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Harold Edward Templer

This is my grandfather.

b. 20th April 1892 in Auckland, New Zealand to Francis Henry Templer and Cherie nee Connell. The family returned to the UK and Harold was educated at St Edward’s, Oxford. He trained as a clerk in the New Zealand Insurance Company’s London branch which was run by his Grandfather Eric Pollard Hudson.

He took an interest in the territorial Army which he joined in about 1910.

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 20 March 1914. Page 2451
10th Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment): Cadet Lance-Corporal Harold Edward Templer, from the University of London Contingent, Senior Division, Officers Training Corps, to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 21st March, 1914.

THE LONDON GAZETTE 28 June 1915 Page 6261
The undermentioned Second Lieutenants to be temporary Lieutenants: — Harold E. Templer. Dated 1st December, 1914

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 5 MAY. 1916. Page 4461
2nd Lt. (temp. Lt.) H. E. Templer to be Lt., with precedence as from 26th Aug. 1914. 1st Dec. 1914

The undermentioned Lts. to be temp. Capts.: — H. E. Templer. 1st Aug. 1916

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 9 May 1917. Page 4452
Lt. (temp. Capt.) H. E. Templer to be Capt. with precedence as from 1st June, 1916. 10th May, 1917.

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 25 March 1919. Page 3895
The KING has approved the admission of the following officers to the I.A. on probation: — To be Lieuts.: Capt. Harold Edward Templer, Middlesex.: Regt. 18th Sept. 1918, but to rank from 5th May 1916

Harold saw action in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and was engaged in fighting the Turks.  He was wounded in this action and was unaware of the fact at the time but carried a spent bullet around in his back for the rest of his life. (Question – how was he involved with Mesopotamia when the 1/10 Middlesex was posted to India for the period of the war)    

 In 1918 he transferred to the Regular Indian Army and joined the I/II Gurkha Rifles. He served in the Afghan Wars of 1919. In 1921 the I/11th was disbanded and Harold transferred to the 4th battalion 70th Chin (Burma) Rifles

Lieutenants to be Captains. H. E. Templer 5 May 1919
Admission to the Indian Army on probation as Lieutenant - Capt. Harold Edward Templer (Middlesex Regiment)  18th Sept. 1918 but to rank from 5th May 1916 (London Gazette 25th March 1919)

The Indian Army List for July 1919 shows that he was posted to the 1st battalion 11th Gurkha rifles Substantive Captain 5th May 1919


Nowshera, NWFP – February 1919

(Parent regiments shown against names where remembered)

Back row   Lt. Swan  GO.2/5  Lt. Baily       Lt. Bell GO.2/5 Lt.Tucker    GO.6th     Lt.R.J.Kidd

                                         London Rifle HLI     Garhwal Rifles                     1GR

                                         Brigade                 & 3rd GR

Second row GO.2/6 Lt.H.R.K.Gibbs   JeM.Budhiman Gg.  Capt H Templer    SubDharaj Th

LHS                      3rd, 2nd & 1st      1/6GR.JA               Middlesex Rgt.     IDSM 6GR

                                                  Capt.Ransford        Sub     Capt.F.H.Hartnoll    Lt.Lear

Second row                                  IARO 2/10, 2/5 GR  5th GR  Devonshire Rgt.      IARO 2/6 GR


Seated  GO.6GR   Maj.D.R.Jackson SubMajor Dhansing Gurung    Lt.Col. A.E.Johnson C.O.

LHS                    6th GR               IOM.IDSM.MSM 1/5 GR          1/1 GR    

Seated              Subadar Kharakbahurur Rana   Capt C.P.Gouldsbury       Subedar ??

RHS                 1/6 GR                                  IARO 2/5 GR Adjutant     6th GR

 On Ground      Lt. Oliver    Lt. May           Lt. Honey    Lt. M.J.Brown      Lt.Donnelly

                                      5th GR IARO                       KRRC                 Australian Force


At the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, the Gurkha Brigade consisted of the ten Gurkha Regiments each of two battalions. As the war intensified and spread and as the numbers of casualties mounted, the Brigade expanded and all the Regiments raised additional battalions.

At the beginning of 1918 it was decided to form an additional Gurkha regiment in the Middle East. The new regiment, initially designated as the 11th Gurkha Rifles, was to consist of four battalions raised from drafts from those Gurkha battalions already serving in Mesopotamia and Palestine. The decision was not, at first, popular with the British Officers of the regiments affected most of whom would have preferred to see the additional battalions formed within the existing regiments. However, the decision went ahead and, in May 1918, ~the 11th Gurkha Rifles was formed.

Formation and Composition of Battalions.

1st Battalion.  Raised on 18 May 1918 at Kut-el-Amara from one complete company each from 1/5GR, 2/5GR, 1/6GR and 2/6GR. The regiments concerned agreed that each company should be transferred complete with its British and Gurkha Officers as they existed at the time.

   The Commanding Officer was Lt Col A. E. Johnson, 1GR.

2nd Battalion.  Raised 24 May 1918 at Kut-el-Amara by the transfer of one company each from 1/2GR, 1/3GR, 1/7GR and 2/4GR.

  The Commanding Officer was Lt Col R.G.T.Gatherer, 1OGR.

3rd Battalion.  Raised at Baghdad on 26 May 1918 from drafts from 2/9GR, 1/1OGR and one company each from 1/39 and 2/39 Garhwal Rifles. This proved to be an unhappy mix which initially caused some problems which were finally resolved by replacing the Garhwalis with Gurkhas from 1/7GR, 1/9GR and 1/10GR.

  The Commanding Officer was Lt Col J.D.Grant VC, 8GR.

4th Battalion.  Raised in Palestine on 24 May 1918 by the transfer of one company each from 1/LGR, 2/3GR, 3/3GR and 2/7GR.

  The Commanding Officer was Lt Col W.L.Dundas, DSO, 2/3GR.

In August 1918, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions left Mesopotamia for India where they were stationed at Manmad in the Bombay Presidency. Whilst at Manmad the battalions were made up to strength in British Officers a number of whom came from British battalions serving in India. The 4th Battalion remained in Palestine.

The Title.

When it was formed the Regiment was officially designated as 11th Gurkha Rifles (11GR), but it soon became confused with the 1/1st Gurkha Rifles (1/1GR). An officer who had joined 1/11GR from 1/1GR found that his bank account had been credited twice with the same amount in the same month, one to 1/lGR and the other to 1/11GR. When he pointed out the error, he was curtly told that there was no mistake. However, when it came to the ears of the Army Commander, the paymaster concerned was told to put the matter straight at his own cost and the officer was told to keep the bonus. Even the Gazette of India was guilty of confusing the titles. To avoid any further confusion the Regiment decided to use the Roman figure ‘XI’ in its title.

The Badge.

The XI Gurkha Rifles had no official badge of its own. All ranks continued to wear the badges and buttons of their parent units. However, it did have a badge to head its note paper. This was crossed kukris, blade edges up, with ‘Xl’ between and ‘Gurkha Rifles’ on a scroll below. (This badge was adopted by the 11th Gorkha Rifles when it was reformed by the Indian Army in 1948).

However, there is at least one photograph of a British Officer wearing a cap badge of similar design but without the scroll. It is probable that some, if not all, battalions may have had badges made unofficially at their own expense.

1st Battalion, XI Gurkha Rifles (1/XIGR)

At the end of 1918, 1/XIGR, together with 2/XIGR, moved from Manmad to the Northern Command area. Both battalions were stationed at Nowshera as part of the 2nd (Nowshera) Brigade, the other two battalions of which were the 2nd Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment and 123rd Outram’s Rifles.

The Battalion, which had a very high proportion of men who had seen active service in Egypt, Gallipoli, France, Mesopotamia and Palestine, quickly gained the reputation of being an efficient and happy unit. It also had a fine sporting record with a football team that beat all—comers, British, Gurkha and Indian.

On 3 May 1919, troops of the Afghan Army crossed the frontier at the head of the Khyber Pass and occupied the village of Bagh and the springs nearby that provided the water for the garrison of Landi Kotal. These were the opening moves of what was to develop into the The Third Afghan War.

On 6 May the Battalion was warned to prepare for mobilization. A depot was formed which later moved to Abbottabad. On 7 May, orders were received to mobilize at once and to move to Jamrud which it reached in the early morning of 8 May. No sooner had the Battalion arrived than it was ordered to move at once by motor transport to Landi Kotal, taking only ammunition, water and rations.

On 9 May, 1/XIGR and the 15th Sikhs attacked and captured the Afghan positions at Bagh Springs. Although this freed the water supply for Landi Kotal it failed to dislodge the Afghans from their main positions.

On 11 May, the Brigade attacked the Afghan’s main positions on Khargali Ridge and Kaffir Kot. The assault was carried Out by 1/XIGR, 2/XIGR and The North Staffordshire Regiment with 123rd Outram’s Rifles in reserve. By mid—day all objectives had been captured and the enemy. forced to retire in disorder, abandoning their guns and much equipment. Although the Afghan regulars showed little inclination to stand and fight, this was not the case with the tribesmen, Shinwaris, who could not resist joining in. Total casualties for the Brigade were 924, mostly wounded.

Of the guns captured by the Battalion, a Gardiner machine gun was later presented to the 1/6GR and a mountain gun to the 1/5GR.

Two days after the battle, 1/XIGR formed part of the advance guard for the move of the 2nd Brigade to Loe Dakka. The next two and a half months were spent at Landi Khana on routine piqueting and road protection duties. During this period the Battalion also provided the escort for the Boundary Commission whose job it was to mark the new boundary with stone pillars. In September the Battalion finally marched back through the Khyber Pass to Nowshera and then, in early 1920, to Abbottabad.

However, they were not to remain there long as, once again, Afghanistan posed a threat, this time at the head of the Kurram Valley where they took up positions overlooking Peiwar Kotal. 1/XIGR and 1/5CR moved to Kohat and then on to Darsamand further up the valley. As the Afghans declined to withdraw, l/XIGR were ordered to advance to Parachinar. This had the desired effect and the Afghans withdrew, leaving the Battalion to enjoy a stay in this pleasant area before returning to Abbottabad.

In June 1920 1/XIGR was hurriedly sent to Iraq to help quell the Arab rebellion that had broken out there. The rebellion was put down but only after the Battalion had seen some sharp fighting for which it was congratulated on its conduct. Lt Col Johnson, who had been awarded the DSO for service in the 3rd Afghan War, received Brevet promotion and Lt R Faulkner a bar to his MC.

Early in 1921 the Battalion sailed for India and returned to Abbottabad where it remained until disbandment in July 1921.

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 20 APRIL, 1920 Page 4582
 I/llth Gurkha Rifles - Capt. (actg. Maj.) H. E. Templer relinquishes his actg. rank on ceasing to be ‘sec. in comd.' of a Bn. 28th Sept. 1919.

4th battalion 70th Chin (Burma) Rifles

Certified Instructor in Army Signalling

His Unit appointment is given as: Adjt 4th battalion 70th Chin Rifles located at Maymyo Burma

20th Infantry Group comprised:

1st Battalion 70th Burma Rifles (2 Coys Burmans, 2 Coys Shans) located in Mandalay
2nd Battalion 70th Burma Rifles (2 Coys Burmans, 2 Coys Karens) located in Malay States
3rd Battalion 70th Kachin Rifles located in Maymyo
4th Battalion 70th Chin Rifles located in Maymyo
Training Battalion located in Meiktila

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 9 Feb 1923 Page 999
The promotion of the following officers to the rank of Captain is antedated to the dates mentioned against their names: —3rd May 1919.  Harold Edward Templer,

The KING- has approved the retirement of the following officers, under the provisions of the Royal Warrants, dated 25th April 1922 and 25th April 1923, with effect from the dates specified:—

INDIAN ARMY - Captains: H. E. Templer. 6th July 1923.

In about 1922 the Indian and British Army were subject to enormous reductions - the Geddes Act.  At that time if you were a regular officer in the Indian Army you could accept a gratuity as land in Kenya or a very small pension. Harold moved to Kenya in 1923.

World War II

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 2 May 1944 Page 1989

A.C.F Section The undermentioned to be 2nd Lts - Harold Edward TEMPLER (199050) 10 Jan 1940


The undermentioned relinquish their commns.: — 1st June 1946: — War Subs. Capt. H. E. TEMPLER (199050) and – is granted the hon. rank of Maj.


2nd Lt H E Templer c 1940                                                               Major H E Templer c 1946

Emigrated to Kenya in 1923 and married Aileen Hudson

Became farm apprentice at Soy growing sisal and raising cattle

Became farm manager at Ngogeri Farm at Njoro, the farm belonging to Lord Edgeton of Tatten

Eric Hudson bought Ol’Mara at Subukia and the Templers joined them.

On the death of Eric Hudson, Aileen inherited the farm

During 1939-1945, Harold joined the East African Service Corp. He was seconded to the Military Police and was head MP for Nairobi.

After the war returned to Ol’Mara and seemed to prosper.

Aileen had a heart attack in 1950, after their farm was attacked by the Mau Mau and because of the high altitude they sold the farm

They tried chicken farming near the coast but this failed as the chickens were eaten by the snakes.

Joined the African Land Development  ALDEV.

Obtained leave and returned to England in 1957 - Died in 1958 in London after a short illness.

Aileen returned to East Africa and died a year later

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