Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

News and updates from around the world

Brigade of Gurkhas Golf Championship takes place

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On Wednesday 29 June golfers from all over the Brigade of Gurkhas gathered to take part in the Brigade Golf Championship held in the UK for only the second time.  Teams represented all parts of the Brigade, including representation from British Gurkhas Nepal, the ARRC Support Battalion and Gurkha Company Catterick.  In all 13 teams took part with a total of 52 players.  The day was organised by SO3 Plans/ QGOO Capt Muktiprasad Gurung RGR with help from HQBG staff. 

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Teams gathered at Windlesham Golf Course in time for coffee, buns and the obligatory competition briefing.  At 1044 hours Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Col James Robinson, hit the first drive, fortunately a clean shot down the middle of the fairway, followed by a lay-up into the stream in front of the 1st green!  The course was in excellent condition, however, the wind and rain ensured that the competitors would be challenged. 

At the conclusion of the competition all players enjoyed an excellent dinner in the club house which was followed by prize giving.  Colonel BG presented the prizes to the winning teams and individuals. 

IMG_7043 IMG_7081Teams were scored on full handicap and individuals on ¾ handicap. Congratulations go to 1st Bn RGR for retaining their title, a full list of all prize winners is detailed below.  A great deal of thanks must go to Windlesham Golf course for hosting the event in such style. 

PRIZE WINNERS

Nearest to Pin                   –     Col J Robinson, HQBG

                                                 –     CSgt Bishwahang Rai, 2 RGR 

Longest Drive                   –     Sgt Nilkumar Thapa, QGE

                                                 –     CSgt Naresh Gurung, 1 RGR 

Most Pars                            –     Capt Gyanbahadur Dhenga, Gurkha Coy Catterick

Most Birdies                      –     CSgt Bishwahang Rai, 2RGR 

Best Dress (Team)          –     Band of Brigade of Gurkhas 

Division A, Winner         –     SSgt Nilkumar Thapa, QOGLR

Division A, Runner Up  –     Capt Gyanbahadur Dhenga, Gurkha Coy Catterick 

Division B, Winner         –     Sgt Furtenji Sherpa, QGE

Division B, Runner Up  –     Capt Muktiprasad Gurung, HQBG 

Division C, Winner         –     Cpl Anil Gurung, 1RGR

Division C, Runner Up  –     LCpl Jit Thapa, QGE 

Individual Champion    –     CSgt Bishwahang Rai, 2 RGR

Individual Runner Up  –     Cpl Raju Tamang, 1 RGR 

BG Unit Champion         –     1 RGR

BG Unit Runners Up      –     2 RGR

 

 

 

Guernsey Liberation Day 2016

Guernsey is a British Crown dependency situated in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. The population of Guernsey is 63,000 and it’s size is just 24 square miles. During World War II, the island of Guernsey became occupied by the Nazis. Before the occupation, 80% of Guernsey children were evacuated to England. The 9th May 1945 is the day that will never be forgotten in Guernsey’s history. On that day, the island was liberated following five years of occupation by the Nazis.

Since 2010, a wonderful lady from the island, Dame Mary Perkins, the owner of SpecSavers, has sponsored 10 Gurkhas from Gurkha Company Sittang (GCS) to represent the Brigade of Gurkhas to celebrate the island’s historic May Liberation Day. The people of Guernsey are very supportive, enthusiastic and always show great respect for the Gurkhas.

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On 5th May, the Gurkhas from GCS arrived in Guernsey along with Chelsea pensioners. Capt Lilaram Rai addressed the crowd and presented a small memento, the Gurkha 200 Plate, to Dame Mary Perkins. On the 7th May, the Gurkhas were invited to the Sporting Club were they received a £500 cheque for the Gurkha Welfare Trust. They then went to visit the St John’s Residential Home where senior citizens live, which was established since 1948 and is run by a registered charity.

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On 9th May , the Gurkhas from GCS paraded through the town of St. Peter Port led by the Boys’ Band, Guernsey Armed Forces cadets, veterans, standard bearers, Chelsea pensioners and other military representatives.  The Governor, Lt-Governor Vice Admiral Ian Corder and the Bailiff Sir Richard Collas inspected the parade.  They then marched to the town Church for the liberation service.  After having dinner at hotel, the Gurkhas watched a spectacular fireworks display from the Guernsey Yacht Club in the evening.

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Many thanks to Dame Mary Perkins and the people of Guernsey for allowing Gurkhas from GCS the privilege of attending the Guernsey Liberation Day and may this tradition long continue.

More coverage in the Guernsey press can be found here.

Credit goes to Rfn Mandeep Rai, 1 Platoon, Gurkha Coy Sittang, for his excellent contribution to the article.

Jai Gurkha Coy Sittang.

 

 

 

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During their 9-months training at Gurkha Company Catterick, all trainee Gurkhas uniquely receive training in Taekwondo and Khukuri Fighting.

Earlier this month, the recruits at Gurkha Company Catterick also received Jujutsu training to add yet another skill to their Martial Art capabilities. They were taught Jujutsu by an experienced Martial Arts expert, Padre Withers of 2nd Infantry Training Battalion.

2ITB Padre, instructing Jujutsu

Padre Withers instructing Jujutsu

Officer Commanding Gurkha Company Catterick, Major Ed Withey RGR, described the training they receive:

“Gurkha Company trainees learn Close Quarter Combat (CQC) skills through a combination of Taekwondo and Kukri knife patterns. This training is delivered by qualified instructors inside the Company, before a final grading is conducted by an internationally renowned 8th Dan Taekwondo Master. After a comprehensive package of 10 sessions, trainees achieve their yellow belt in Taekwondo. However many surpass this by achieving green, red and black belt tabs.”

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“CQC is a critical part of the Gurkha Infantryman’s Course. It develops the Rifleman’s confidence at fighting in very close quarters with an adversary; a critical part of operating in a jungle environment, which many of the trainees will be deployed to on completion of their training.”

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During the 9 months, all trainee Gurkhas undergo a 39-week course consisting of:

  • Infantry Phase 1 and 2 Training
  • An English language package
  • Cultural orientation activities (including visits to key historical and institutional UK sites such as the Houses of Parliament)

As he passes out of recruit training, the now trained Gurkha can be justifiably proud of what he has achieved, but every new soldier joins his unit knowing just how hard he will have to work to live up to the outstanding reputation his forefathers have built.

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JAI Gurkha Company Catterick.

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running

The WAAT4 Challenge is a prestigious navigation event in Wales’ beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales and it was held this year on Saturday 18 June 2016.

Two teams were made up of four and six men from those Gurkhas currently serving with the Gurkha Wing (Mandalay ) at the Infantry Battle School based in Brecon, Powys, Wales.  The 4-man team took part in a 40km race, whilst the 6-man team conducted the 30km race over the arduous Brecon Beacons.

And they're off!

Getting ready to begin….some nervous faces

The route included travelling up and over South Wales’ highest peak – Pen y Fan (886m) and running through a number of checkpoints en route.  

Racing across the Brecon Beacons

Racing across the Brecon Beacons

Both teams emerged winners securing 1st place in both the 40 and 30km races respectively.

The main aim of the event was to enable them to work as a team under pressure in an arduous environment and to raise money for a number of very worthwhile charities such as Brecon Mountain Rescue, Wales Air Ambulance, Teenage Cancer Trust, PC Rathbones Blue Light Fund and Help for Heroes.

Well done to the teams who have done extremely well to uphold the Gurkha reputation of having superb endurance ability (particularly over hills) and for raising money for some excellent causes.

 

Dear all Gurkha Brigade Association friends, please find below the link to all new and improved online version of Parbate.

This is April’s edition and it covers some great events including:

  • HRH Prince Harry’s visit to Nepal.
  • 2 RGR raising the flag in Kabul.
  • 1 RGR in Kenya on Ex ASKARI STORM.
  • An update on the great work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust helping Nepal to recover from last year’s dreadful earthquakes.

We hope you enjoy the accompanying music too!  The May/June combined edition will be available within by mid-July.

Best Wishes,

The Brigade of Gurkhas Media Team.

Click on the picture above to read the April 2016 edition of Parbate.

Click on the picture above to read the April 2016 edition of Parbate.

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Ipoh Cemetery

Each year in June the Warriors Association (WIRA) of Malaysia hold a series of events to commemorate the sacrifices made during the Malayan Emergency, especially at Ipoh.  This year the events were held from 9-11 June and veterans and British High Commission staff were joined for the first time ever by Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Col James Robinson.

Col James Robinson and members of 1RGR Pipes & Drums

Col James Robinson and members of 1RGR Pipes & Drums

The Malayan Emergency saw over 10,000 Gurkhas active on operations over the period 1948 to 1960.  It also saw the birth of our current corps units:  Queen’s Gurkha Signals, Gurkha Transport Regiment (now Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment) and Queen’s Gurkha Engineers. Additionally, other units were raised for the Emergency; a Gurkha Military Police Unit, a Gurkha Dog Company, and the Gurkha Parachute company.

Gurkha soldiers during Malayan Emergency

Gurkha soldiers during Malayan Emergency

Joined by the British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell CMG MVO, and the British Defence Attaché, Col Stephen Hall and his wife, Sue, Col BG travelled to Ipoh. The Australian and New Zealand Defence Attaches were also present along with the Nepalese Ambassador to Malaysia.

British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell CMG MVO, and the British Defence Attaché, Col Stephen Hall having laid their wreaths at Tambun Road, Ipoh

British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell CMG MVO, and the British Defence Attaché, Col Stephen Hall having laid their wreaths at Tambun Road, Ipoh

Also joining Col BG were 4 members of the 1RGR Pipes and Drums from Brunei who played at all services and functions. A 50 piece band from the Australian Veteran’s association also travelled from across Australia, along with a number of veterans, and added significantly to the occasion.

1RGR Pipes & Drums alongside main guests at Tambun Road, Ipoh

1RGR Pipes & Drums alongside main guests at Tambun Road, Ipoh

The first morning was a formal multi-cultural service of remembrance outside the magnificent Ipoh Railway station  followed by speeches in the Ipoh City Hall. The second day started early with a memorial church service at God’s Little Acre in Batu Gajah.  This was in memory of those oil and rubber planters killed during the Emergency and was followed by a wreath laying in the cemetery.

British Defence Attaché, Col Stephen Hall and Col James Robinson at the cemetery

British Defence Attaché, Col Stephen Hall and Col James Robinson at the cemetery

The graves of 4 Gurkhas who were killed next to each other during an ambush.

The graves of 4 Gurkhas who were killed during an ambush as they fought side by side.

1RGR Piper sounds the Last Post

1RGR Piper sounds the Last Post

This was followed by a Gurkha Remembrance at Tambuan Road Camp, formerly Suvla Lines, just outside Ipoh and now occupied by the 2nd Royal Ranger Regiment.

It was here that a memorial plinth had been erected a year ago for which Gurkha Associations, including our own GBA, had made significant financial contributions.

Col James Robinson lays a wreath on behalf of the Brigade of Gurkhas at Tambun Road, Ipoh

Col James Robinson lays a wreath on behalf of the Brigade of Gurkhas at Tambun Road, Ipoh

Wreaths were laid, Last Post played, the Nepalese Ambassador to Nepal spoke and Col BG gave a Closing Address reminding the audience of the Gurkhas’ contributions and successes as well as reminding them of the history of the Brigade of Gurkhas and the importance of remembrance.

Col James Robinson reminds us of the sacrifices made

Col James Robinson reminds us of the sacrifices made

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All then adjourned to the Royal Ipoh Club for lunch.  In the evening, another ‘Troops Night’ function took place at a hotel in Ipoh and the 1RGR Pipes and Drums stole the evening.

Dinner in the Ipoh Club

Dinner in the Ipoh Club

Music in the Ipoh Club

Music in the Ipoh Club

Some other good press coverage of the event can be found here.

 

The Brigade are delighted to be able to congratulate Lieutenant Colonel Garry Blewitt R Welsh on being awarded an OBE  and Major Devendra Ale MVO QOGLR, Major Yambahadur Rana MVO RGR, Major Mark Hendry QGE and Major Andrew Todd RGR on being awarded MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Lt Col Gary Blewitt in Nepal

Lieutenant Colonel Garry Blewitt

Lieutenant Colonel Garry Blewitt served for over three years as Field Director of the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, overseeing not only the most ambitious programme in the Gurkha Welfare Trust’s fifty year history but also coordinating their immediate response to the tragic earthquakes of 2015.  He has now retired from the Army.

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Major Devendra Ale

Major Devendra Ale, Gurkha Major 10 QOGLR, is a truly inspirational officer within the Brigade who has been instrumental in the development of an innovative community engagement strategy, led on Regimental commitments to mark 200 years of Gurkha Service to the Crown and given a lifetime of service to the Brigade and QOGLR.

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Major Yambahadur Rana

Major Yambahadur Rana, an iconic figure in the Brigade, recently retired after a long and distinguished career including his final tour as OC Gurkha Company(Sittang). Throughout his career in the Army he has given up huge amounts of his own time; supporting the Gurkha Museum, raising thousands of pounds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and acting as an ambassador and mentor for the resident UK Gurkha community. He now works for the GWS in Nepal.

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Major Mark Hendry

Major Mark Hendry has recently finished his tour as OC 69 Sqn QGE.  Last year he deployed with the squadron to the Falkland Islands to conduct infrastructure repairs in poor conditions.  On hearing the news of the earthquake in Nepal, the squadron were immediately redeployed to Nepal to support the post earthquake reconstruction. Having sent out reconnaissance patrols, his teams provided emergency support to those most in need before they began the hard work of reconstruction in the most demanding conditions.

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Major Andrew Todd

Major Andrew Todd was the deputy leader of the G200 Everest Expedition. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake he displayed outstanding leadership in adversity, being instrumental in evacuating all 116 climbers and sherpas to the safety of the Base Camp from Camp 1 in a limited 5-hour weather window. He then further co-ordinated the team to provide medical support and initial emergency relief to the villages along their route as they trekked back to Kathmandu and supported the UK relief effort.

We in the Brigade are proud to be able honour and celebrate your remarkable achievements.

 

13392052_1126589264060302_4365230777495493801_o1 RGR families’ community organised an Inter Coy ladies volley ball competition which was held on 8 June 16. There were six team including a team from Garrison who took part in the event. After a short brief by Unit Welfare Officer (CSgt Naresh Gurung) the competition got into full swing. A larger number of families from across the Garrison gathered to cheer for their Coy team. 13411773_1126589380726957_3240130260280236400_o

The players were giving their best with winning mentality, and their team work and skills have been most commendable. It was noticeably competitive game, but not every teams can be a winner, there are always winner and looser in the competition. The HQ Coy has been unbeatable and retained the title in a second year in a row.
It was a greatly successful event and everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Commander and Gurkha Major 1 RGR thanks all the players, organisers and supporters for a superb event.

 

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13116227_582238148619820_9040687801674807242_oThis year, a team of Gurkhas from The Second Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR) will be racing to compete the famous 3 Peaks Challenge. This involves attempting to race up the 3 highest mountains in the UK in just 24 hours.  Every year, many people from across the UK attempt this incredibly difficult race, with few but the fittest being able to say they completed it in time. But for a Gurkha, who has grown up and lived in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal, this would be too easy.

2This is why, the Gurkhas have decided to take on a task that no one else has successfully completed before….

They will not only attempt the 3 Peaks Challenge, but do so whilst each carrying 25kg in a traditional Nepalese wicker basket, known as a Doko. The Doko is iconic in Nepal, out of the 18,000 young Nepalese applicants who try to join the British Gurkhas every year, only a handful pass the infamous Doko Race.  This involves running up a 5km route, 500m with a 25kg Doko in 46 minutes.

T1he Gurkhas from 2 RGR are taking this further. They will be attempting to carry these incredibly heavy and uncomfortable baskets up the 3 biggest mountains in the UK in under 24 hours!

  • Snowdon, in Wales (1085m)
  • Scafell Pike, in England (978m)
  • Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1345m)

The team are raising money for the Royal Gurkha Rifle Trust who provide support to serving and retired Gurkha soldiers in urgent need of assistance.  For example, the Trust has provided much needed help to those Gurkhas wounded-in-action and sent a whole variety of welfare items to serving Gurkhas on Operations. 2 RGR are currently deployed to Afghanistan so any funds raised would be of great assistance to the Gurkhas on operations.

We are also raising money for 16 Air Assault Brigade of whom we are member, who are building a large statue to commemorate the Airborne Brigade and all its serving and retired personnel.3

Please follow this link to donate to the event https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/j-millar-2

And also follow us on Facebook in this link  https://www.facebook.com/Gurkhap3aks/

The GBA Annual Memorial Service and Reunion Lunch took place on Saturday 4 June 2016 at RMA Sandhurst.  This annual event is the GBAs opportunity to commemorate and remember all those of the Brigade who were killed or died whilst in service.  The Memorial Service and Reunion Lunch is open to all serving and retired members of the Brigade of Gurkhas and their families.  This year we had another high turn out with 180 members from the serving and retired members of the GBA attending.  The main guests included:

The Revd. Canon William Challis (Director of Ordinands, Diocese of Guildford) who gave the memorial address during the memorial Service

The Reverend Michael D Parker (Academy Chaplain, RMAS)

It was also a great pleasure to be able to welcome former officers of the Indian Army who attended, including:

Mrs Akkriti Bhatt, the daughter of the Maj General Anil Kumar Bhatt AVSM SM VSM, Colonel 9 GR.

Col & Mrs Lalit Sharma (former CO 5/8GR).  The 5/8 GR was formed from the 4/2GR in 1947.

Col and Mrs SK (Sanjay) Chhibber (former CO 1/8GR).

The day’s programme started with a moving Memorial Service held in the Royal Memorial Chapel where the Chairman GBA, Colonel David Hayes CBE read the Act of Remembrance, followed by a minute’s silence stared with the Last Post and ending with the Reveille.   The address was given by the Reverend Canon William Challis, whose father had served with 9th Gurkha Rifles.

Once the Memorial Service had ended, all members were piped to the Indian Army Memorial Room for drinks and tipan-tapan where old friends and former comrades could meet and talk.  In addition, there was an opportunity to purchase books, silver and Gurkha memorabilia from the Gurkha Museum mobile shop located inside the Main Entrance hall.

Following drinks and tipan-tapan, everyone was piped to the GBA Reunion Luncheon, where apart from the Presidents Table, all members were sat by Regimental Association.  The tables were splendidly arranged in the Old College Dining Room with RMAS silver, but pride of place was given to ‘The Gurkha Soldier’, a silver statue which had been presented to the GBA by Mr Michael Uren in 2013.  Following a splendid Gurkha Curry lunch, the Chairman proposed three toasts; the loyal toast to Her Majesty The Queen; followed by toasts to the President and People of Nepal, and to the Brigade of Gurkhas.  The lunch concluded with a short speech given by the Chairman GBA, on the activities and achievements of the Serving Brigade and reminded all of the forthcoming GBA events.

After lunch, for those who wanted too, there was ample opportunity to walk the corridors of Old College and view the many pictures of the Indian Army on loan from the Imperial War Museum, revisit the Indian Army Memorial Room or walk the grounds before their final departure back to unit lines or to home locations.

Our thanks go to the Commandant Royal Military Academy, to the Old College Mess Staff, to Gurkha Company Sittang who laid on the administrative arrangements and to 2 RGR who provided the bugler and piper for the occasion.

 

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