Major Mark Hendry received his MBE from HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on Friday 27th January 2017.
Major Mark Hendry finished his tour as OC 69 Sqn Queen’s Gurkha Engineers about a year ago.
In year 2015 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.
This year’s Gurkha recruit selection process is nearing its completion. Central Selection is currently on-going in British Gurkhas Pokhara to the west of Nepal. Over the month of January 500 potential recruits will be assessed and the top 270 will be selected for the British Army. Recent visitors have included Brigadier Nick Fitzgerald MBE, Director of Operations Army Training and Recruiting, who is responsible for all British Army recruiting and came to learn how the Brigade of Gurkhas downsizes some 10,000 applicants each year. He was accompanied by Colonel James Robinson, Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas. Also in attendance were Colonel Peter Stitt and Lieutenant Colonel Simon Davies from the School of Infantry.
Each potential recruit undergoes a series of tests over a 4-day period. These include; a full medical, functional movement screening, heaves and sit ups, and the 4.7km doko race as well as the 2.4km run. There is a heavy emphasis on education to confirm that the potential recruits have competed the necessary minimum English and Maths exams. The assessment finishes with an interview in Nepali when the potential recruits have an opportunity to display their character and motivation for joining the British Army. Most of the scoring is objective as there is much pressure to be successful. There are many layers of checks to ensure the process remains fair and transparent.
Once the recruits are selected they come under the command of the Brigade of Gurkhas instructors who have flown out from the Infantry Training Centre in UK. For ten days, they complete administration, are introduced to the Brigade and prepare to fly to the UK. After a kit issue and some drill, the recruits conduct an Attestation Parade at British Gurkhas Pokhara in front of their proud families and friends who they will not see again for some time. This year’s parade will take place on 9 February.
On Friday 17th December 2016 families and children of the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE) gathered in the Unit Gymnasium for their annual sporting event ‘Pearl Island’ 2016 (Badminton Competition). Despite Christmas leave, attendance was higher than in previous years. Lance Corporal Amber Mangmu put in a tremendous effort to run the event successfully. He took the charge on the day and all families and children thoroughly enjoyed the event. Refreshments were also provided for everyone.
The name ‘Pearl Island’ itself originates from a married quarters area in Hong Kong which was once home for QGE families. It was initiated by Major (Retd) Dhan Bahadur Chand QGE in 2007 and from that point onwards his wife Mrs Sunita Chand presents the Pearl Island Cup to the best player every year.
The competition was divided into three different categories: singles, doubles and U16s. There was a total of 11 singles, 8 doubles and 4 U16s matches and were played on knock out basis.
Many of the families showed impressive badminton skills. Both singles and doubles finals were played very well providing a tense and enjoyable watch for all.
Mrs Narbad Bhandari (W/O GM QGE) and Mrs Sunita Chand did the honour of presenting trophies to the winners and runners up. In the U16s category Master Suveen Gurung was victorious and Master Bishes Bhandari was runner up. For the Ladies singles Miss Rujeena Thapa managed to clinch the Pearl Island trophy and Mrs Aliza Limbu became runner up. Mrs Rebecca Limbu and Mrs Tabita Rai won doubles competition and Mrs Sujata Limbu and Miss Rujeena took second place. Mrs Hema Rai also received a prize for best improved player.
At the end Dhan Chand Saheb highlighted some families sporting events during the Hong Kong era followed by GM QGE Major Buddhi Bahadur Bhandari MVO who emphasized the importance of sport amongst the families and children. He thanked all the organising members and participants for a great day.
The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers excelled on Exercise GRIFFIN CHALLENGE 2016. The event took place on 3rd November 2016 at Pirbright, Surrey.
Gone were the days just to clap to the winners, whilst ourselves satisfying with 5th and 8th position for the last two episodes of the GRIFFIN CHALLANGE. Yes, this year’s GRIFFIN CHALLENGE was ours, finally ours, with so much of anticipation and hype before the challenge itself. It felt as if it came back to where it belonged; 8 Engineer Brigade.
Exercise GRIFFIN CHALLENGE is a demanding military march and shoot competition that took place at Pirbright. The challenge tests physical stamina, combat agility, combat shooting, military knowledge and mental robustness. Basically, it included ten teams from the Force Troops Command which comprises 10 brigades under the command of Major General Urch CBE.
The challenge was to march six miles with 25kg load including personal weapon. Consequently, kit inspection at first and then it had a 500m-log race after two miles point.
Furthermore, at the four miles point, there was a stand for military knowledge and observation. Once, the six mile point was completed the obstacle course was the final physical test which included twenty-five of the most grueling obstacles.
Finally the last part of the challenge was the shooting competition, where every team had to shoot from 400m, 300m, 200m and 100m. The competition was immensely tough and competitive as each brigade had the very best team selected across the brigade.
The results for 2016 were:
|1st||8 Engineer Brigade||50|
|2nd||11 Signal Brigade||45|
Our team managed to secure 1st position and the team collected the highest number of points, 50 points from the possible 60 points. This score is the highest score achieved by a team since the competition commenced!
The competition is mainly aimed at building team work, effort and team bonding. As it is said, well planned is half done, thus our team have had best training and planning before the start of the challenge itself hence we were victorious.
Finally, we are looking forward for the GRIFFIN CHALLENGE in 2017.
A team of five from British Forces Brunei pulled themselves together to take part in the annual Halong Bay Heritage Marathon in Vietnam on 26th November 2016. It wasn’t any of the runners first marathon but we had to prepare for it carefully due to the location, route and weather.
Halong is a top tourist destination and the towering limestone mountains, and tiny islets protected by forest, which rise from the emerald waters which are a spectacular view.
Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay’s magnificent spread of islands with caves over the crystal water is a vision of divine beauty and unsurprisingly running through those views is just an incredible experience.
After a series of very early long distance training schedules, we all tried our best to excel and achieve impressive results. But cold weather played a decisive part in reducing our overall timings.
The team took part in two disciplines:
There were many administrative challenges for the successful co-ordination of the event and I was honoured to lead a successful event. The team would like to thank CO and COS BFB for granting permission, and for everyone who supported us. All the money raised through this event has been donated to the GWT.
Sergeant Biken 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles