Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

News and updates from around the world

Gurkha Company’s Recruit Library takes shape with help from HQBG and World Book Night

Gurkha Company recruits have been improving their English ability alongside their military skills, thanks to Reading Agency schemes such as World Book Night and the Six Book Challenge.

Whilst all recruits attend an 8 week English language course, where they work towards achieving qualifications in functional skills, these national schemes have given them the opportunity to develop their English outside of the classroom and hopefully instil a deeper passion for reading in general.

Free books to promote World Book Night, support from Catterick Garrison Library in setting up the Six Book Challenge and grants from the Brigade of Gurkhas to purchase military history books will all be used to establish a lasting library within Gurkha Company. This will allow future generations of recruits to gain a wider understanding of Gurkha and British culture and aid the development of their English in an enjoyable and informative way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Andrew Chambers, OIC English Language Wing, reflected, “All of our recruits are eager to learn and absorb information at an incredible rate. Providing them access to a wider range of materials will not only allow them to consolidate and enhance their work in the classroom but also give them deeper insight into a range of cultural and military issues.

Recruits, Samso Wanem Phago and Suraj Thapa Magar, also appreciated the importance of reading in their spare time, “By reading these books we can improve our English. We can also make a habit out of reading books and lead us to communicate better with other British people. All of us are grateful as we now have interesting and exciting books to read.”

 

 

 

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HQBG informed members of the Gurkha Provident Fund in July 2013 that HM Treasury had set up the Equitable Life Payment Scheme (‘the Scheme’) to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life Policyholders who suffered financial losses as a result of Government maladministration which occurred in the regulation of Equitable Life.

In October, the Government announced that the Scheme is being extended until 2015 so that as many eligible policyholders as possible can be paid before the Scheme closes.

HQBG received over 7,500 applications and has been overwhelmed with the response from its members.

The Scheme identified 3,543 members of the Gurkha Provident Fund who are eligible for the scheme and are due a payment. To date, 2,726 of these eligible members have come forward. These members will be contacted by the Scheme in the new year.

Untraced members

The Scheme is very anxious to trace these 817 remaining eligible members who are due a payment who have not contacted HQBG and have asked for our help to trace them.

If you haven’t already checked your eligibility please do so as soon as possible. You can do this by phoning the Scheme’s helpline on 0300 0200 150. Please have your policy number at hand before calling. Your policy number is made up of the Gurkha Provident Fund scheme number which is A0239 followed by your army number.

The 3,500 applicants who were either not eligible for the Scheme or were not due a payment should have received a letter from HQBG during October and November to explain their status. These letters provided information to members on how to find out more information on the Scheme’s website and gave their contact details.

 

Ineligible policyholders

If you have been told that you are ineligible for the Scheme but believe that this is incorrect, please check the eligibility criteria on the Scheme’s website. If you believe that you are eligible, you must send evidence showing that you had paid into a With-Profits policy during the qualifying period, preferably by sending the Scheme documentation from Equitable Life such as a statement. Please send photocopies and not original documents. Full details on eligibility are available on eligible policies page on the Scheme’s website.

Members who have been told that they are not due a payment

Not all members who are eligible for the Scheme are due a payment. To be due a payment, your individual policy must have made a Relative Loss. A Relative Loss is where the actual returns received, or expected to be received, from Equitable Life are less than if the investment had been made in a similar product with a comparable company. Some Equitable Life policies made a Relative Gain so these policies are not due a payment. In addition, the Scheme does not make payments on Group scheme policies that are due less than £10.

The Scheme’s website provides answers to many questions you may have. There is a telephone helpline that can check on a policy’s eligibility and answer general questions but cannot discuss individual cases over the phone. The phone number is 0300 0200 150 and it is open between 9am – 5pm on weekdays (except Bank Holidays). Calls may be recorded and are charged at the national rate.

Alternatively, you can write to:
Equitable Life Payment Scheme
PO Box 4110
Glasgow
G58 1EL

 

 

On Friday 11 April 2014 history  was made when Office Cadet Subash Gurung was commissioned into the Royal Gurkha Rifles at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the first Gurkha soldier to be commissioned as a Direct Entry officer into the RGR.

OCdt Subash was recruited into the Brigade of Gurkhas in 2006 and completed his initial training at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick in 2007.  Having been identified as a soldier with commissioning potential, he successfully completed the Army’s Officer Selection Board. At Sandhurst he had to attend the RGR Regimental Selection Board and was up against strong competition. However he scored well and was given one of the few places for RGR.

Also in attendance at the Sovereign’s Parade on 11 April were his parents who had flown in from Pokhara, Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas and Acting Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel James Robinson, and the RGR Regimental Secretary, Major (Retired) Bruce McKay MBE.  Lt Subash will now complet his Platoon Commander’s Course at the Infantry Battle School Brecon and then become a Platoon Commander with 2 RGR.

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On Thursday 10 April 2014 Gurkha Company held an opening ceremony for the Shivalinga statue in the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. The statue, donated to  the Company in 2012 by His Holiness Swami Shri Gopal Sharan Devacharya Ji Maharaj, is housed in a bespoke platform and annexe designed and built by the Queen’s Gurkha engineers (QGE) and QGE instructors serving in Gurkha Company Catterick.

Many distinguished guests and members of the community attended the event, including Brigadier Maddan (Commandant of the School of Infantry), Colonel Robinson (Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas), Acharya Krishan Kant Attri MBE (Hindu Chaplain for the Armed Forces) and senior representatives from the Hindu communities in Middlesbrough, Bradford and Newcastle. The ribbon cutting and opening service were followed by a delicious meal, kindly provided by the Hindu Cultural Society of Middlesbrough. This event provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen the important bonds between Gurkha Company and the local community.

Click here to view BFBS coverage.

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DG Capability and also Colonel of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals, General N A W Pope CBE, cut the ceremonial ribbon and declared HQBG’s new offices at the Former Army Staff College at RMA Sandhurst officially open for business today. The morning event was hosted by Colonel BG, Colonel James Robinson, and involved a tour of the facilities, the welcoming of new HQ staff members and tea and coffee.

“The Gurkhas have been associated with Sandhurst through the training and transport companies for many years, and coming here today you get a sense of coming home,” said General Pope at the opening. “The boys have done a fantastic job of taking  a piece of the former staff college and turning it into a bit of Gurkha land. It’s worked its magic on me already and I think we have to take that magic and make sure it seeps into the rest of Sandhurst and the wider public as a whole. We are now where we want to be; close to our organisations we work with and closer to our people”

Colonel BG also used the moment to officially welcome new communications officer, Ken Pike, and the G200 project officer, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bruce OBE, with an official brigade tie and a traditional khada. He added: “These two new additions will be important in ensuring the success of next year’s celebrations surrounding 200 years of service to the British crown. With some senior staff set for changeover we need to ensure there is some consistency and continuity of purpose and Robert and Ken can help to achieve that at the planning and communications level.”

In order to obtain the contact details of HQBG Staff please contact – 01276 412662 (Civ) 94261 2662 (Mil) or email: Gurkhasbde-Inbox@mod.uk

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Col BG welcoming new G200 project officer, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bruce OBE

 

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Col BG welcoming new communications officer, Mr Ken Pike

 

 

Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas has now moved to Former Army Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 4PQ.

In order to obtain the contact details of HQBG Staff please contact – 01276 412662 (Civ) 94261 2662 (Mil) or email: Gurkhasbde-Inbox@mod.uk

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