Since their formation in 1815, the Gurkhas served in many locations for the British East India Company.
However, the Gurkhas particularly distinguished themselves during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 when, with the 60th Rifles (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) and the Queen’s Own Corps of Guides, the Sirmoor Battalion (later 2GR) held the key positions on Dehli Ridge through three months of fighting.
For the Sirmoor Battalion’s loyalty and service at Delhi it was granted a third honorary colour and its title was changed to the Sirmoor Rifle Regiment and it was permitted to wear a uniform similar to that of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and use the Rifleman rank. This is the origin of the red scarlet piping worn on RGR tunics (jackets), and although the Sirmoor Battalion wore green uniforms prior to Dehli, when given the title of a rifle regiment the Gurkhas had the honour of wearing ‘Rifles Green’.
This colour represents the values of Sir John Moore, founder of the Rifle regiments; of open-order tactics and mobility, camouflage and concealment, individual marksmanship and intelligence and self-reliance.
In 1863, it having been decided that Colours were not appropriate for a Rifle Regiment, the colours were laid up and Queen Victoria granted the now 2nd Goorkhas a Truncheon, a unique honour much revered by the Regiment, known as the ‘Nishani Mai’.
To this day the Queen’s Truncheon is carried by the Royal Gurkha Rifles, and is accorded the honours due to a Queen’s Colour.