Unit History: 11/7 Gurkha Rifles
The 7th (Duke of Edinburgh’s Own) Gurkha Rifles started as a regiment of the British Indian Army, before being transferred to the British Army following India’s independence.
The original 7th Gurkhas was formed as the Assam Sebundy Corps in 1835, eventually becoming a Gurkha regiment within the Bengal Native Infantry, ranked as the 43rd Gurkhas. In 1903, it was renumbered as the 7th Gurkha Rifles. The year before, the 8th Gurkha Rifles was formed from a nucleus of men primarily from the 10th Gurkha Rifles, but also from other Gurkha units. In 1903, this became the 2nd Battalion, 10th Gurkha Rifles. until 1907; at that time, the 7th Gurkhas amalgamated with the 8th Gurkha Rifles to become its 2nd Battalion, while 2/10 Gurkha Rifles was renamed as the "new" 7th Gurkhas.
During the First World War, the regiment served primarily in the Middle East. The 2nd Battalion was captured by the Turkish Army at Kut-al-Amara in 1916, before being reformed in Mesopotamia the same year. Following the end of the war, the 1st Battalion saw service in the Iraq and Kurdistan campaigns, while the 2nd Battalion returned to India to fight in the Third Afghan War. During the Second World War, the regiment primarily saw service in North Africa, Italy and the Far East.
In 1948, following India’s independence, the 7th Gurkha Rifles was one of four Gurkha regiments that became part of the British Army. However, a large number of its manpower chose not to follow the regiment into British service; the 3rd Battalion was transferred to the 5th Gurkha Rifles, while a large number of men formed the nucleus of the new 11th Gurkha Rifles. Also in 1948, the two remaining battalions were converted to artillery, forming the 101st and 102nd Field Regiments, Royal Artillery. They stayed in the artillery role for a year during service in Malaya, before converting back to infantry in 1949.
From 1949 to 1970, the regiment alternated, along with the other Gurkha units, among various postings in the Far East; Malaya, Borneo, Hong Kong. It was during this period that the regiment was renamed as the 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh In 1970, the 2nd Battalion was amalgamated with the 1st, leaving the regiment with a single battalion. The following year, the regiment became the first Gurkha unit to mount the guard at Buckingham Palace.
In 1982, the 2nd Battalion was reformed in Hong Kong, while the 1st Battalion was deployed for war service in the Falklands War, its primary action being at Mount William. The 2nd Battalion was disbanded in 1987, while the 1st Battalion continued until it was amalgamated with the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles), 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles and 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles.