THE 4th BATTALION RAISED
4th Battalion had a chequered history, having been raised twice as part of the expansion in the two World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, and disbanded after each war. Initially raised at Rawalpindi on 1 October 1916 by Maj BC Nicolay as the First Reserve Battalion, Gorkha Rifles, it served with distinction in the North Western Frontier Province from 1916 to 1922 and saw action against the Afghans, Wazirs and Mahsuds. For the action in capturing picquet 3962 and as part of Covering Troops of the Wana Brigade, the Battalion won the following awards:
Re-raised in World War II on 15 March 1941 at Dehra Dun by Maj HFC Armstrong as 4th Battalion of the 3rd Gorkha Rifles, the Battalion spent most of its time in Razmak in the North Western Frontier Province and earned high commendation for the capture of ‘Alexandra’ Picquet which was located at the height of 8,000 feet. It was disbanded again on 6 April 1947.
The Third Raising
Army Headquarters letter No.13399/IV/Org (Pers) (a) of 18 December 1960 authorised the 39 Gorkha Training Centre to raise the 4th Battalion and immediately instructions went out to all sister Battalions for the provision of instructional staff, and by 25 May 1961, the raising commenced at Birpur, Dehra Dun. The first two officers in position were Maj Raghunath Singh and Capt VK Madhok, both from 2/3 Gorkha Rifles, with Naik Clerk Narbir Singh running the office. The MT platoon started off with 2 jeeps and 2 motorcycles handed over by the Centre.
By 31 January 1962, the postings from other Battalions were as follows:
1/3 GR – Sub Sher Bahadur Thapa and 82 Other Ranks
2/3 GR – Sub Chandra Mani Gurung
Jem Til Bahadur Thapa and 236 Other Ranks
3/3 GR – Sub Gokul Singh Thapa and 61 Other Ranks
From 39 Gorkha Training Centre:
Sub Chanchal Singh Thapa
Sub Lal Bahadur Pun
Sub Khim Bahadur Gurung
Jem Ujir Sing Gurung
Jem Khamb Sing Thapa.
The 492 Other Ranks posted from 39 GTC were mostly young riflemen.
Lt Col RK Duleep Sinh arrived on 28 July 1962 from the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and took over command of the new Battalion. Sub Maj Harka Bahadur Gurung from 2/3 Gorkha Rifles joined as the first SM of the Battalion on 21 August 1962.
Officers initially posted were:
Maj NB Gurung from 2/3 GR
Maj SDS Yadava from HQ 25 Inf Div
Capt Mohan Singh Gurung form 3/3 GR (Adjutant)
Capt MD Thamiah from 39 GTC (Quartermaster)
2nd Lt Padam Bahadur Thapa from 2/8 GR (MTO)
2nd Lt J Chanda from 3/3 GR
2nd Lts AS Nirodi, SS Kshetri and OP Bhatia, joined later that year from the Indian Military Academy.
It was a matter of pride that after the first route march of 31 miles was carried out in 11½ hours, followed by a ceremonial drill parade, not a single man fell out, which was very creditable for a young Battalion composed mainly of raw recruits.
The Battalion moved to Ghanghora on 30 October 1962 and settled down to the work involved in raising, field training being carried out in Mithwali camp in groups of two companies at a time. Gradually, the Battalion’s weapons, equipment, vehicles and stores kept arriving and by February 1963 it was decided to have the Flag Raising Day, 20 February having been selected as an auspicious day by the Pundits. The ‘havan’ was performed by five Pundits in the Ghanghora temple and the New Regimental Flag was blessed by them. Maj Raghunath Singh presented the flag to the Escort Commander, 2nd Lt PB Thapa, while a Guard of Honour of 98 Other Ranks commanded by Maj MB Gurung, presented arms. The flag was then presented to the Adjutant, Capt Mohan Singh Gurung and affixed to the cords of the flagmast. Once more the Honour Guard presented arms, the band played General Salute. Reveille sounded and the flag was hoisted to the top of the mast by Lt Col RK Duleep Sinh. Then, led by Sub Maj Harka Bahadur, the voices of the whole Battalion rang out three times: ‘Fourth-Third Gorkha Rifles Ki Jai’. It was a solemn and moving ceremony which announced that one more Battalion of the 3rd Gorkha Rifles was ready to answer any call of duty.
Other officers present on this occasion were Lt Col AK Mitra, Commandant, 39 GTC; Lt Col JD Karwal, Commandant 58 GTC; Lt Col Trivedi, Commandant 11 GRC and Lt Cols Jog and Kapoor, COs of 4/5 GR and 3/8 GR respectively; Officers and JCOs of 39 GTC Boys Company, and families. The celebrations were suitably rounded off with a Bara Khana for the men and a Regimental Dinner Night in the Officers Mess.
Move to Gurdaspur
On 17 February an advance party under Maj MD Thamiah went ahead to Gurdaspur where the Battalion arrived shortly afterwards on 3 March 1963 to form part of 68 Infantry Brigade.
Unfortunately, the very next day Maj MB Gurung was posted to 39 GTC, having achieved the distinction of serving in all Battalions of the Regiment. The three months spent at Gurdaspur were a useful and happy period, however brief. Being a one-battalion station with good accommodation for the men as well, as for families (60 Other Rank families were accommodated), there were ample opportunities to strengthen the bonds within the young battalion, while training was stepped up and field firing completed. On 5 June 1963 Sub Maj & Hony Lt. Harka Bahadur Gurung retired after 32 years’ meritorious service and was given an affectionate farewell by all ranks, and a ceremonial parade held in his honour. Subedar Dil Bahadur Gurung, an exceptionally good JCO, took over the appointment of Subedar Major.
In the second week of June, 4th Battalion left Gurdaspur for Srinagar, halting en route at Udhampur and Banihal and arriving at Juman Gusain Camp at 1430 hrs on 18 June 1963 where it was received by Brig HS Yadav, Commander 68 Inf Bde and other staff officers. The 2/3 Gorkha Rifles which were on their way to Ladakh halted at Srinagar and celebrated their famous Battle Honour, Pirkanthi Day on 28 June, to which officers, JCOs and 100 Other Ranks of 4/3 Gorkha Rifles were invited, on 30 June the gesture was reciprocated and a Bara Khana was held for 2/3rd. Needless to say, the happy reunion lasted well into the night. On 1 July, with the band playing the Regimental March Past, 2nd Battalion were given a hearty sent-off at Badami Bagh,
Fighting at high altitudes requires specially high standards of fitness and training and a number of battalion and brigade exercise and independent missions kept everybody on their toes and in a fine state of toughness. All such exercises were carried out at altitudes between 12,000 and 14.500 feet, each man carrying his personal weapon and 70 pounds, self-contained up to seven days. Wearing Extra Issue clothing only. In all these exercises the Battalion turned in good performances.
And not a single man dropped out, earning the Brigade Commander’s congratulations. The Battalion also given an excellent demonstration of a company in deliberate defence. New weapons received were two 106 mm RCL anti-lank guns and at Browning. 30mm MMGs.
The ‘Chattise Party’
A draft of 101 young riflemen who arrived on 27 July 1963, were part of those Other Ranks whose regimental numbers were from 5236 onwards, and earned the name of the ‘Chattise Party’. This group formed the back-bone of the Battalion and served loyally and ably in the early years, many of them serving right through their service in the 4/3rd. On 23 October a Battalion Temple was established and on 25 October, Dushera celebrated. 2nd Lts SC Nijhawan, V Varma, JS Pannu, SB Dogra and OP Verma joined the Battalion in July 1963.
In November 1963 the Battalion moved to Samba where it received six 81 mm mortars and two more 106 mm RCL guns. Maj SDs Yadava was posted as AA & QMG of MP Area and promoted to Lt Col on 20 January 1964. Officers joining during the period 1964-65 were 2nd Lts SP Kothiyal, L Colney,AK Sharma, Yogendra Singth, BL Kothiyal, M Chetri, R Mishra and Dharamraj Devraj.
Flag Rising Day
Though the Battalion was raised on 25 May 1962 at Birpur, the Battalion Flag was raised on 20 February 1963, which is celebrated as Flag Raising Day. With 1/3 Gorkha Rifles in the vicinity, a grand get-together was arranged and the occasions was celebrated fittingly, a feature being the Bara Khana in which no less than 1,600 Other Ranks made up from the other two Battalions in the Brigade, and Johnnies from other Gorkha Battalions in the Division had dinner together. 1/3 Gorkha Rifles and 4/3 Gorkha Rifies also celebrated Holi by exchanging parties to the Bara Khannas in each Battalion.
In October 1964, the Battalion left the Brigade at Srinagar and took over a sector of the Cease Fire Line, Near Naushera.
Change of Command
The first CO, Lt Col Duleep Sinh left the Battalion on 16 April 1965 on posting to Army Headquarters and his place was to be taken by Lt Col B Chatterjee from Army Headquarters. But to the regret of everyone, he had barely commanded the Battalion a few days when he was admitted to the Military Hospital on 17 April, where he subsequently expired. Maj BS Gill officiated till 14 May when Lt Col SDS Yadava arrived and took over command.