Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Field of Remembrance Westminster 2017

field_remembrance_2017_045On 9th November 2017 members of the Brigade association and representatives from all the current and past regimental associations came together at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.
 
The event is organised by the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory as part of the annual Poppy Appeal commemorations. Each year, hundreds of volunteers help us to plant more than 120,000 tributes across six Fields of Remembrance in the UK. Members of the public can make a Remembrance tribute to be planted in the fields, in the form of a religious or secular symbol carrying a poppy and a personal message to someone who lost their life in the Service of our country.
 
The Field of Remembrance was started in 1928 by Major Howson MC, the founder of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory. Major Howson and a few disabled ex-servicemen from the Poppy Factory grouped together around a battlefield cross and with trays of poppies, invited passers-by to plant a poppy in the vicinity of the cross. Since then, the Field has evolved to include a wide range of military interests. Ex-Servicemen and Woman, both young and old turn out for the opening ceremony to pay their respects to their colleagues.
 
field_remembrance_2017_010On this occasion our current Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers and General Garry Dene Johnson KCB OBE MC were presented to HRH Prince Henry or Wales (Prince Harry). General Johnson was commissioned into the 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles in 1956. He served in Malaysia during the Malaysian Emergency. In 1981 he was made Commander of 11th Armoured Brigade. In 1985 he was selected to be Assistant Chief of Defence Staff. He moved on to be Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong in 1987 before being appointed Commander for Training and Arms Directors in 1989. In 1992 he became Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe and retired in 1994. He was Regimental Colonel of the 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles from 1985 to 1994.
 
field_remembrance_2017_109After the service at the Westminster Abbey Gardens the Gurkha party moved to the statue of Field Marshal The Viscount Slim on Whitehall and a small number of wreaths were laid as a mark of respect.

 
The party moved to the Memorial to the Brigade of Gurkhas on Horse Guards Avenue, Whitehall, London. This was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 3 December 1997. This was the first memorial to Gurkha soldiers in the United Kingdom, and was occasioned by transfer of their headquarters and training centre from Hong Kong to London in 1997. The sculptor was Philip Jackson, working from a statue of 1924 by Richard Reginald Goulden in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the plinth was designed by Cecil Denny Highton. A small service took place with Last Post performed by a bugler from the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and a lament performed by a piper for the Royal Gurkha Rifles.
 

reg_sel_17_021Regional Selection East for the Brigade of Gurkhas is currently in full swing.  With the West phase (held in Pokhara) completed in August, the East selection is taking place in Dharan utilising the small MOD compound which was part of the old Gurkha Cantonment. 

Each day groups of potential recruits come from particular districts in turn, arriving early in the morning. Once all have attended they are drawn in an Order of Merit and the top group will join the top group from the west at Central Selection in Pokhara in January 2018 where the highest ranked 270 will be selected for training in the British Army.
 
reg_sel_17_002Once documentation is checked, a medical assessment takes place before the first test of a 800 metre run. 

This is followed by education tests to confirm potential recruits meet the minimum education standards.

Then follow heaves, sit ups, jerry can carry and power bag lifts (the last two being introduced this year).  Other checks included colour blindness and eye sight.

The final action is an interview in Nepali and English. The staff for this huge task, which takes place daily over a three week period, are provided by British Gurkhas Nepal and are augmented by officers and soldiers from the serving Brigade of Gurkhas.
  

reg_sel_17_005A very strong assurance process exists.  While tests take place the recording is double checked by a separate member of staff and all records are checked again before finalising. No member of staff is able to effect an outcome on their own.  Once the Regional Selection East is complete then results by potential recruit number are placed on the MOD website explaining who is selected for Central Selection. 

As part of the assurance process this year Colonel James Robinson, Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, visited 3rd to 5th November. He was accompanied by Brigadier Nick Fitzgerald who, as Director Operations in Army Recruiting, is responsible for recruiting standards was present to ensure the new tests were implemented and carried out fairly.
  
The MOD website which explains the Gurkha recruiting criteria for joining, tests and process.

img_8336Soldiers from A Company 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles are currently in Kenya on Exercise ASKARI STORM until December 2017 supporting the 3 PARA Battle Group as Contemporary Operating Environment Forces (COEFOR). 

Elements from Support Company and C Company are also in location to provide support as permanent range team and observer mentors to the Battle Group.

The soldiers flew to Kenya at different times and some had an opportunity to join an adventure training package before undertaking the role they have been deployed to deliver, acting as enemy forces for the Battle group.

They are due to finish their exercise at the end of November 2017 and will be back in the UK in time for Christmas. This exercise will provide a learning opportunity for those who will be deploying on Exercise ASKARI STORM in February next year.

 

Tcharles-1116153he Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were festooned with garlands when they visited 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles who are based in Brunei on 2nd November 2017. HRH The Prince of Wales has been the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles for 40 years and he took the chance to chat to members of the Regiment at a reception, his questions had a parental tone.

“Are you able to find the things you need?” he asked one group, then made them laugh when he said “can you get enough goat?”.

 

The Royal Gurkha Rifles have a jungle role battalion permanently based in Brunei. The soldiers are solely drawn from Nepal. 

hrh_003Lieutenant-Colonel Jamie Murray, the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles, hosted the royal couple during the reception at a Brunei royal family residence called Edinburgh Palace.

His HRH and the Duchess arrived in Brunei they were met at the airport by Brunei’s Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah and his wife, Princess Sarah. They are there as part of a tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and India. This year marks His Majesty The Sultan Of Brunei’s 50 years on the throne in Brunei. The Sultan has always paid special interest with the resident Royal Gurkha Rifles battalion and takes time to visit them in the barracks in Brunei or regular occasions.

qge-ex-khukuri-warrior_00169 Gurkha Field Squadron has just completed five days of adventure training in the Peak District National Park over the period of 22nd – 27th October 2017. The Adventure Training exercise was named Exercise KHUKURI WARRIOR and it delivered a Summer Mountain Foundation (SMF) qualification to six  personnel and a multi activity combined with mountain biking, rock climbing and summer mountaineering.
 

The Peak District National Park is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines and was the first established National park in the UK. It is surrounded by four large cities; Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield.  The park is split into three distinct areas; Dark Peak to the North with Gritstone, White Peak to the South with limestone and South West Peak with combination of Dark and White Peaks.
 
Officer Commanding, 69 Gurkha Field Squadron QGE Major James Walker quoted:  “After all the excellent work that the Squadron has done over the last few months in camp, this exercise provided not only an opportunity to conduct some superb arduous training in demanding terrain, but also gave junior commanders a chance to show off their incredible professionalism and instructional talent with bags of mission command. Sergeant Jayandra and his team delivered an outstanding week.
 
The following key personnel were credit to the success of this AT:
 
Exercise Leader /Mountain Leader Training  – Sergeant Jayandra Garbuja
2IC Ex Leader/Mountain Bike Leader – Lance Corporal Sureen Thapa
Summer Mountain leader – Lance Corporal Mirak Kandangwa
Mountain Leader Training  – Cpl Basanta Thamsuhang
Mountain Bike Leader Training – Lance Corporal Santaraj Budha
Rock Climbing Multi Pitch Leader Training  – Lance Corporal Amber Mambo      
 
Eqge_at_007xercise 2nd in Command, Lance Corporal Sureen quoted that “Who said it’s too late for Summer adventure!  As our workload started to increase  for 69 Squadron we still managed to find a week to boost the moral for the boys and at the same time quality mountain time on relevant adventure training tasks. What a week! It was a mix of weather conditions to start with however the weather was in our favour at the latter part of the week coinciding with the right attitude of our boys.”

Jay QGE, Jay 36 Engineer Regiment

22829541_296272384219448_2363297048842030335_oThe annual Exercise SAMJHANA BIRSANA of Gurkha Company Catterick took place from 15th to 20th October 2017 on the arduous training area of Kielder Forest called Otterburn.

The Exercise was led by the Training Officer Gurkha Company Catterick – Captain Binod Kerung.

The Exercise tested the Recruit Intake 2017 in all aspects and the experience they had gained over the nine months of infantry training. The Exercise had it all from live enemy, tactical resupply and battle simulation.

The Training Riflemen were tested from Section to Platoon level in Harbour Routine, Advance to Contact, Fighting Patrol, Recce Patrol, Standing Patrol, Vehicle Check Point, Clearance Patrol and many more basic infantry skills that they will need to call on as trained soldiers in the future.

The Officer Commanding Gurkha Company Catterick Major Prembahadur Gurung and 2nd in Command Gurkha Company Catterick Captain Milan Rai visited the Exercise area whenever they had the opportunity to see how the trainees were coping in the conditions and environment around them.  They encouraged and praised the efforts of the young Trainee Riflemen under their charge.

 

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