

This is dedicated with love and admiration to the men of 51 Gurkha Infantry Brigade
And 99 Gurkha Infantry Brigade with whom I had the honour of serving during the Borneo Campaign.
1963 to 1966

*The War cry of the Gurkhas: 
"Ayo Gurkhali" = "Here come the Gurkhas!"

"Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gurkhali" = "Hail Goddess Kali. The Gurkhas are upon you!”

The well known actress Joanna Lumley, among others, waged a successful campaign to redress at least some of the outrageous treatment our old allies were subjected to. 
Bless her!