The John Masters Story

Veteran Fighter

"For Gallantry in Action"

 "At the battalion parade immediately before his departure, John was then presented with a kukri, the fighting knife carried only by Gurkhas.  The Gurkha sergeant-major in charge of the parade turned to a Gurkha soldier and lifted the pure silver and velvet sheath from a wine velvet cushion.  He removed the knife, not to be drawn unless intended to be used, and dropped it lightly against his hand to draw blood. The SM turned to a second Gurkha soldier holding a wine velvet cushion containing a block of wood and a copper penny.  The SM  struck the penny with the sharp blade.  The penny fell in half, cleanly cut.  The SM checked the blade for any marking, resheathed the knife and replaced it on the cushion.  It was now ready for presentation to John in front of the Battalion.  The inscription on the sheath read: 'Presented to Captain JM Masters from 2nd Battalion 2nd KEO Goorkhas for Gallantry in Action in Sarawak, 2nd September 1965.' "

"The intials 'KEO' stood for "King Edward's Own'.  The kukri was further inscribed with the name of the silversmith who had crafted the sheath with the saber-tooth tiger of Borneo, local monkeys and flowers, the flamingo as the traditional bird of Borneo, the badge of King Edward VII's Own Gurkhas, and with the two little traditional knives attached that were historically used for cutting and eating food."

"Both events were more than enough to throw John into a highly emotional state as he realisied the honours that had been bestowed on him.  He had one more unknown to come..."
A Bridge Over - the story of John Masters