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The Gurkhas - Beautiful Soldiers

Heroes Remember

The Gurkhas - Beautiful Soldiers

Well, the Gurkhas were an amazing regiment. They were soldiers. They were top notch soldiers trained by the British Army. And this is for centuries or years they had been trained by the British. And they were in with us in Italy, and they didn’t have tank regiments and that. So, our tanks used to go when there was a big battle coming up, or a big push. We would go up and be their armour and lead the way. And we got to fight with them and the Sikhs and the Gurkhas. And we fought with the Polish people and the British. We led the British, and even the Americans went and bailed them out a couple of times. But the Gurkhas … they used to … wouldn’t let you do guard duty, because they always said Canadians were too loud, too noisy. And if they wanted to, if they come up behind you some night, you never heard them. You didn’t hear nothing. You’d just feel this arm going around your neck, feeling for your dog tag, and they’d say, “Okay, Johnny,” or (inaudible). There’s not too many people stayed out late at night when them guys were on duty. You would be afraid. You had to watch yourself because, well, they were there for specific … and it was an honour for those people to do guard duty. They … if somebody said, “You are on guard duty,” I guess they’d probably cheer. This was their honour, being on guard duty. Being a soldier was an honour to them, because this all they did all their life. They were brought up in it. Even today, they’ve got all these Gurkha regiments. I think there’s some in Bosnia right now, down in there. They’re beautiful soldiers, beautiful soldiers. They had rifles and the same weapon as everybody else, but their favourite weapon was the kukri, and it was like a bent … And all day long, when they were out in battle, they just sharpening that and one slice and they coul take your head off in nothing flat. They were sharp, kukris. As matter of fact, after the war they gave our regiment a kukri as a of honour, because we were their regiment and they appreciated us And if they wanted to go into battle, they wanted the Calgary tanks or the Three Rivers tanks or the Ontario tanks. And they give us one of their kukris, all mounted and everything.

Guard duty was the honour of the Gurkha soldiers. Mr. Baker describes his respect for the Gurkha soldier and their respect for Canadians.

Thomas Baker

Mr. Baker was born in Pearson, Manitoba on October 3, 1923 into a family of six brothers and two sisters. While in Grade 9, Mr. Baker made the decision to quit school and join the army. Although his father was reluctant to let him go, Mr. Baker was determined to serve his country and joined the 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment, 1st Armoured Brigade (Calgary Tanks). During his service, Mr. Baker was wounded, but continued to serve until the end of war. In later years he was honoured as the “Poster Boy” for a local lottery draw held in Alberta - a special recognition and a great surprise to Mr. Baker. After the war, Mr. Baker moved to Toronto, Ontario, continued his education and began a 40 year career with General Electric.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Thomas Baker
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
14th Canadian Armoured Regiment
Tank Corp.

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