Harry Locke - A Gurkha surprise

Running time
2 min 6 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


There was three types, we did the patrol where you were looking for the enemy and the other patrol was a fighting patrol where there might have 15 or 20 fellas armed to the teeth and looking for a German or an Italian patrol to shoot up if you saw them but the other patrols, if you heard anybody you used to estimate how many were in the patrol whether you could attack them or not, but the other type of patrol was a listening post where members of the platoon would go out through the barbed wire entanglements and we'd sit around what they called a sanger which was a semi-circle of rocks up about two foot high and you'd sit there for a couple of hours and someone would come and replace you but I remember, I was only a Bren gunner but the fella I was with was a platoon sergeant and he was from the same town as me and we were sitting there, pitch dark, and all of a sudden we both got a tap on the shoulder and we spun around quick, there's two Gurkha soldiers and they said "Australiana soldiers, very good."

We didn't even hear them, you know, and they withdrew their knives and apparently if a Gurkha withdraws his knife he has to do a cut on the arm or hand just to signify that the knife has been withdrawn and eventually they left us and invited us, if we ever get back to their unit, they invited us for a cup of tea which we eventually did but the cup of tea was only about a tablespoon in a little tiny cup and very sweet with sugar and stuff but it was very good and we got to meet them and some could speak very good English, others you had to try and understand what they were saying but it was wonderful to know them, yeah.

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