Gurkha portraits grid. Nepal

Gurkha Pensioner Portraits

Commission for the Gurkha Welfare Scheme to photograph their work supporting retired Gurkha soldiers and their widows.

Now in their 80s and 90s, many of this fading generation fought in World War II and were demobbed without a regular pension. From its charitable funds, the GWS grants a discretionary pension to veterans who fall on hard times in their old age, and this pension passes in full to their widows. Four times a year an ageing cohort of ex-Gurkha soldiers, and widows of soldiers, make their way along Himalayan paths and tracks from their home villages to GWS welfare bases to collect their pension.

Realising the narrowing window of opportunity, I improvised studios at three bases and photographed around 200 of this unique group of men and women.



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