Sunday Levity: The Gurkhas who jumped off the plane

The British wanted a hundred

Max Boot recounts an anecdote from the military memoirs of John Masters, an officer in the colonial British Army:

…“straightness, honesty, naturalness, loyalty, courage”—all qualities illustrated in a famous anecdote about a group of Gurkhas who in 1940 were asked to jump out of an airplane.

Only 70 men came forward at first. One hundred were needed. The British officers, crestfallen, “called upon the sacred honor of the regiment and vowed that parachutes never—well, hardly ever—failed to open.”

Upon hearing this, a lance naik (lance corporal) happily exclaimed, “Oh, we jump with these parachutes, do we? That’s different.”

And thereupon the entire regiment volunteered.[Max Boot/CFR]