Friday, April 24, 2009

Our best warriors

This ruling on UK residency for the Gurkha's is an outrage (link). These guys are unbelievable and deserve everything that can be given. I've worked with Gurkha's in my time in the army and have the utmost respect for them. In fact I don't know of a serving or ex squaddie that does not.

They have fought in every war we've had since they joined us and have been one of the most effective units in those conflicts. Just to join the British army these guy can walk 1000 mile through the Himalayan mountains. Once they arrive at the selection course they are put through test that would cripple a seasoned squaddie.

One of these great men I had the pleasure of meeting was a CPL Tappa. A funny guy. Even though he'd been in the British army about 15 years at this point his English was still broken. The respect he showed me as a British squaddie was unbelievable to the point of embarrassment. Even though at the time he outranked me and was 10 years my senior he always called me Sir no matter how many times I told him to call me by my name. The quote that will always remind me of Tappa when out drinking was "We good Soldiers we fight".

He'd done his bit though, leading his section clearing trenches in some of the final battles of the Falklands war. The Argentineans did not give up against the Gurkha's neither as they had been told they did not take prisoners but ate them. He told me of having to kill enemy because they would not surrender. They would run out of ammunition and come at him with bayonets. As anyone knows you don't get into a knife fight with a Gurkha. As tappa told it he told them it was a bad idea and then woosh woosh woosh no more. He carried the mental scars of war, you could see them just below the surface. His were not as bad as some I've seen but they were affecting his life. His career record highlighted this. He was good at his job and battle proven so he'd get promoted and then the switch would flip and he'd end up a private again.

Under these new rules this great servant to our nation would not get residency. Is this right? He is just one of thousands.

We owe them and it's time to pay up.

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