To read the obituary of Major Piers Erskine-Tulloch ex-2/2 GR who died on 9th February 2013, click on the link. Major Erskine-Tulloch Obituary
On 28th March 2013 Colonel BG, Colonel James Robinson spoke to Yograj Rai about the Brigade of Gurkhas. You can listen to the full interview by clicking on the link
The Last elements of 1 RGR return from Afghanistan.
To see the BBC and Daily Telegraph coverage, click on the links
Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Colonel James Robinson shares his thoughts on his inaugural visit to Brunei as Col BG. To hear the full interview click on the link.
For Gurkha Company’s March e-newsletter click on the link
For February’s e-newsletter click on the link
Gurkha Company launches first e-letter. To view click on the link
By Sgt Bijay Limbu GSPS
“The Prince of Wales supports Her Majesty The Queen in her role as the focal point for national pride, unity and allegiance, bringing people together across all sections of society, representing stability and continuity, highlighting achievement, and emphasising the importance of service and the voluntary sector by encouragement and example.”
– Clarence House
As I take a sip of my brew and gaze out the window towards the Caledonian hills, far across the horizon from Glasgow city centre, perhaps waiting for some inspiration before picking up my pen to write this article, my eye unwittingly catches the beautiful panoramic formation of the clouds forming above the Caledonians.
At this moment, I am vividly reminded of the days I spent at Birkhall, the official Scottish residence of The Prince of Wales. I would travel to Scotland frequently from my base at Clarence House in London, as part of HRH’s staff to assist with the running of the Estate and other day to day activities. These cloud formations I see before me today are very similar to the ones I witnessed many times above Beinn Chiochan at Birkhall, also known as Lochnagar. My mind wonders further, and I remember the treacherous walks up Lochnagar with ferocious winds hindering progress and the angry rain with mist trying to blind my view of the tracks.
I am suddenly brought back to the present day by a rush of cold wind through the window. Now, realising my empty mug, I stroll along the corridor of the APC towards the tea bay for a refill. Previously, I would walk along the corridors of the Clarence House to recharge my cup of tea. The ancient sculptures, tapestry, furniture, porcelain and historical artefacts filling the corridors would give a feeling of travelling in a time capsule through history.
It is late Friday evening, after the hustle and bustle of the day’s business; the corridors of the APC are quiet. At Clarence House Friday evening would be the busiest of the week. We would pack hurriedly and rush to Highgrove in Gloucestershire.
‘Time and Tide wait for no man’ and neither did mine. Two years passed as quick as a breath. Indeed, I had been extremely lucky and privileged to be seconded as the Gurkha Orderly to Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Before my secondment, I recall HRH visiting the Brigade of Gurkhas on numerous occasions and during my secondment further visits were undertaken to 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in January 2009 when they were stationed at Sir John Moore Barracks, Folkestone. In July 2009, HRH bid farewell to the outgoing Colonel of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, Lt General PTC Pearson CBE and welcomed Brigadier JC Lawrence MBE as his successor at Clarence House. In February 2010, HRH visited 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles on Salisbury Plain before their deployment to Afghanistan and on return presented the Battalion with the medals in January 2011 at Sir John Moore Barracks, Folkestone.
To sum up HRH’s role, I evoke leafing through a book lying astray in the butler’s pantry of Clarence House, ‘The English Constitution’, published in 1867, written by a Victorian economist and writer, Walter Bagehot (1826-77). The particular line regarding the constitutional monarchy “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn” is a fitting ethos of the work of HRH, the heir apparent to our reigning Sovereign today.
HRH The Prince of Wales likes to maintain very close links with his former Gurkha Orderlies. On Wednesday 20 February 2013, HRH The Prince of Wales invited all his former Gurkha Orderlies and Colonel James Robinson (Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas) for luncheon at Clarence House.
My previous experiences of the London traffic are not yet a distant memory. Better to be safe than sorry, I took a bus an hour early. The gamble paid off, I arrived at the Cleveland Row Entrance opposite Clarence House on time. Mohandas Gandhi once said ‘There is more to life than increasing its speed’, but I wonder what Gandhi would think today, if he was stuck on a stalled bus in Central London trying to get somewhere important!
By 1230 hrs, all the invitees had gathered at the Cleveland Row Entrance. As customary, The Equerry to TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall Maj Pete Flynn PARA accompanied us to the Morning Room of Clarence House. All of HRH Staff were gathered there to greet us and I wouldn’t be wrong to admit that Clarence House came to a stand still for once. Being in the Morning Room as a guest this time and being looked after felt surreal and instantly brought floods of memories of days when I stood in this very room looking after HRH guests.
HRH Prince of Wales joined us at 1300 hrs. On arrival, HRH welcomed Colonel James Robinson, the newly appointed Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, after which, Colonel Robinson briefed HRH with the BG updates and commitments. HRH then took turns to meet us.
Meeting with HRH brought vivid memories of my days of Royal duties and how much I missed it. HRH was keen to know about our days after Royal duties, families and current work. Truly a gentleman at heart, world’s leading charity entrepreneur and tailor made for his role; to me he is a finished article of a modern Royal. After a group photograph in the Library Room commemorating the first Gurkha Orderlies reunion, the event concluded at 1400 hrs.
On behalf of all the former Orderlies, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to Their Royal Highness’ for a wonderful and memorable visit. The food was exquisite and enjoyed by us all but of course it’s the sentiment behind the gathering that meant so much to us. We greatly look forward to meeting again in the near future.
By LCpl Ishaq Thakuri
This year’s nationwide The Hospitality Show British Open competition was held in the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham between 21st to 23rd January. This competition runs every year where we get an opportunity to show our culinary skills in various categories. There were larder, pastry, sugar craft, restaurant plates, live cooking and numerous other competition classes.
Three Gurkha chefs from 2ITB Gurkha Company Catterick competed in this competition in the “Works in Fat” category. Cpl Kedar Singjali and I were in the senior class and Pte Raju Thapa was in the junior class. I made a horse sculpture as did Cpl Kedar Singjali, whilst Pte Raju made a dragon sculpture. We completed the sculptures by manipulating blocks of fat with our bare hands over a period of two weeks. We took our sculptures on the 20th January to the exhibition where there were many competitors with their piece of art. We were excited about the competition and more importantly about the results. Finally the judges announced the winners: Cpl Kedar Singjali won a silver award; and Pte Raju won a gold award in the junior category. As this was my first competition, to my surprise I won the gold award as a Class Winner, Best in Category and Senior Grand Prix D’Honneur. Most significantly, it is an honour to be declared as a Senior Grand Prix D’Honneur.
Besides producing the various cuisines on a daily basis for soldiers, we managed to do something spectacular with blocks of fat and won fantastic individual rewards. To compete in a national level competition is no ordinary thing, but to be a winner at that level is extra ordinary. To win those prestigious awards was a huge achievement for us, for Gurkha Company, for Gurkha Chefs, for QOGLR and for The Brigade of Gurkhas.
Jai Gurkha Chefs, Jai QOGLR
By Rfn Yalambar Rai
2 RGR have made big waves in the Army sporting community by not only competing in, but by winning the Army Canoe Polo Championships in 2012 and again in 2013! Whilst Elephant and even Bicycle Polo are popular, I believe Canoe Polo is a first in the history of the Royal Gurkhas Rifles and indeed the Brigade of Gurkhas. This may also be the first time Parbate readers have heard about canoe polo and so, if water sports float your boat, read on to find out more about the fastest growing team contact sport (well fastest growing team sport in 2RGR anyway)!
Canoe polo is a very dynamic and aggressive sport that requires adept kayaking skills, good ball control, strong team play and spatial awareness, incredible aerobic and anaerobic fitness and exceptional discipline. A canoe polo squad is made up of ten paddlers, eight in the pool per match, five paddlers in play and three rolling substitutes. The aim of the five paddlers is to get the ball to the other end of an Olympic sized pool and throw the ball into the opposition’s goal which is suspended three meters in the air. You cannot paddle or move with the ball but must throw the ball, within five seconds, to a team mate or a few meters away and then paddle the kayak to retrieve the ball. Players can make a tackle on any opponent within three meters of the ball. To tackle, a player can either ram his kayak against the opponents’ kayak, known as a kayak tackle or push the opponent upside down, this is known as a player tackle. A kayak tackle can be as hard as the player can paddle but cannot be between an angle of 80 – 100°, this is to prevent broken ribs or damaged kidneys, common injuries in canoe polo. Player tackles must be a one handed push below the neck. If the opponent capsizes, and attempts to Eskimo roll the tackler must allow him to get his head and one shoulder out of the water before pushing him back under water. In defence, the aim is to kayak tackle the attacking team to drive them away from your goal, and player tackle anyone near the ball.
So how did 2RGR paddle its way into Army canoeing and regimental history? Since the return to regimental duty of Major Hellier, Officer Commanding C (Tamandu) Company, 2RGR Canoe Club has been reborn. On return from a particularly arduous and challenging deep jungle exercise, even by C Coy’s extremely high standards, news of the Army Canoe Polo Championships at the end of November 2012 reached 2RGR Canoe Club. After a week intensive training twice a day, two teams flew to UK to brave horrendous winter winds and floods to compete, luckily indoors. The competition was sponsored by the Royal Navy and held at the RN Sports Lottery funded gym complex, HMS Temeraire.
The 2012 Army championships saw paddlers come from across the army including the RLC (2005 and 2007 Army Champions), Royal Signals, Int Corps, AGC and even the RAMC. 2RGR B Team nearly caused an upset when following the Qualities of a Sportsman to the letter, in particular ‘plays the game for the game’s sake and plays for his side and not for himself’ were beating 2RGR A Team which would have ensured a RLC victory. Luckily two last minute goals in quick succession by Major Hellier pushed 2 RGR A Team into the final with 2 RGR B Team drifting into third place. The final was equally close with the RLC two one up at half time. 2 RGR A Team showed incredible composure under pressure coming back to win the final three goals to two. With 2 RGR in first and third place, although the RLC had come agonizingly close, 2 RGR were triumphant and crowned the Army Champions. We returned to Brunei and rested before Christmas leave.
Due to other Royal Navy commitments the Army and Inter-Services Canoe Polo Championships were moved from November to February: 2 RGR had weeks before we had to defend our new title, during which another arduous jungle exercise (Ex Ulu Sikhari) stood in our way. Canoe training had to wait as the battalion deployed into the Labi. Following intense training of two one and a half hour training sessions a day for ten days we returned to ‘Pompi’ to compete in the Army Canoe Polo Championships 2013. This time it was the REME (2011 Army Champions) who stood in the way of a RGR rollover. (We knew the REME had a good team and good financial support as our old and damaged boats we train on, are their ‘hand-me-downs’). I am proud to announce that not only did 2 RGR A team beat the REME six goals to four, but that 2RGR B team also beat them to secure first and second place in the Army Canoe Polo Championships 2013.
Following both Army Championships 2 RGR paddlers then remained for the Inter-Services Championships. Most of the 2 RGR paddlers were selected to paddle in the Army Canoe Polo squad and got the opportunity to paddle with and against ex-Olympic paddlers and a couple of GBR Canoe Polo players. The standard of the Inter-Services compared to the Army Championships was like going from the Championship to the Premiership. It has given 2 RGR Canoe Club a taster and an aiming mark in terms of standard of kayaking as well as the game, and hopefully not an unrealistic aspiration as to the quality of kit and equipment we could expect if we are to compete at a higher level. The Inter-Services provided extremely valuable experience and has lifted the standard of 2 RGR canoe polo. Following the Championships, Maj Hellier has received contact from the Combined Services Team, GBR Canoe Polo Team and an invitation for the Gurkhas to compete in a Canoe Polo competition in Italy in July 2014.
From a personal perspective the whole experience, both on and off the water was incredible. When not competing we visited the Gurkha Museum and our gratitude goes to the curator who gave us a bespoke tour. We also visited HMS Warrior 1860, one of the world’s most significant historic warships. She was built to counter French developments in naval shipbuilding and when she was launched she was the largest, fastest and most powerful (in terms of firepower and armour) warship in the world. So powerful in fact that none of Britain’s enemies ever dared take her on in battle. She retired twenty-two years later having never fired a shot in anger! She did however revolutionise naval warships and was the prelude to the Dreadnought. The Dreadnought contributed significantly to the arms race which in turn contributed to the start of the First World War. I thoroughly enjoyed both the Gurkha Museum and my first time onboard a warship and took a lot away from the visits. I also gained much from meeting and interacting with members from across the Army and indeed the other Services. Thanks should go to both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force who were extremely kind and supportive to the Gurkhas, as were the staff of HMS Warrior.
On the water I feel I have developed my personal skills, improved my paddling fitness and now have a far better understanding of the game and the tactics. I learnt that in canoe polo you must control your aggression, any cheating is counter-productive with two referees and the game is very strict which in turn teaches self discipline. Being unable to paddle or move with the ball makes canoe polo a true team sport, regardless of personal ability. If you have the ball you have five seconds to use it or lose it which makes it a fast thinking and action game. If you are within three meters of the ball the opposition are trying to ram you at full speed or capsize you so you must think under pressure, be situationally aware, be decisive, operate as a team, have excellent personal skills and be extremely fit. It is a contact sport and being rammed at full speed by an opponent certainly takes its toll so you need to be physically and mentally fit. Skills that are useful on operations as much as there are on the water. That is why 2 RGR won the Army Canoe Polo Championships.
Jai 2 RGR