Gurkhas are recruited from the hill people of Nepal who trace their roots right back to an 8th century Hindu warrior, Guru Gorakhnath. They first encountered the British in the Gurkha War of 1814-1816, which ended not just in stalemate, but with an abiding sense of mutual respect and admiration between the two sides.
The Peace Treaty that ended the war enabled Gurkhas to serve under contract in the East India Company Army and then later the British Army. Thus began the relationship between Britain and Nepal, our oldest ally in Asia.
Between 1857 and 1947, the Gurkha regiments saw service in Burma, Afghanistan, the North-East and North-West Frontiers of India, Malta (The Russo-Turkish War 1877-78), Cyprus, Malaya, China (the Boxer rebellion of 1900), Tibet and in various theatres of the First and Second World Wars.
They have continued to serve in every major conflict since and still do so today. Indeed, on return from his tour in Afghanistan where he served alongside the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, HRH Prince Harry said that there was “no safer place than by the side of a Gurkha”.