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Old 15th September 2021, 03:08 PM   #1
Kubur
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Default Cool Kukri

A cool kukri with an engraved blade...

Kalu Thapa appeared in a group photo published in 1896 from which this detail is taken. He was the most senior Gurkha officer, appointed Subadar-Major on 1 March 1890. The caption in the Navy & Army Illustrated refers to him as Sirdar Bahadur Kalu Thapa, decorated with the Order of British India, 1st Class, the Imperial Medal and the Frontier Medal with six clasps. He had served for more than 30 years, and fought in six campaigns. He retired on 5 Feb 1897. The regimental history lists him as the 4th Subadar-Major since 1870, and although two out of the first five were ‘Sardar Bahadur’, Kalu Thapa is listed as plain Bahadur. He was, however, the only Honorary Captain out of 17 Subadar-Majors from 1870 to 1950.

The first recruits of the Sylhet Battalion had been men from the local district but in 1828 Gurkhas were drafted in from the Nasiri and Sirmoor Battalions and recruits from Pithoragarh. There were two Gurkha Subadars and two Jemadars. From that year the Gurkha element was steadily increased but it was not until 1886 that the regiment was officially titled the 44th Gurkha Light Infantry.
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Old 15th September 2021, 08:10 PM   #2
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Cool Kothimora scabbard. The Khukuri is a quality one too! Excellent back story to go with it!
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Old 16th September 2021, 02:59 AM   #3
Battara
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I LOVE the silver work on this kothimora! And how wonderful to have provenance!
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Old 16th September 2021, 08:49 AM   #4
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Thanks guys
thanks god it's not written made in China, covid free
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Old 16th September 2021, 11:36 AM   #5
Ian
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Speaking of provenance, that's a crude inscription for such an important guy. The "late 44th GR" reference means, I presume, that he was a member of the 44th Gurkha Rifles at the time of his retirement. However, when I looked up the naming of that regiment, it was not until 1901 that it became the 44th Gurkha Rifles. Since he retired in 1897, four years before the change in name, we have an anachronism with the inscription. It's a nice kukhri, and worthy of a distinguished soldier, but is the inscription genuine or added by someone else to inflate its value?

The chronology of the regiment's name is shown in the attached picture from the Wikipedia site devoted to this unit.

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Old 16th September 2021, 12:05 PM   #6
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Hi, Finaly a suspicious and negative comment.

Well just read well my post... The kukri should be in between 1886-1897.

"was not until 1886 that the regiment was officially titled the 44th Gurkha Light Infantry.
He retired on 5 Feb 1897"

I won't try to convince you or any other suspicious member about the quality of the engraving, but yes, it's not a British 19th c. engraving with Gothic letters.
I'm not a paleographist and neither are you...

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Old 16th September 2021, 01:39 PM   #7
Ian
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Kubur,

I am not a paleographist, but I have an undergraduate minor in English with particular reference to the Victorian period. Since you call into question my credentials for commenting on the inscription, I shall elaborate further.

The expression "late 44th G.R." is interesting for a couple of reasons. The use of the word "late" means previous or former. It can be used to describe the last place a person lived (e.g., Mr ..., late of The Strand, London). In another sense, it can refer to someone who has died (e.g., the late Mr ...) but that is not its use here. It is a word that was often found in obituaries of the 19th C and first half of the 20th C when describing a person's last place of employment, but less so today except in a somewhat formal and pedantic sense. In its use, the word "late" is used as a descriptor of someone else, and is not used to describe oneself.

From the use of the word "late" in "late 44th G.R.," we can deduce that the inscription was not composed by the owner, but by someone else to describe the owner. Furthermore, the inscription was written after the gentleman had retired.

Now look at "44th G.R.," which is recognized as the 44th Ghurka Rifles. I have already noted that this name for the regiment post-dated the gentleman's tenure. The presumed owner, a distinguished officer, would never have made such an error, which again points to someone else being responsible for this inscription, and also that the inscription post-dated a change in name to the 44th Ghurka Rifles.

Who was responsible for this inscription and why put it on the blade? I don't know, but the person seems to have had an education that included English as taught in the 19th and early 20th C. There are many reasons why someone may have done this, but one always has to be wary of an attempt to mislead and enhance the value of an item.

Last edited by Ian; 16th September 2021 at 01:55 PM. Reason: spelling
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