Res John Burman
'Johnny Gurkha' - Poem by Res John Burman
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
A Comrade day and night.
And when the battles 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 JFB 12th September 2008
*The Warcry of the Gurkhas: 'Ayo Gurkhali' = 'Here come the Gurkhas! '
'Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gurkhali' = 'Hail Goddess Kali. The Gurkhas are upon you! '
This was written in 2008 when I heard that an 87 year old winner of the Victoria Cross, Britains 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! This event caused an enormous backlash from the British Public backed by a vigorous campaign led by Joanna Lumley which did eventually win for Our Gurkha Comrades some of the concessions we, their old Comrades-in-Arms, believed they were entitled to.
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