The Ghurka Diaries of Robert Atkins MC

The Ghurka Diaries of Robert Atkins MC

Robert Atkins was the son of a British officer serving with the Punjab Regiment so grew up in India and followed the typical route of being educated at a British public school (Rugby) prior to being commissioned into the 8th Gurkha rifles in 1944.

At this time all the Gurkha regiments formed part of the British Indian Army, but in the aftermath of Indian independence they were split between the British and Indian Armies.

The first half of the diaries deal with his involvement with the Indian Partition and some of the atrocities committed on both sides during this period. Once partition was finished Robert was sent back to England for service.

Three years later on his way to fight in the Korean War, he was ordered to join 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles engaged in the battle against communist terrorists, known as the Malayan Emergency. Robert saw more than his share of action over next seven years in this eventually successful but bitterly fought campaign. His courage and leadership earned him the Military Cross. This period is covered in the second half of the diaries.

The book is an interesting read which covers a period that I didn't have much knowledge about, especially the history of the Gurkha regiments and how they were mercilessly carved up during Indian Independence with many wanting to stay with the British Army but not being allowed to.

There are also interesting pictures from the author's personal collection included.

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