A Dismal Story? Britain, the Gurkhas and the Partition of India, 1945–1948

David Omissi
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The future employment of the Gurkhas had been under consideration since at least 1943. With the prospect of demobilisation after the war, Britain was likely to face a shortage of military manpower, especially for overseas garrisons, where service could be unpopular with British troops. There was concern that an independent India might discontinue Gurkha recruitment to the Indian Army, thereby cutting off a useful source of income. The post-war British Army might have to be supplemented by a Foreign Legion, and Gurkha infantry could be used to garrison such places as Iraq, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong and Borneo. Gurkha discipline was put to the test when Gurkhas served in the Punjab Boundary Force, which was embodied between August and September 1947 to police the new India-Pakistan border in Punjab, where communal violence was at its most intense. If Britain were to obtain eight battalions of Gurkhas, then the Brigade would have to be divided between Britain and India. www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315556772-11/dismal-story-britain-gurkhas-partition-india-1945%E2%80%931948-1-david-omissi