GURKHA servicemen who lost their lives during the Malayan Emergency in Perak were honoured during a memorial service held at a cemetery in the base of the Second Royal Ranger Regiment along Tambun Road last Saturday.
The Gurkha soldiers may have fallen decades ago, but memories of them have certainly not faded away.
A cenotaph to remember 28 of them had also been erected.
The Remembrance Day ceremony is an annual event organised by the Warriors’ Association Malaysia.
A Hindu priest, Mouneshwar Tripathi, conducted prayers for the fallen heroes, before a British Gurkha Piper sounded the Last Post, and a moment of silence was observed thereafter.
Several guests, including the guests-of-honour, Nepal’s ambassador to Malaysia Dr Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell, and Warriors’ Association President Datuk R. Thambipillay, carried out a wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph.
Thambipillay in his speech said it was wonderful to see people from various countries coming and sacrificing their time to be part of the ceremony.
He said there have been improvements to the cemetery, thanks to generous donors.
Among the improvements are the cenotaph, beautiful landscaping, and the planting of 28 trees for the fallen Gurkha warriors.
“I sometimes receive letters from some of the family members of the Gurkhas, congratulating the association for carrying out the Remembrance Day event,” he said.
Thambipillay also thanked Niranjan for generously donating RM19,500 to the association for the upkeep of the cemetery on behalf of the Nepalese government.
Niranjan in his speech said nearly 400 Gurkha soldiers had given their lives in Malaya, including the 28 who lost their lives during the emergency.
Niranjan said despite Nepal suffering from a weak economy, and thousands killed during an earthquake last year, he managed to convince his government to provide some form of financial assistance to the association.
“I hope the sum provided will be able to assist the association that has been tirelessly working to maintain the memorial.
“Gurkhas have shown their bravery all over the world, and it is good to know their efforts are being remembered,” he added.
British Army Brigade of Gurkhas Colonel James Robinson said currently there were some 3,000 Gurkhas in the regiment.
He said this was his first visit to the Remembrance Day event in Ipoh, and he had come here both for personal and professional reasons.
Robinson said he was born in Nepal when his father was based there as an army officer.
“Then in the 1950s, my father fought during the Malayan Emergency, and I lived in Port Dickson in 1967.
“The Gurkhas are great jungle fighters, and with their extra special quality, they will always be remembered as great warriors,” he added.
Earlier, at another ceremony more than 200 locals, foreign servicemen, war veterans and family members gathered at God’s Little Acre cemetery in Batu Gajah to honour those who were slain during the Emergency.
The memorial service started at the Church of the Holy Trinity next to the cemetery at 7.30am.
During the ceremony, state Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department Chief Senior Assistant Commissioner T. Selven inspected the guard-of-honour prior to prayers.
After observing a minute’s silence, servicemen and representatives took turns to lay wreaths at the base of the memorial.
Also present were Treadell, New Zealand High Commission Defence Adviser Capt Keith Robb, and Australia High Commission Defence Adviser Group Captain Wendy Horder.