Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Recruit Intake 2017 inspected by the Minister for the Armed Forces

The proud Gurkha soldiers on parade for the final step before becoming trained soldiers in the British Army. Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster inspected Gurkha recruits as they completed their military training at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) in Catterick, North Yorkshire. In autumn last year, these recruits were among thousands who applied to join the British Army. Five thousand of the applicants took part in a rigorous selection in Nepal and 270 of them were successful and started at ITC in February this year. Now the recruits of the Gurkha Company Ð part of 2nd Infantry Training Battalion Ð took part in a passing out parade in front of friends and family at Helles Barracks today (16/11/17). Mr Lancaster inspected the troops and received the salute from the dais as they marched past at the end of the parade. NOTE TO DESKS: MoD release authorised handout images. All images remain Crown Copyright 2017. Photo credit to read -Sgt Jamie Peters RLC (Phot) Email: jamiepeters@mediaops.army.mod.uk shanewilkinson@mediaops.army.mod.uk Shane Wilkinson - 07901 590723

16th November marked the completion of nine months training for trainee Gurkhas at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick.

 
pop_nov17_025A passing out parade took place with the inspecting officer being Mark Lancaster TD VR MP, Minster for the Armed Forces.
 
Mr Lancaster also happens to be a Colonel in the Army Reserve and started his military career in Hong Kong as an Officer in the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers. He continues to be a loyal friend of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
 
 
The Nepalese Ambassador, Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary) was also present and assisted with the inspection of the Gurkhas on parade. 
 

  
The young Gurkhas will now be assigned to various units within the British Army:
  • The Royal Gurkha Rifles
  • The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers
  • Queen’s Gurkha Signals
  • The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
  • The Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support
  • The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas

pop_nov17_093Mark Lancaster MP thanked all the families and friends who made the journey to be at this special occasion; many of whom had travelled long distances to be there. He went on to say that both the now trained Gurkhas and staff should all be proud of what they had achieved and that the Brigade of Gurkhas continues to add value to the British Army on multiple tasks around the world. He stre. ssed the strong relationship between the UK and Nepal was now over 200 years old and continued to grow stronger and both countries had a lot to offer each other.

Armed Forces Minister Inspects Gurkha Recruits Pass Out Parade.The parade was supported by the Band and Pipes and Drums of the Brigade of Gurkhas. A small number of the trainees are selected each year to join the band the pipers and drummers come from across the Brigade.

 

 

 

pop_nov17_224After the parade the parade and guests gathered in the training lines to meet with family members and other guests and watch some demonstrations including the Kukuri Knife dance, Taekwondo and cultural dances.

Lunch was then taken in the Gurkha Company Dinning hall by all parties with the principal guests on a top table.

 

Gurkha Company

The mission is to deliver trained Gurkha soldiers in order to meet the operational requirements of the Brigade of Gurkhas. Gurkha Company currently has 71 permanent staff. It is responsible for delivering the 39 week long combat Infantryman’s Course (Gurkha). All Gurkhas serving in the British Army are trained by the Gurkha Company to become infantrymen first. This provides the Brigade with an agile edge.
 
Until 1948 recruits for the Brigade of Gurkhas were trained in India. After Indian independence the training was centralized in North Malaya in 1951. In 1971 the training was moved to Hong Kong until 1994 when it moved to Church Crookham in the UK. In 1999 the Company was relocated to Catterick. 
 
 
 
 

gsps-soldier-of-the-year-award-2017_002From this year onward, Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support (GSPS) has created a new tradition of recognising and awarding the Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support Company (GSPS) Soldier of the Year based on their outstanding performance and contribution towards the Company and the wider Brigade.

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We are delighted to announce that Lance Corporal Biraj Thapa is the winner of the GSPS Soldier of the Year 2017 Award.

Lance Corporal Biraj (recently promoted) has shown excellence in every aspect of his role and responsibilities, committed and focused in his work, sports, in barracks routine, exercises, and additional duties above his rank.

Colonel GSPS, Officer Commanding and all members of the GSPS family extend their heartiest congratulations to Lance Corporal Biraj Thapa.

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On Tuesday 14th November 2017, Her Majesty The Queen presented Major Prembahadur Gurung RGR and Captain (Retd) Gaubahadur Gurung with MBE’s at an Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

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Major Prem was awarded an MBE for his outstanding tenure as Gurkha Major 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles. 

During a singularly demanding period that included attending to the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes in Nepal, community outreach, compulsory soldier redundancies, public duties and preparing for operations, his exceptional commitment to the well-being of the Gurkhas and their families and his massive contribution to community relations were noted and recognised.

 

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Captain Gaubahadur Gurung served a long and distinguished career in 2 Gurkha Rifles and as Assistant Director of Music before becoming a civil servant working for the Ministry of Defence.

For his support of Service Personnel in Essex he was awarded an MBE.

Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas was delighted to be able to attend this wonderful day and catch up both with Major Prem and also his old friend Captain Gaubahadur.

 

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Receiving his Knighthood on the same day was Sir Mo Farah, so the team took the opportunity for a photograph with a global sports star. 

the-new-ma-nepal-embassy-visit-hqbg_001The new Military Attaché at the Embassy of Nepal London, Colonel Kumar Babu Thapa visited the Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas on 6th November 2017.

Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Colonel Robinson welcomed Colonel Kumar Babu Thapa and provided him with an overview of the Brigade of Gurkhas and emphasised on the need to continue to strengthen the relationship between the this headquarters and the Embassy in London.

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Nepal established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom in 1816.  Treaty of Friendship between Great Britain and Nepal was signed in 1923 which further formalised relations between the two countries. Ever since the establishment of their diplomatic relations, friendship, mutual understanding, cordiality, cooperation and respect for each other’s national interests and aspirations have characterized relationship between the two countries.

The United Kingdom is also the first country in the world with which Nepal had established diplomatic relations. The United Kingdom is the first country in the world which established its Embassy in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. This is the country where Nepal had established its first diplomatic mission (Legation). Nepal had established its legation in London in 1934, which was the first Nepalese diplomatic mission established at the foreign country. It was elevated to the Ambassador level in 1947 A.D.

See the Embassy website for more details.

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.

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