Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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1 Royal Gurkha Rifles Catering department update

It has been a busy period for the 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles Catering department since the unit move back to the UK in late Summer 2017. 
 
Their achievements since then can be marked by several key events
 
catering_005Families Day – Almost immediately that the whole of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) were back in the UK the battalion organised a Families Day function for all members of the battalion and family members.
 
Of course as you would expect the Catering Department was called upon and delivered to the highest standard.
 
 
 
 
 
catering_002Dashain – This was the first Dashain with 1 RGR for Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) members assigned to this unit. The chefs used this opportunity to showcase their professional excellence by producing mouth-watering food and spectacular decoration of Fat and Melon Carvings.
 
The Commanding Officer 1 RGR fully appreciated the effort by saying, “QOGLR Chefs are always impressive, but your team is truly the best I have seen in 18 years as an RGR Officer.” 
 
 
 
catering_003Training – Our team has won the tri-services catering competition in the Open field category for the last two years, so the current chefs have the added pressure to maintain this reputation.
 
To ensure that we create history by winning this for the third time, our training is well underway under the watchful eyes of key personalities of the new battalion.
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
catering_004Exercise JOINT CATERER – We have done it again! 1 RGR Catering department for the third year in a row achieving GOLD medals and BEST IN CLASS. This is an unprecedented record for us. From this small department, we won 6 Gold Medals, 1 x Silver Medal and 1 x Bronze Medal.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
catering_006Career Professional Development – Development of soldiers is at the heart of everything we do here. The reflection of this was shone when Catering department was recognised with the awards for Outstanding Contribution on CPD Drive and Best Achiever on Customer Service Level 3 qualification. 
 

10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) sent three Junior Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCO) to undertake the Section Commander’s Battle Course:

  • Lance Corporal Sonic Thapa
  • Lance Corporal Binod Gurung
  • Lance Corporal Ganesh Gurung

qoglr-awardAll three personnel passed the course to particularly high standards. Lance Corporal Sonic Thapa made QOGLR history by passing the Skill at Arms Phase with a Distinction and securing an Instructor Recommendation on the Tactics Phase.

The Section Commander’s Battle Course (SCBC) is one of the most challenging command and leadership courses in the British Army. It is conducted over a 16 week period at the Infantry Battle School, Brecon, in Wales. The course delivers competent and confident commanders for the Field Army by running command and leadership training, infantry tactics training, weapons training, and live firing range qualifications.

Training for high-intensity, light-role war fighting is how JNCOs are prepared for any operational scenario they may encounter; conventional war, counter insurgency, security sector reform, peacekeeping or supporting civil authorities.

SCBC is the promotion qualifying course to be a substantive Corporal and must be completed by all who aspire to be an Infantry Section Commander. It is renowned as a particularly arduous 4 month undertaking and it endeavours to select only the top candidates for progression. The course is divided into two main phases, Skill at Arms and Tactics, with each phase lasting 8 weeks. Every course loads 140 soldiers from across the Army.

web_central18_011The final phase of this year’s Gurkha recruiting is nearing completion. Those who scored well at Regional Selection are called forward to British Gurkhas Pokhara camp to undergo further assessments. For four days they undergo a range of tests.  These include education to confirm they have achieved the appropriate standard of maths and English, written and spoken. Physical assessments include a 2.4 km run and the famous doko race carrying 25kg of sand uphill for 4.5 km. Also included are sit-ups, heaves, jerry can carry and powerbag lift.

The process is managed by grouping the potential recruits into four companies, each with their own programme. As ever half the 520 potential recruits who attend are from the west of Nepal and half from the East with the final selection of 270 also being split 50/50.  This year sees attendance from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.

web_central18_012The night before the selection all relax at a social evening where the potential recruits have a singing competition. The next morning all gather to hear their fate.  Those who are successful move upstairs to immediately phone home and then join their instructors who have arrived from the School of Infantry in the UK.  They are then issued kit, have a haircut and sign their official attestation form. Those who are unfortunate enough not to be selected are provided with their personal items and given travel money to get them home before they then leave the camp.

Prior to departing Nepal for the UK all the recruits will take part in the 2018 Gurkha Attestation Parade in the British Camp Pokhara on 9 February.  The Inspecting Officer this year will be the UK’s Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nick Carter.  The Brigade of Gurkhas Band will be there to perform as part of their month in Nepal supporting UK and Nepalese Army events.

Fantastic news last night as Team Trident won the Talisker Whisky Transatlantic Rowing pairs race setting a new race world record.

img_20180121_095638

img_20180121_095642Team Trident is made up of Captain Jon Armstrong (Royal Gurkha Rifles) and disabled veteran Lance Corporal Jordan Beecher.

To make it even more amazing Jordan lost a leg in Afghanistan.  Jordan was injured by an IED whilst serving in Afghanistan in October 2012, which resulted in his left leg being amputated below the knee. He is also a Great Britain Invictus Games 2016 member. 

 

img_20180121_095645They completed the challenge in in 37 days, 8 hours and 8 minutes. They have been head to head with a rival team for a large part of the duration of the race but clearly dug deep and pulled through to win. 

They have been raising funds for several charities and you can still donate here.

 

 

1rgr-ski-71 Royal Gurkha Rifles recently took part in Exercise FROSTED BLADE 33, which is the Infantry skiing competition for 2018 which took place in Val d’Isere France. 

The Exercise consisted of a five week training package culminating in race week.

The successes for 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles were:

In A team Rifleman Mohan Ale (Support company) won:

  • Silver Individual Giant slalom – Novice
  • Silver Individual Slalom – Novice
  • Best dedicated skier and most improved skier

In B team Rifleman Hemanta Rana (C Company) won:

  • Gold Individual Slalom – Junior
  • Gold Individual Slalom – Novice
  • Silver Individual Giant Slalom – Junior
  • Silver Individual Super G – Junior
  • Gold overall combination – Junior
  • Gold overall combination – Novice

mbe_sherchanCongratulations to Major Bijayant Sherchan MBE (Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support Company) who was awarded the MBE on the new Year Honours List. He completes a 35-year career in which he has been the epitome of self-sacrifice and utter devotion to the Brigade of Gurkhas.  He has been personally responsible for a range of major outcomes during his long and distinguished career in the Brigade both as a clerk and as a staff officer.

As the first head of the newly formed Gurkha Staff and Personal Support, his wisdom and energy, along with painstaking investment in his people, instilled an ethos, spirit and purpose for this newly formed, disparately deployed group of staff. Through his boundless imagination and hard graft, he has created a new tightly bonded team unified behind their new cap badge and with a very strong esprit de corps.

As Deputy Chief of Staff Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas over an extended period, he takes sole responsibility for the embedding of new Gurkha TACOS through careful and patient negotiation with Army Secretariat, Gurkha units and the Army branches. His personal and painstaking investment has set the Brigade on a solid foundation for the future.  Concurrently he has spent time and effort enhancing the vital links with Nepal through his careful and sensitive interaction with policy staff in Kathmandu. This has ensured that the excellent performances of the Brigade of Gurkhas are recognised fully in Nepal and has helped reinforce the United Kingdom’s ability to continue to recruit Gurkha recruits.  

Major Sherchan takes singular responsibility for the careful management of four tranches of Gurkha redundancy with over 900 non-volunteers successfully transitioning. This was a monumental task demanding; numerous visits to Gurkha soldiers around the world to prepare them for transition, guidance and feedback after each tranche, careful negotiations with the UK Home Office for Immigration and Settlement issues; and individual case work that ensured each redundee received his singular attention and support. That there were no issues or failures during this convoluted and challenging period is testament to his total commitment and utmost professionalism.

He has been the model of moral courage in the face of ex-Gurkha protests that became personally aimed at him and his family. In the face of this, he stood resolute and, in order to satisfy an outcome to the satisfaction of Ministers, he spent much of his own personal time monitoring, interacting and advising on this issue of strategic and international proportions. Throughout he remained utterly loyal to the Crown, unperturbed by personal attacks and the epitome of integrity.  Latterly, as a staff officer in Nepal, he held together the staff and families through the ‘annus horribilis’ of 2015; Nepal earthquakes and national fuel strikes. A beacon of steadfastness and dynamism, his leadership drew praise from all levels from 3 star down.

We owe this officer, on whom we have relied disproportionately, the reward of national recognition for a career on which he has always put his people and the Brigade first, most definitely at the expense of his family and his own career development. In everything asked of him, he has gone above and beyond that reasonably expected. This submission is supported in the strongest possible terms by the Brigade’s Colonel Commandant and Colonel BG, and recognition would be loudly acclaimed across the spectrum of the Gurkha family.

 

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