One of the most decorated battalions of the Indian Army — 2/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) — will be celebrating its 125th anniversary at Almora on November 10. The battalion was raised in 1886 at Abbottabad (Gorkhas call it Howrahbas) — where US commandos killed Osama bin Laden.
“It is the only battalion in the Indian Army, indeed anywhere, to have won three Victoria Crosses in the Second World War in the Burma Campaign. Two around Imphal in a single action and one more later further east. It is naturally called the VC Paltan,” said Major General Ashok Mehta, a veteran Gorkha soldier.
Havildar Gaje Ghale won the first VC in 1943 fighting against the Japanese at Basha Hill. A year later, Subedar Netra Bahadur Thapa posthumously earned the VC for defending Mortar Bluff picket. Withing 24 hours, Naik Agansingh Rai led an impossible charge to recapture the lost Mortar Bluff and was decorated with the VC.
The battalion fought against rebels in the Congo in 1962. The battalion earned a battle honour at Charwa during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, followed by honours in Pirganj and Bogra in 1971. Army chief Gen VK Singh and Central Army commander Lt Gen VK Ahluwalia will attend the celebrations in Almora.