Service Ceremonial (Dress Knife)
It is this modern day kukri that stupendously distinct a Gurkha from others and has become an integral part of a Gurkha's official uniform; worn by Gurkha soldiers on parade and on duty...
British Gurkhas Service No.1 Ceremonial Khukuri (Dress Knife)
A soldier retains his “Service Ceremonial” throughout his army career (Other ranks) as a soldier and is a prize possession after retirement.
Service Ceremonial or Dress knife or also known as “No.1 Khukuri” is a standard issue khukuri wore by soldiers on parade and on duty. It is this modern day kukri that stupendously distinct a Gurkha from others and has become an integral part of a Gurkha’s official uniform. It is still currently issued each year to the Gurkhas in the same template however with some minute changes in the shape and style of the khukuri as approved by the panel of selectors.
formation and background of the knife
After the formation of 1st Gurkha unit back in 1815-1816 and getting official recognition from the British in 1857 after the “Great Indian Mutiny” many Gurkha knives have been issued to Gurkhas amongst which “Service Ceremonial” is the latest version till date which was actually issued very late that is only in around early 1990’s. The need for a better looking kukri knife (especially the scabbard), to bring more tidiness (uniform) and probably to ease the work load of the carrier may have obliged the supply of this kukri to the recruits by the army. Soldiers were found polishing the standard issue (Sarkhari Khukuris; GI5 and Service No.1) and sometime even changing the original buffalo hide scabbard to patent leather on their own to meet the demand of army to maintaining discipline (shininess), and which tradition continued till early 1990’s. It is therefore only with the initiative of TB BK of KHHI and a few set of dedicated and knowledgeable Gurkha officers the “Service Ceremonial” was finally realized and started its issue from 1993. Service Ceremonial’s inbuilt very shiny patent leather case and mirror polished blade brought the much needed neatness to the kukri and blended with the uniform exceptionally well. This feature also saved time and labor of a soldier of “Shining the khukuri” that had to be done in the past by earlier soldiers. Khukuri veteran and master craftsman TB BK who started supplying khukuri to British Gurkhas since 1989 knew the importance and necessities of the Service Ceremonial and thus started the campaign of the khukuri which was finally approved and became an official issued from 1993.
Making and the purpose
Service Ceremonial has “Nepal” and “Recruitment Date” stamped in the blade to denote the origin and year of recruitment of a soldier.
The overall look of the khukuri is very shinny, from blade to handle to scabbard to the two small accompanying knives, which chiefly enforced selectors to pick this knife as the “No.1 Issue Kukri” to new soldiers. The scabbard is made from high quality extra shiny pattern leather to furnish intense shininess and smartness to the uniform and the carrier himself in whole.
Gurkhas also carry this khukuri on events like "Ceremonial Kukri Drill" and on special army occasions attended by high-ranking military officers, VIP dignitaries, honorable guests etc. During the presentation they withdraw the khukuri from scabbard and hold it out for the guest to inspect.
Service Ceremonial has a simple basic khukuri blade with brass fixtures. It has Buffalo Horn handle fitted to go with the boots and belt of a carrying soldier. The 10” long blade is highly polished to go with the shinny patent leather scabbard. A rat tail tang goes through the handle (hidden) which is peened over at the brass pommel (butt cap). A protective brass chape (tip) is also fitted in the scabbard for support and good look. Twin belt-loop frog with brass bottoms at the back as seen in the picture is fitted in the scabbard for the large standard issue belt to go through.
Two accompanying knives “Karda (Small Knife)” and “Chakmak (Sharpener)” are also highly polished.
Service Ceremonial is mainly a decorative kukri to honor the most formidable soldiers, a collectible item of the legendary Gurkhas and an iconic souvenir with historic significance and country’s pride to take back home as a memento to pay one’s respect and tribute to the Gurkhas, or even as gift for loved ones from Nepal that no other things could compete or surpass.
Overall length: 16 inches
Blade length: 10.5 inch approx.
Materials: Patent leather scabbard, water buffalo horn handle, 2 x small knives