Gurkha units of British army deployed to fight in the Falklands War in 1982
The Nepal-born troops are a product of Britain's colonial past
Their regiment was part of British task force sent to repel Argentine invasion of islands
Thirty-one years ago, the four men serving me tea at the table of an attractive house in Nepal’s capital were taking punishment from the Antarctic weather and an equally unforgiving enemy on a remote island chain in the South Atlantic.
“Suddenly we were in the coldest part of the country, with clothing and things not suitable for a climate like that,” said Chandra Kumar Pradhan, as he recalled his time as a soldier serving with the British Army during the Falklands War in 1982.
“You’re walking with all those loads and everything, six or seven hours, you were sweating like hell; and then suddenly you stop, as soon as you stop you started digging and sweat more, and then… you were freezing, because the wind was blowing into the sweat, it was horrible.”
Despite the fact that the 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles Regiment were a part of the British task force sent to repel an Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands – known as the Malvinas by Argentina, who also claim them – their role has been largely absent from media accounts of the conflict.
This is probably because they never got to fire a shot against their enemy – though they felt the brunt of Argentine bombs throughout the 74-day conflict, with many of their number injured by flying shrapnel.