Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Queen’s Birthday Honours include members of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Robert Blackmore from The Royal Logistics Corps, former CO of QOGLR, was awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire as an Officer. He served with the QOGLR for almost 3 years in 10 Tpt QOGLR based in Aldershot.

Meanwhile Warrant Officer Class 2 Khadakbahadur Chhetri (Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support) received the Meritorious Service Medal for his excellent work setting up the Brigade support to transition for redundees.

Sergeant Dillikeshar Rai received the Chief of General Staffs’ Certificate of Commendation for his work as a 2 RGR Platoon Sergeant. Corporal Arjun Samyu Limbu and Rfn Raju Roka also received the Commander Land Forces Commendations as Anti-Tank Section Commander and Rifleman, 2 RGR respectively.

Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (as an Officer) –

Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Robert Blackmore, The Royal Logistic Corps

Meritorious Service Medal –

WO2 Khadakbahadur Chhetri GSPS

CGS’ Certificate of Commendation –

Sgt Dillikeshar Rai 2 RGR

Commander Land Forces Commendation –

Cpl Arjun Samyu Limbu 2 RGR
Rfn Raju Roka 2 RGR

BFBS has announced the fixture list for the 2014 Nepal and Kathmandu Cups to be played during Brigade week in July. The Nepal cup is the premier sporting event of the season featuring eight football teams including 1 and 2  RGR, QGS, QOGLR, GWM, GSPS, and QGE. The Kathmandu cup meanwhile will feature retired Gurkhas representing their former units in a similar fashion.

The first kickoff will be on July 4, 2014 at 2PM in Maidstone.

Nepal Cup 2014 Fixtures:

Pool A                     Kick Off Times/Venue                                                                   

2 RGR vs QGS        2:PM/04 Jul 14/Maidstone QGE

GWM vs GCS          2:PM/07 Jul 14/Maidstone QGE

Pool B

GSPS vs QGE          10:Am/04 Jul 14/Maidstone QGE

1 RGR vs QOGLR   10:AM/07 Jul 14/Maidstone QGE

Kathmandu Cup 2014 Fixture:

Pool A                       Kick Off Times/Venue

QOGLR vs QGS        9:Am/11 Jul 14/ Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot

Pool B

RGR vs QGE             9:Am/11 Jul 14/ Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot

On 14 Jun around 250 Military Personnel, including  Gurkha Company (Sittang) and the Band of the Brigade  of Gurkhas, marched through the town of Camberley to celebrate the Freedom of the Borough and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1. Thousands of supportive public turned out to line the streets of Camberley. The historic parade began from the RMA entrance on the London Road and halted opposite the Surrey Heath Borough Council Office. The parade presented arms followed by an inspection from the Mayor of Surrey Heath Borough Council. Freedom of the Borough symbolises the highest honour that has cemented the historic relationship between Camberley, Surrey Heath and the Royal Military Academy. Cheering crowds, marching cadets and Gurkha Company Sittang were entertained by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

LCpl Ramesh Rai

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HQBG/GBA BHELA (FRI 11 JUL 14) – APPLICATION FOR BHELA CURRY LUNCH TICKETS BY 27 JUNE 2014

Reference:

A.  BS 102 dated 11 Jun 14

1.     Tickets Purchase.  With only 3 weeks remaining before the GBA Bhela, please apply direct to your Unit Bhela Representative or through your Regimental Association Honorary Secretary for your Bhela Curry Lunch ticket for the GBA Bhela,  Kathmandu and Nepal Cup football matches that will take place on Friday 11 July 2014.  To encourage early sales, tickets sold before 27 June 14 will be at £7.50.  Tickets sold after the 27th June and on the day itself, will be sold at £10 per ticket.

2.     Outline Programme.  The outline programme is as follows:

a.     0900 – 1200    Kathmandu Cup.

b.     1000 – 1500    Employment Fair.

c.      1215 – 1400    Interval Period for Bhela Curry Lunch & Parachute Free Fall display.

d.     1400 – 1545    Nepal Cup Final.

e.     1440 – 1500    Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas Display during Nepal Cup half time

f.       1600 – 1630    Prize Presentation.

3.     Food & Drink Outlets.  The following food outlets will be on site:

a.     Nirmaya Rodhi Ghar ‘Gurkha Curry Lunch’ with 1 x canned drink (soft or beer). Gurkha snacks will also be sold. Click here to view the food menu

b.     ‘Hot and Tasty’ Hot dog & Burger Van.

c.      Tony Fresco Ice Cream Van.

d.     Soft drinks can be purchased at all outlets.

e.     Beer will be sold from the Nirmaya Rodhi Ghar food stall between 1230 – 1400 and 1545 – 1730.

4.     For further information please contact the Brigade Secretary, Major N D Wylie Carrick.

Click to listen BFBS interview with Col BG

 

You will be aware that Tranche 4 of the Army Redundancy Programme was announced today. This is a sad occasion and means all eligible personnel in the Brigade of Gurkhas (BG) will have been notified of the outcome of the redundancy selection boards through their Notifying Officers.

We have all known for sometime, since the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in late 2010, that the Army was to reduce in size to approx 82000 by 1 Apr 15 through a combination of redundancy, normal manning controls and natural wastage. The cuts in our strength have not been unexpected and the Brigade fully understands that it must be part of the Army downsizing and the planned redundancy programme as we were over strength against our establishment. The reality is no matter how painful these reductions are, they are essential for the continued efficiency of the BG in order to prepare it for a place in the future Army ORBAT as a steady and manned organisation in manning balance.

Redundancy is never an easy issue, and many soldiers in the Brigade will be rightly concerned because they are being made redundant. However, I want to reassure you that HQBG will lead on all policy and support aspects of Gurkha redundancy within the BG. If you are selected, help us to help you take charge of your own future to get the best possible solution for you as an individual and for your family. So far 680 soldiers have been made redundant in Tranches 1, 2 and 3. Indeed, those who have left already and decided to stay in the UK have been most successful in establishing themselves and finding employment so there is much ‘best practice’ to follow. Be positive, be proud of your service and use it your advantage in your future careers. You are a Gurkha soldier, the best of the best. Employers recognise this and there are a number who specifically seek the special qualities that Gurkhas are famous for. What is a traumatic event, leaving the service that you enjoy, has the potential to provide you with some real opportunities for a new life beyond the Army.

Some key points on Tranche 4 redundancy:

• BG Tranche 4 Summary. Tranche 4 is the final phase of the redundancy programme, although this will be of little comfort to those of you who have been selected for redundancy. A rigorous and careful redundancy selection process has been conducted by the Director Manning (Army) and the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow. I have witnessed the process and it has been transparent, logical and fair. A total of approximately 210 have now been selected from the BG for Tranche 4; this figure will continue to reduce as soldiers are successful in transferring to elsewhere in the Armed Forces. This is a significant reduction from the 354 announced in Jan 14. Most of our soldiers are not volunteers and will therefore have 12 months, before they leave the Army on 12 Jun 15, to apply for Indefinite leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, conduct resettlement training and start a second career. There are 9 volunteers who will leave in Dec 14.

• Army Transfer Policy. The new Army Transfer policy is designed to maximise opportunities for personnel to transfer in support of achieving full manning of the Army 2020 structure. This policy is applicable to Gurkhas being made redundant on Tranche 4. Interested personnel are encouraged to apply to transfer trades, particularly as an alternative to terminating their service prematurely, providing a vacancy exists and you meet the relevant transfer criteria as laid down in the Official Army Vacancy List (OAVL). Your RCMOs have been briefed to assist you should you wish to take this opportunity. Over 800 Gurkhas have achieved transfer to elsewhere in the Armed Forces since 2007, many at the expense of being made redundant.

• The Reserves. As the Army seeks to man the Reserves to 30,000 trained soldiers through OP FORTIFY as part of Army 2020, there is most definitely a place for ex-Gurkhas in the Reserve where you will be doing a job with the same skill sets and using the experience you have developed over your service. Service with the Reserves involves a small commitment of a number of training days each year and an annual training camp with similar rates of pay, as well as a bonus for joining from the Regulars. You should contact your RCMOs who will brief you on the Offer and the commitment. You will be welcome at any Reserve unit of any cap badge at any location. It will give you an opportunity to continue to soldier and it will provide another financial income.

What happens after the announcement?

• Transition Delivery. The HQBG SO3 Transition will work closely with the chain of command, potential employers of ex-Gurkhas in the UK and the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to ensure that opportunities are maximized as our redundees/Gurkha service leavers and their families prepare for transition to civilian life. There is a great deal of liaison going on with a large number of companies who want to employ ex-Gurkhas. We are giving them authority to liaise direct with our units. The next HQBG Employment Fair will be held at Aldershot on 11 Jul 14 specifically aimed at providing job opportunities for Tranche 4.

• Immigration/Settlement. A key step in the transition to civilian life is the
process of settlement, securing the necessary visa to remain in the UK and enjoy the full range of welfare and social benefits. Points to note:

• Status. Think about regularizing your immigration status, and that of
your family (unless they are already settled or are British Citizens) in good time, to ensure a definite chance of securing a job and access to public funds such as job seekers allowance, tax credits, child benefits etc. For any soldier that seeks to resettle to Nepal there is additional support available.

• ILR. HQBG have special arrangements with the Home Office to assist in processing settlement applications (ILR) from Gurkha redundees. All ILR applications will continue to be submitted centrally through HQBG. We will process them very quickly, send them to the Home Office and monitor their progress to ensure that they are fast-tracked. Where problems arise we will try and resolve them for you quickly. This gives Gurkhas a real chance of getting a job as they leave or shortly afterwards – which is my intent.

• Immigration Roadshows. As in previous Tranches, Army Sec and HQBG, in conjunction with the Home Office, will continue to run bespoke Immigration road-shows for Gurkha service leavers to ensure that the ILR application process and timelines are fully understood. The next round of roadshows will be held at the following locations:

o 16 Jul 14 – ITC Catterick
o 23 Jul 14 – 10 QOGLR Aldershot
o 03 Sep 14 – 2 RGR Shorncliffe

Please remember that you are not alone in this journey to civilian life; your Regimental HQ and HQBG are here to help. The redundancy package being offered is a good one and there are plenty of opportunities for work for ex-Gurkha soldiers. Indeed, those who have left already and decided to stay in the UK have been very successful in establishing themselves and finding employment. An army career is never for life and all of us will have to move to a second career at some stage; it is just unfortunate that some of you now have to take this step earlier than you originally planned. I am confident that we shall be able to seek the best possible conditions of transition to civilian life for you and your families and I shall continue to keep a close watch on the overall management programme as we move closer to Jun 15.
Col BG

The 2 RGR shooting team has had tremendous success at the 3(UK) Divisional Operational Shooting Competition (DOSC) last week.

The Gurkhas from Shorncliffe came away from the Bulford ranges with a number of trophies despite fierce competition from 50 teams from across 3 Div.

There were total of 11 matches including individual and team shoots.  The following matches were won by 2 RGR, who were ably led by Sgt Naresh Gurung, Sgt Sanjib Rai and Sgt Jastaraj Rai:

Individual Winner

  • Sgt Sanjib Rai (Overall 3Div Champion) Sp Coy
  • Rfn Shusil Rai (Rupel Cup) B Coy
  • Rfn Deepak Gurung (Moving Target) A Coy

Team Winner

  • Overall and team overall team Combat Arms Winner for 3 Div OSC 2014.
  • Match 24 (Fire team combat snap shooting) Winner and Runner up 2 RGR
  • Match 22 (Fire team close combat) Runner up 2 RGR
  • Match 26 (Fire team falling plate) Runner up 2 RGR
  • Match 51 (Advance fleeting encounter match) Winner 2 RGR
  • Match 43 (Defence match) Winner 2 RGR
  • Unknown match (Moving targets in 200 metres shoot) Runner up 2 RGR

 

 

30 Gurkha soldiers have taken part in a logistics depot tour in Paddock Wood on June 4th, after HQBG has set up a close working relationship with some of the exhibitors at the Shorncliffe Employment Fair.
Bidvest 3663, a catering logistics and supplier company looking to recruit military personnel leaving the service, offered the Brigade a familiarisation day at its depot near Folkestone. The visit included a tour of the site facilities, a briefing from a team of 3663 staff, and the opportunity to apply for positions available in the company.
The event is the first result of a close working collaboration between HQBG and a number of private sector companies aimed at helping those leaving the brigade through retirement or redundancy.
The day was a great success; the Depot staff were impressed with a fantastic turnout and made many posts directly available to attendees. Feedback from those who attended the event was extremely positive and highly appreciated the initiative. A majority filled the job application instantly.
A 3663 team from Paddock Wood has confirmed their attendance for the next Employment Fair which is being held at Aldershot on 11th July 2014 and they are very much looking forward to offer further employment opportunities for the Gurkhas in future years.

 

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(For Donations please see www.justgiving.com/gurkhabhuros14)

We are all privileged to have served in The Brigade of Gurkhas throughout our military careers.    When we joined our Regiments we made a compact with our soldiers that we would support each-other to the best of our abilities, and we now reaffirm our determination to help any of our retired soldiers that need support, anywhere and at anytime.   None of us is in any doubt as to the huge debt of honour that we, as a nation, owe these magnificent warriors from Nepal – fearless in war, strong in adversity, and the staunchest and most loyal of friends.

Several of us are, or have been, Trustees of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, and we all support it unreservedly.   This charity makes a huge difference to the lives of our retired soldiers and to their communities, and it ensures that our old soldiers live out their lives in safety, good health and with their pride undiminished: it is the very least that we can do.

We four – “The Gurkha Bhuros” (the old Gurkha men!)  – have joined forces for the fifth successive year to raise funds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.   In the previous four years we have raised over £24,000 thanks to people like you and we are incredibly grateful – please continue to support us, the Gurkha Welfare Trust, and our old soldiers.

Trailwalker 2014 is no simple walk, but rather a very hard 100 km (62.5 Miles) non-stop team challenge across the hilly  South Downs that must be completed in less than 30 hrs: it takes place on 26/27 July 2014.    It is very demanding for fit young people, let alone us somewhat more mature fellows, and we will suffer, but for the very worthy cause.  Please make it worthwhile – support us by giving what you can.    Our Gurkha soldiers have fought for – and died for – this nation since 1815.   We cannot ever repay their sacrifices, but we can help those of our retired soldiers who need help to live out their lives in dignity.

Team Members.

  • John Anderson.  John, 68, served in The Brigade of Gurkhas from 1966 to 2000, commanding 6th QEO Gurkha Rifles from 1985 to 1988.   He is Chairman of the Gurkha Brigade Association, President of his Regimental Association and a Trustee of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, as well as being involved with several other Regimental and Gurkha charities.  This is his fifth consecutive year as part of the Gurkha Bhuros team.
  • Ian Rigden.  Ian, 51, is a serving officer and has in the past served as Colonel, The Brigade of Gurkhas. He was commissioned into 2 King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles in 1982 and commanded 2 Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles in Brunei and Afghanistan.   Ian thrives on physical challenges – he completed the Marathon Des Sables in 2004 with his wife Zoe and he has competed in the Hong Kong Marathon, the Great London Swim and other challenge events.  He has done Trailwalker six times (with a best time of 17hrs 50mins) and this is his fourth year with the Gurkha Bhuros.
  • Dan Rex.  Dan, 42, is a serving officer currently based at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned into 10 Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles in 1993 and has commanded Gurkhas on operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.   From 2010 to 2012 he served as Equerry to HM The Queen.    He is Chairman of the Royal Gurkha Rifles Association. This is his first year with the Gurkha Bhuros.
  • Yam Rana.  Yam, 50, is a serving officer currently based at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He joined The Brigade of Gurkhas in 1983 and served with 2 King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles and then the Royal Gurkha Rifles.   He has been on operational service in numerous theatres and worked alongside Prince Harry in Afghanistan before serving as Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officer to HM The Queen from Jul 2008 – Jul 09.    He is Ex- Officio Trustee for the Gurkha Museum. This is his first year with the Gurkha Bhuros.

………and we could not even begin to do this without a fantastic Support Team, supplied as always by the Gurkha Welfare Advice Centre in Salisbury and Aldershot.

Capt Dillikumar Rai (Gurkha Company (Sittang) RMAS) will be running in the historic Glenmarg Hill race on 5 July 2014 to raise money for the GWT and to raise the profile of the Gurkhas prior to G200. Capt Dillikumar has run the event before, but not since 1995.  Please read the interesting historical background to this event that answers why he should now in our forthcoming 200th Anniversary year, take part in this truly gruelling historic annual event that goes back to 1899.

Click here to view more about Gurkha High on Skye

Please support Capt Dillikumar and in doing so support the GWT by donating at Just Giving at http://www.justgiving.com/Dillikumar-Rai-69004

Background to the Race:

The mountain of Glamaig in Skye was first climbed in 1816 by a team from the Ordnance Survey; many have climbed it since. Major Charles Bruce, a Gurkha Officer and Himalayan climber had made an unsuccessful attempt on Nagar Parbat, a Himalayan peak of 26,000 feet in 1895 (it was not conquered till 1953) with Norman Collie, a famous climber and scientist and Rifleman Harkabir Thapa. Having spent the summer of 1899 climbing in the Alps at Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc the trio headed for Skye to climb Sgurr Alasdair and in Coire Lagan. Harkabir Thapa ascended the mountain of Glamaig twice in the summer of 1899. In his first attempt he ran the route from Sligachan Hotel to the summit and back in one hour fifteen minutes.

Normally, it takes a fit person two hours to ascend the summit. The run is a four mile course with an ascent of 2,537 feet, over a bog followed by a steep grass ascent and scree. When the ghillies reported to the Laird, MacLeod of MacLeod he refused to believe the timing. Harkabir then repeated the feat cutting 20 minutes off his original 75 minutes (55 minutes). The annual Glamaig race was initiated in the 1980’s and it was not until 1997 that Harkabir’s timing was broken by a run in under 50 minutes. It took just under 100 years to knock 5 minutes off Harkabir’s timing, but remember the Gurkha ran the course in bare feet! He was wounded at Gallipoli, survived the First World War and retired as a Subedar Major.

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