Letter to The Editor
I am surprised at Peter Tobin’s sympathy for the Ghurkha (Labour Affairs, March, 2016) and his mentioning of Joanna Lumley who also campaigns on their behalf. Her father was a British Army officer during the suppression of the Chinese population in Malaya. Ghurkhas were used extensively in that British colonial campaign where they carried out many atrocities of mutilation. There is one notorious photograph of a Royal Marine holding up the severed heads of two Chinese teenagers, male and female. The photo also shows their missing teeth probably battered out before death. This has since been thought to be the work of Ghurkhas, rather than that done by the marine in the picture . This photograph was taken by a British soldier who promptly sent it to the Daily Worker about 1950.
During my apprenticeship in the Belfast shipyard I worked with a former professional British Army soldier. He mentions the Ghurkha as being used for human shields for the average white soldier during WW2. (though he doesn’t say it in those words) He had seen German soldiers mutilated beyond recognition as a human being. This disgusted him and made him eventually loathe the British Army for allowing this to happen. Some Ghurkhas have since apologised to Germany and Japan for what their comrades did during WW2, beyond the call of duty.
Wilson John Haire