Baroness Betty Boothroyd tabled a question to the House of Lords today asking what Her Majesty’s Government planned to do in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Gurkha Battalions. She also requested that they acknowledge the service of Gurkhas to the United Kingdom and their relationship with the British people.
A number of Lords voiced their support of the Gurkhas in response, with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence Lord Astor of Hever stating: “My Lords, this year we mark the bicentenary of Gurkha service to the British Crown. Gurkhas hold a special place in the hearts of the British people and we will be celebrating our close and enduring relationship. The Brigade of Gurkhas will be holding many events over the year, including a parade and a memorial service in Whitehall in April, and Gurkha units will conduct public duties in London during May.” and he went on to agree with Baroness Boothroyd that “Gurkhas within the British Army are proof that different religious and ethnic groups can work together in defence of a set of common values based on the mutual trust and respect that has grown over the last 200 years and I am immensely proud to have served alongside Gurkhas in Malaysia and Hong Kong.”
There were also calls from Lord Rosser to ensure a clear and continuing role for the Gurkhas in Army 2020 which was echoed by Lord King of Bridgwater and Lord Astor, quoting Prince Harry who said that “there was no safer place than by the side of a Gurkha.”
A full transcript of the debate is available on Hansard
with a a video of the debate available here
(from 14:44 onwards – some media player options allow for fast forwarding).
Prime Minister David Cameron and HRH The Sultan of Brunei met at Chequers on Monday and signed a renewal of the Brunei agreement for a further five years.
This is a significant milestone for the BG which secures the future of the Brunei Resident Infantry Battalion (currently 1RGR) in the country for the foreseeable future. The Garrison in Brunei enables UK Defence to retain a permanent presence in South Asia whilst also providing an opportunity for British Forces to undertake challenging training in extreme environments.
As a consequence of its residency and regular training in the jungles of Brunei, the BRIB is the British Army’s de facto Close Country Tropical Environment specialists and is fully acclimatised.
You can read more at Telegraph Online, here.
Gurkha Company completed the temple in the Infantry Training Centre after bringing statues of Lord Buddha, Dolma Taradevi and Guru Padma Sambhava, as well as other relevant items from Nepal.
The 2015 intake of Gurkhas already arrived a month ago, but the temple will be used by the young recruits arriving in the UK for the very first time.
The temple is also used by Gurkha Company to hold social and religious activities, and during training Gurkha soldiers are visited by Buddhist religious leader Lama Guru, who explains the lessons which link to the British Army’s core values.
Around 300 people attended the opening and the guest of honour Colonel James Robinson, Colonel of the Brigade of Gurkhas, cut the ribbon to declare the temple open.
1. Nepal announces commissions to probe war crimes, disappearance of hundreds during insurgency
KATHMANDU, Nepal – A government minister says Nepal has formed two commissions that would probe crimes committed during a decade-long communist insurgency and investigate the cases of hundreds of people who disappeared during the period.
Law Minister Narhari Acharya said the two commissions were formed by the government on Tuesday and would have tenures of two years.
2. Nepal Airlines fleet renewal underway with delivery of first A320
Sharklet equipped A320 for optimum high altitude airport performance
Nepal’s national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has taken delivery of the first Airbus A320 aircraft sporting a new striking company livery and equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices as the airline moves to an all Airbus jet fleet. Following a handover in Hamburg, the aircraft was welcomed at a ceremony attended by government and airline officials at its home base on arrival in Kathmandu.
With its home base in Kathmandu, the A320 was chosen for NAC’s single aisle fleet for its unrivalled economics, performance and capability demanded by high altitude airports. The aircraft has Required Navigation Performance (RNP) capability built-in, which enables the aircraft to fly precisely along predefined routes using state-of-the-art on-board navigation systems.
3. Nepali Lady Jamuna Gurung Australia’s Eleventh Richest
Nepali Lady Jamuna Gurung Australia’s Eleventh Richest
Nepali Lady Jamuna Gurung became the Australi’s eleventh richest person, according to the Business Review Week (BRW) of Australia. She went Australia about two decades ago. There are very few peopel from Nepal who have achieved such success abroad. She is the wife of Shesh Ghale.
Jamuna Gurung left Nepal in 1990 and went to Australia with student Visa. Now she lives in Melbourne and is a director at the Melbourne Institute of Technology. Moreover, she has invested 70 million dollasr in ongoing nascent hotels in Kathmandu Nepal. She is also associated with Shesh Ghales business.
Now She has a Worth of 265 million dollars. She is just 51 years old. Jamuna Gurung and Shesh Ghale have been married for 35 years and grew up in Nepal. They were supported and sponsored by their parents for higher degree education.
On Friday 6 February after a long journey to Portsmouth, 2 RGR won the Army Canoe Polo Championship by successfully defending their title for the fourth year in a row.
2 teams were entered by 2 RGR (the only Corps teams from a single unit) and the A Team beat the Engineers, Signals, RLC, AGC and Int Corps to reach the final. Meanwhile the B Team did fantastically well in their pool, led by the superb Rfn Prashant, they won all but two of their matches (which they drew) and after a “sudden death goal” won through to play the A team in the final! A brilliant match followed, however in the end the A Team was victorious with Rfn Sushil Mishra named as man of the match.
The weekend was given over to the Inter-Services Championships in which the Army entered two teams. One of these was filled by 2 RGR, yet again the only Service Team from a single unit. Final Results are to follow, however on Saturday the 2 RGR team remained unbeaten in all their matches.
Three soldiers from the Brigade of Gurkhas have been selected to be Colour Sergeant Instructors at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sgt Sanjib Rai (2 RGR), Sgt Phurba Tamang (2 RGR) and Sgt Pandu Tamang (QG Signals) passed a grueling cadre where, in competition with their British counterparts, were selected to be instructors. They will start their new jobs this summer and will be responsible for training Officer Cadets attending the Commissioning Course. All members of the Brigade of Gurkhas congratulate them and wishes them success in their new post.
Cycling to all Gurkha recruiting centres in Nepal to raise money for GWT on the occasion of G200
Recruitment of young boys from Nepal into the British Army started from early 19th century. 2015 marks 200 years of Gurkha service to the British Crown. The recruiting centres of Gurkhas in Nepal have changed over the years. There are currently two main recruiting centres in Nepal – the country where Gurkhas originate from.
The team comprises of all serving Gurkhas – Capt Rajeev Shrestha, Capt ER Whithey, SSgt Dugendra Tamang,Cpl Kumar Thapa, Cpl Rabindra Shrestha, Cpl Nirbikram Limbu, LCpl Ramesh Rai, LCpl Bibek Yonzon and LCpl Puspa Gurung. It is their intention to reach all recruiting centres, past and present, within Nepal by cycle, namely Dharan, Paklihawa and Pokhara. They will cover over 750 kms on road in nine days and their main aim to raise money for Gurkha Welfare Trust by completing this event.
Small or big- Your support to this cause is invaluable. Please click on the link provided to donate for a good cause. https://www.justgiving.com/Dugendra-Tamang.
Click here to listen.
The 2015 Gurkha expedition to climb Mount Everest has been launched at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
The expedition is one of the first major Gurkha 200 celebratory events, and the launch event consequently was filled with big names from the Brigade’s past and present including former CGS, General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE, Brigadier Ian Rigden and Colonel BG, Colonel James Robinson.
However, although several Gurkhas reached above 27,000ft on the 1922 expedition led by Brigadier Charles Bruce, and a further three were part of the successful Army Mountaineering Association expedition to Everest in 1976, a serving Gurkha soldier has never achieved the summit of Everest.
The team of Gurkhas is planning to change that by summiting Everest in May and thereby draw attention to the fact that Gurkhas have played a significant role in Himalayan exploration over the past 140 years.
The expedition has already garnered a lot of support from both within the Brigade, the wider Army and elsewhere with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales having agreed to be a Patron alongside General Sir Peter Wall and famous mountaineer and explorer Kenton Cool.
The team will attempt to climb Everest via the South Col route from Nepal. From Basecamp (5,334m/17,500ft), the route weaves up through the treacherous Khumbu Ice Fall to the Western Cwm before heading up the steep ice wall of the Lhotse Face, across the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur to the South Col, the sharp-edged notch between Everest and Lhotse. The South Col is typically ravaged by high winds, leaving it free of significant snow accumulation, and is the site of Camp IV from which the team will make their final bid for the summit (8,850m/29,035ft) via the Balcony, South Summit and famous Hillary Step. The round trip climb to the summit from the South Col can take between nine and 18 hours.
You can follow their training and progress on the team’s website www.g200e.com .
The Arc of the Gurkha by Alex Schlacher is available now.