Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

News and updates from around the world

1 RGR bids farewell to their Commanding Officer

1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) bid farewell to their Commanding Officer (and Commander British Forces Brunei) of two years, Lieutenant Colonel Jody Davies MBE, on 22 July 2016.  The farewell was held in Tuker lines Seria and was a celebration of his successful tenure attended by members of the Regiment and the Garrison. The main part of the parade was the Brigade tradition of hand-towing the Commanding Officer (CO) to the Guardroom for him to perform a final ceremonial inspection of an Honour Guard.

The traditional tow-out

The traditional tow-out

Early on the morning of the 22nd July, Colonel Davies presided over his last parade as Commander British Forces Brunei. Promotions from Rfn to LCpl and LCpl to Cpl from across the Garrison were awarded and there were also awards given for the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.  The Battalion’s Skill At Arms and Golf competitors were thanked for their outstanding performance and contribution to the Regiment.  The parade was also an occasion to mark exceptional performances by awarding Commander’s Coins to certain individuals. This included a large number of Civil Servants and Locally Employed Civilians as well as soldiers. The Parish Trophy was awarded to Rfn Sajendra Gurung who was deemed the best Rfn in the Battalion and he has now been promoted to Corporal.

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Following the parade, the CO had a ‘hunters-breakfast’ at the Garrison Officer’s Mess accompanied by all of the British and Gurkha Officers from across the Garrison.  Escorted by Gurkha Major 1 RGR, Maj Chandra Pun, he was then driven to the Temple where he paid his respects and offered a prayer for the Battalion – a well-known and important part of our Gurkha tradition.

Breakfast in the Officer's Mess

Breakfast in the Officer’s Mess

On completion of the Puja from Punditji and a blessing from the Padre, the CO left the Temple and was greeted by all of the Officers, WOs and SNCOs. He shared a quick word with each of them and was, in turn, presented with a mala or khata.  The CO then mounted an open-topped Land Rover, which was decorated in brightly coloured garlands and was towed to the Guardroom by the Officers of the Battalion. The Pipes and Drums led the way, and the route was lined by JNCOs and Rfn, who cheered him and presented more flowers and khatas.

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Once the procession reached the Guardroom he was presented with a Guard of Honour. The CO inspected the Guard and the Pipe Major returned his pipe banner which he subsequently presented to the Officer’s Mess. The CO then addressed the Battalion and assembled families for the last time and reminded us of all the significant achievements which had been completed over the last two years in Brunei. He made a special mention of the Defence Engagement which the Garrison had completed with other nations and advised us as to how and why we should maintain the good name of 1 RGR. At the end of the speech he thanked everyone including the families for their support and said good-bye to everybody for the last time.

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CO Saheb and Family
CO Saheb and Family

British Forces Brunei and all their families would like to sincerely thank CO Saheb and Mem saheb for their support to 1 RGR and the wider Garrison, and to take this opportunity to wish all CO Saheb’s family the very best for the future.

JAI Lt Colonel Jody Davies Saheb and Family.

JAI 1 RGR

(CSgt Padam Gurung, Intelligence Cell SNCO, 1 RGR)

The annual Trailwalker event took place over the weekend of the 23-24th July 2016.  The event sees teams of four from across the British public, as well as from Gurkha and military units, attempt to cover 100km, with various ascents and descents, across the South Downs in less than 30 hours.

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The winners were from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles for the third year in a row! They finished with a breath-taking time of 11 hours and 4 minutes.

1 RGR Team - winners for the the third year running

1 RGR Team – winners for the third year running. They finished the course in 11 hours 04 minutes.

This year, a record-breaking 1,800 people took part in what was a fabulous Trailwalker thanks to the atmosphere and the glorious sunshine that beamed down on everyone. The trail began in Petersfield and ended in Brighton. Along the route were various checkpoints where competitors could stock up on food, replenish themselves with water, get medical attention for those dreaded blisters and maybe even get a massage!

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A Gurkha Piper played at the start point and Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Colonel James Robinson gave some words of encouragement prior to the first start time at 0600hrs on Saturday morning. Gurkhas continued to encourage all those taking part along the route and Gurkha chefs provided a traditional Gurkha curry (dal bhat) at the final checkpoint.

At a checkpoint setup like a Nepali village. Contestants are entertained by Gurkha soldiers.

At a checkpoint set up like a Nepali village – the Oxfam staff are entertained by Gurkha soldiers.

Trailwalker was originally a Gurkha training exercise, but it has taken on a much larger profile over the last 30 years since it opened its doors to civilians. Its primary aim is to raise money for Oxfam and The Gurkha Welfare Trust. The event is largely organised by the Queen’s Gurkha Signals and this year over £500,000 was raised in aid of the two charities.

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The Brigade would like to thank all those who took part and for those who helped to organise this hugely fun, yet important event. Long may this wonderful tradition continue.

The question on everyone’s mind is: Who can stop 1 RGR next year?

The challenge has been set, now it is up to the other units to plan their strategies….

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Photo credit thanks to: The Gurkha Welfare Trust, BFBS and QOGLR.  A photo gallery shall be posted in due course.

The leaderboard results were as follows:

Location Pos Team Time Elapsed Category
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 1 004 1 RGR Team B 17:04 11:04
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 2 005 10 QOGLR 17:14 11:14
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 3 011 11 SR (QGS) 17:49 11:49
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 4 183 Ishwor 20:45 12:45
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 5 270 QOGLR Mix Team 19:15 13:15
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 6 068 BALARAM 19:27 13:27
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 7 184 ITC GURKHA COMPANY CATTERICK 19:50 13:50
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 8 028 246 Wala 20:59 13:59
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 9 324 Team CLM 20:36 14:36
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 10 136 Ealing French Trailer 21:44 14:44
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 10 442 Worthy Down Warriors 21:44 14:44
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 12 025 22 SR support squadron 20:47 14:47
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 13 453 Gurkha Pilgrims 21:53 14:53
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 14 447 (789) 21:55 14:55
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 15 268 QGS 2 21:13 15:13
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 16 230 NATO’s little secret 21:16 15:16
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 17 099 Burgers WITH Cheese 23:28 15:28
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 18 348 THE ARRC WARRIOR 23:30 15:30
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 19 450 (803) 23:33 15:33
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 19 343 Team Winged Lion 21:33 15:33
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 21 014 15 Signal Regiment Team C 23:11 16:11
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 22 316 TCC 95 B 22:25 16:25
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 23 015 17 port and maritime Team 2 23:28 16:28
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 24 452 10 QOGLR C 22:29 16:29
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 25 251 Orang Tua 23:42 16:42
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 26 428 Warminster Gurkhas 00:58 16:58
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 27 441 Wobbly plodders 23:32 17:32
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 28 041 3 RSME REGT 01:36 17:36
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 28 023 22 Sig Regt RHQ 23:36 17:36
Finish – Brighton Racecourse 30 008 10th Signal Regiment 01:48 17:48

BGGrowthPoster

THE BRIGADE OF GURKHAS (BG) IS GROWING!

With this will come increased opportunities for promotion and many new jobs for Gurkha soldiers in areas of the army not previously open to the BG. Over the next four years the Brigade of Gurkhas will grow by 642 posts, increasing from our current liability of 2,612 to 3,254 (correct at the time of writing). This growth will have a profound and positive impact on an individual Gurkha’s chance of securing a full career (VEng Full), increase promotion prospects and offer a variety of employment options previously unavailable.  More information will be published over the course of next week and in the next issue of Parbate.

 

 

 

HATS-NAPAL

To mark 200 years of diplomatic relations between Great Britain and Nepal, a one-day cricket match was organised between Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Nepal on Tuesday 19th July 2016 at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

It was the hottest day so far this year and players and spectators alike braved the temperatures which scorched over 30 degrees Celsius. The hot weather caused no drop in Gurkha standards of dress however, with many wearing their Regimental mufti to full effect.

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4,733 spectators were in attendance, which was many more than expected. The majority of the crowd were Nepalese, but a very healthy attendance came along to support the British MCC also. The crowd were fantastic and truly added to the atmosphere of a remarkable occasion. They all sang along to the songs played by the outstanding Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

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The Nepalese wanted to be there to see their country’s flag fly proudly over the Lord’s Cricket Ground and to support their national team. Many British supporters attended not only to watch the superb quality of cricket,  but also to show their gratitude to a nation that has given so much to the UK through over 200 years of diplomatic relations and the most fantastic of ambassadors – the British Gurkhas.

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Nepal won the toss and chose to bat first. After 50 overs they had scored 217 runs. The MCC then came into bat after the lunch break, however, their batting run rate was not that impressive until the fall of their first wicket.

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Despite George Adair’s century, MCC could not hit enough runs  to beat the visitors (much to the delight of the majority of the crowd). Nepal recorded a historic victory and defeated the MCC by 41 runs.

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The standout player was Sagar Pun, picking-up 3/35 when his superb bowling knocked the MCC  middle batting order “for six”.  Below is a great video from YouTube showing what it meant for the Nepal players to be able to play at Lords.

Afterwards there was a reception where Colonel James Robinson, Colonel of the Brigade of Gurkhas and other guests were invited to meet with players from both teams.

It was a wonderful and memorable day and we hope that the Nepal Cricket Team will come back to play in the UK many more times in the years to come.

JAI NEPAL

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On Sunday, 17th July 2016 the 31st annual Gurkha Freedom of Brecon Parade took place.

The soldiers from Gurkha Wing (Mandalay) accompanied by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and the Pipes and Drums of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, exercised their rights as Honorary Citizens of the Town of Brecon which was conferred on them in 1985.

OC Gurkha Wing (Mandalay) Captain Dhalindra Khatri Chhetri RGR, led the parade and reported to Mayor Councillor Mrs Rosemary Evans. Some of the main guests included: Lt Col Rennie MBE, Lord Lieutenant Dame Shan Legge-Bourke,  High Sheriff Mrs Ann Tudor, Inspector J Lovatt Dyfed Powys Police, Mr K Tampin (Chair of Powys County Council) and Ms Melanie Doel (Chair Brecon Beacons National Park Authority).

Approximately one thousand people witnessed the parade and enjoyed watching the smart and fast Gurkha drill, Gurkha band display and some Nepali cultural dances in the main high street in Brecon Town.

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History of the Parade and Gurkhas in Brecon

The historical accounts suggest that the Gurkhas first came to serve in Brecon in 1974.  However, it was not until 12 December 1980 that a Company with a total strength of 85 formed up, to be known as a Gurkha Demonstration Company (GDC) under the old NCO’s Tactical Wing.  Ever since the arrival of Gurkhas in Brecon, they have played an important role in the local community and have become an integral part of the society.

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In recognition of their service to the community, the Town Council of Brecon awarded the GDC Honorary Citizenship of Brecon to the Company on 21 November 1985. To mark the occasion, the first parade known as the Brecon Freedom Parade was held on 03 May 1986, and the tradition has continued ever since. The Company was re-titled as a Gurkha Company (Mandalay) on September 2004. Due to the new structure of Army 2020, on 09 January 2014, the Company was reduced in size from 124 to 40 strong Gurkhas with additional 28 across the Training Support Division and was renamed as Gurkha Wing (Mandalay). However, due to the added responsibilities the current strength has increased to 68 Gurkhas personnel in total.

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The Company was re-titled as a Gurkha Company (Mandalay) on September 2004. Due to the new structure of Army 2020, on 09 January 2014, the Company was reduced in size from 124 to 40 strong Gurkhas with an additional 28 across the Training Support Division. The Company was renamed as Gurkha Wing (Mandalay). However, due to recent added responsibilities the current strength has increased to 68 Gurkhas personnel in total.

On Sunday 10th July 2016, The Gurkha Statue at Church Crookham was unveiled by Captain (Retd) Rambahadur Limbu VC MVO in front of an impressive crowd of retired and serving military personnel and members of the Church Crookham community, past and present. The statue symbolises the 30 years Gurkhas served at Church Crookham and the wonderful relations forged between the Gurkhas and the local community during this time. Church Crookham shall never forget.

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All the guests arrived at the Church Crookham Community Centre in the morning before moving down to the statue site, just a 3 minute walk away. On arrival at the site, the guests listened to music from the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas. At 11am, the Church Crookham Parish Councillor Pat Lowe addressed the crowd, stating “we remember the smart gentlemen in their green jackets, always polite and smiling as they walked around the village….it was the Parish Councils’ decision to honour the Gurkhas by commissioning a statue to celebrate the Gurkhas and perpetuate their memory”.

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Lieutenant General Sir Peter Duffell KCB CBE MC, who commanded the 1/2nd Gurkhas in Church Crookham, stated, “Almost 40 years have passed since I commanded the 1st Battalion of the Second Gurkhas when we occupied the antique spider huts of Queen Elizabeth barracks. Old men forget much, but I can still recall with much nostalgia,  our time here before deploying to Belize to deter Guatemalan ambitions…..for 30 years between 1970 and 2000, successive Rifle battalions of the Gurkha brigade were stationed in these lines for two-year tours and overall some 12,000 Gurkhas must have briefly lived here on unaccompanied service before returning to the Far East. It was here that they sallied forth on operations to Cyprus at the time of the Turkish invasion, to the Falkland islands, to the First Gulf War, to Kosovo, Bosnia, and Macedonia.”

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Tony Carter then spoke about what the public and other serving units had felt about the presence of the Gurkhas from the other side of the proverbial fence. He spoke fondly about the contribution Gurkhas had made to Church Crookham and the surrounding area during their tenure there.

Capt (Retd) Rambahadur Limbu VC MVO (whose citation can be read here) then stepped forward to unveil the Gurkha Statue.

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Afterwards Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Colonel James Robinson led the Act of Remembrance. Everyone stood still for the Last Post and a two-minute silence before the Reveille was sounded and wreaths were laid at the foot of the statue.

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Lt General Sir Peter Duffell laid a wreath on behalf of all members of the Gurkha Brigade Association. Major Gajendra Angdembe, the incoming Gurkha Major 2RGR, laid a wreath on behalf of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, Colonel James Robinson laid a wreath on behalf of all serving members of the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Chairman of Church Crookham Parish Council and a representative from Taylor Wimpey also laid wreaths.

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After the ceremony, everyone was invited back to the Community Centre by Pat Lowe for a Gurkha curry and cakes, tea and biscuits.

Credit must also go to Jemma Pearson the creator and sculptor of the ‘The Gurkha Statue’. Below is an extract from her description of her brilliant work:

“The Gurkha Statue will be important to the people of Church Crookham and Fleet, as well as to those Gurkhas and their families who will travel to see it as an act of both remembrance and celebration. The sculpture reflects the warmth that the local people have for The Gurkha Regiment, including the young recruits with their reputation of civility, enthusiasm, and cheer. It will mean that a sense of The Regiment’s presence will be retained well after their 200th celebratory year of 2015.

From a distance, the statue has a feeling of being on parade in front of the trees of The Sirmoor Orchard. The figure retains a proud upright posture yet “stands easy” in the most relaxed stance on a parade ground.

The soldier’s cheerful and proud expression is driven by two factors; firstly the Gurkha’s inbuilt capacity for mirth; secondly their pride in two centuries of successful collaboration with the British. Since the sculpture is designed to be the Keeper of the memorial Orchard there is the need for a certain level of formality, even shyness, so his warmth is expressed by a generous emerging smile rather than a full grin.”

Please have a look at more photos of the day from our gallery.

 

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