A Double GSM Long Service Group to the 2nd Battalion 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles awarded to Staff Sergeant Purnabahadur Rai comprising; General Service Medal 1918-62, one clasp, Malaya, (21146336 Rfn. Purnabahadur. Rai 7 G R); General Service Medal 1962-2007, one clasp, Borneo, (21146336 Cpl. Purnabahadur Rai. 2/7 GR.); Long Service and Good Conduct, Regular Army suspension, EIIR, (21146336 S.Sgt. Purnabahadur Rai. 7 GR.), very fine mounted for wear.
7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles – Malaya and Borneo – 1948-1966
For the 7th Gurkhas the coming of world peace in 1945 was a time to disband both the 3rd Battalion and the 4th Battalion, raised in 1941 for frontier protection and internal security. The years after 1945 saw all Gurkha regiments preoccupied with the issue of Indian independence and the conditions of near civil war attendant on the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. By an agreement between the Kingdom of Nepal and the British and Indian governments, four Gurkha regiments including the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 7th Gurkhas were transferred to British Army service on 1 January 1948 in which they were to form the British Brigade of Gurkhas. The Regiment moved almost immediately to Malaya which was to be the main Gurkha base for the next 25 years.
In 1948 as part of a plan to create an all-arms Gurkha division, the two battalions of the 7th Gurkha Rifles (7 GR) began training to become field artillery regiments, forming the 101st and 102nd Field Regiments, RA. They stayed in the artillery role for only a year, before reverting to infantry in 1949. The experiment was short-lived because almost at once the Regiment was committed to the campaign against communist insurgents and reverted to its infantry role. For some twelve years the two Battalions conducted jungle operations against an often elusive foe. The campaign has been judged by posterity to have been a great success. Although no Battle Honour was awarded, the approval of a Royal title for the Regiment in 1959 in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh was a single recognition of its outstanding operational record in Malaya and an acknowledgement of its distinguished service in the two world wars. From now on the Regiment was to be styled, ‘7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles’.
In 1962 the 1st Battalion, 7 GR, was dispatched from Malaya to the nearby state of Brunei in north Borneo to assist the British Army in suppressing a revolt by Indonesian backed rebels against the Sultan, an ally of the United Kingdom. A short time later they were joined by the 2nd Battalion, 7GR, and each conducted successful operations resulting in the capture of some of the key leaders of the rebellion. Operations in Brunei prompted recognition of the need for a parachute force to be available in the Far East and the Regiment contributed the majority of the complement which established the Gurkha Independent Parachute Company in 1963. The Brunei Revolt was a prelude to a war between an expansionist Indonesia and the new Malaysian Federation backed by Britain and the Commonwealth. Fought largely in the mountains and swamps of Sabah and Sarawak and without much publicity it lasted from 1963 to 1966. Both Battalions of 7 GR were heavily involved in the campaign in which the reputation of Gurkhas as supremely able jungle soldiers was enhanced.