Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Combat Arms Seaview Regatta 2019

The annual Combat Arms Seaview Regatta was held at Seaview, Isle of Wight over the period 7th – 9th May 2019.  Sponsored by QIOPTIQ, this annual regatta is open to Infantry and Royal Armoured Corps crew of three soldiers. The Specialist Weapons School (SWS) entered a crew, consisting of Major Darren Szymanski (Chief Instructor Mortar Division) as the helmsman, with Lance Corporal (LCpl) Bal Thapa and Rifleman (Rfn) Prakash Tamang both from Gurkha Company Tavoleto, SWS as crew. Both were novice sailors, having never set foot on a sailing boat before. 

A total of 24 crew were competing this year, with a mixture of teams coming from major units representing their respective Regiments to ad hoc teams drawing from those at E, including a crew containing a mix of Infantry and Royal Armoured Corps personnel. 

With minimal opportunity to familiarise the crew with the one design fleet of ‘Mermaid’ keelboats which we would be racing, much preparation was carried out shoreside, with LCpl Bal Thapa and Rfn Prakash keen to learn the techniques, rules and tactics which are vital when keelboat racing. 

All racing took place on the coast immediately off Seaview, with the course for each race being set according to the wind and tidal conditions at the time, but all requiring crew to sail around windward and downwind buoys amongst a fleet of 12 boats in each race, testing the tactical and technical abilities of the crew over races which averaged around an hour per race. 

The crew quickly found it’s groove, with LCpl Bal Thapa and Rfn Prakash rapidly learning the ‘ropes’ and anticipating the actions required prior to rounding each racing mark, something which is critical to maintain boat speed and hold or gain position in the fleet. 

With each race, the crew confidence and proficiency increased, resulting in second (of 12 in each race) being the average finishing position across eight races, with the team’s worst placing being discarded. The discarded result was a ‘Retired from race’, which was a consequence of a very lumpy sea state which resulted in the whole boat and crew being underwater at one stage, with only the mast above the surface! 

An hour of hard work bailing out got the boat in good order and the adrenalin pumping, and so we were able to race again. 

Over three days of racing this consistency was an outstanding achievement, enabled entirely by the skills and desire to win displayed by the whole crew; a true team effort. The end result being that the SWS team finished the regatta as the winning Infantry team, being awarded the Infantry Open cup as Infantry Champions 2019! 

With an increasingly enthusiastic cohort of Gurkha soldiers who are keen to experience sailing, Gurkha Company Tavoleto are well placed to qualify young soldiers as competent sailors, with an aim to retain the title in 2020 and generate sailing expertise in depth, which will in turn feed potential crew back into 1 and 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles which will be able to enter this and other regattas in the future.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal visited the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division Signal Regiment at Bulford on 29th May 2019. Soldiers and officers formed up on parade at Picton Barracks in the presence of their Colonel-in-Chief, marking the reformation of 249 Gurkha Signal Squadron, and acknowledging the Centenary of the Bulford Kiwi Monument.

Soldiers and officers formed up on parade at Picton Barracks in the presence of their Colonel-in-Chief, marking the reformation of 249 Gurkha Signal Squadron, and acknowledging the Centenary of the Bulford Kiwi Monument.

The event was also attended by Master of Signals, Lieutenant General Nick Pope CBE, New Zealand High Commissioner, The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM QSO, serving personnel from the British and New Zealand Signals, their families and veterans.

The reformation of 249 Gurkha Signals Squadron is part of the wider increase in the number of Gurkhas serving in the British Army.

Many congratulations to 10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment Badminton Team who have won the Army Badminton Championship 2019 after a superb competition at Grantham. The team led by Sergeant Ramu Rai  (1 Squadron – Defence School of Logistics) performed brilliantly in all categories.

The team members were:

  • Staff Sergeant Madan Rana (36 Squadron)
  • Staff Sergeant Narendra Gurung (28 Squadron)
  • Sergeant Pankaj Gurung (36 Squadron)
  • Sergeant Ramu Rai (Overall in Charge) 1 Squadron/Defence School of Logistics 
  • Corporal Prem Wanem (36 Squadron)
  • Corporal Netra Gurung (36 Squadron/Training Wing)
  • Lance Corporal Lok Thapa (28 Squadron/Welfare)

Dear all Gurkha Brigade Association friends, please find below the link to all online version of Parbate.

This is May’s edition and it covers some events including:

  • Gurkhas in Australia
  • Exercise RATTLESNAKE – 2019
  • Public Duties Queen’s Gurkha Engineers
  • Life in the Combined Royal Gurkha Rifles Centre -Operation TORAL 7
  • Burma Day
  • Exercise LION SUN THREE

The Brigade of Gurkhas Media Team.

Colonel James Robinson CBE (Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas) and Mr Nick Beer (Chief Development Officer Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC)) attended the formal inauguration of the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) Gurkha Radio on 22nd May 2019 at Gurkha Company Tavoleto, Warminster.

All serving personnel and their families including the Nepalese community (Retired Gurkhas) living within the local area are delighted with the new service and enjoying listening to the Gurkha Radio. Although we are fulfilling our duties and roles in a different part of the world, this allows us to stay connected with our country, community and the Brigade of Gurkhas providing up to date news and all sorts of activities.

Major Chandra Bahadur Pun, (Officer Commanding) said; “We are very much grateful for those who supported to make this project a successful one, particularly Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas who supported us by sourcing the funding, Warminster Garrison management team who has permitted the use of this important piece of ground for the BFBS antenna, Mr Nick Beer the Chief Development officer of SSVC who provided all the equipment, my predecessor Major Prakash Gurung Officer Commanding Gurkha Company Tavoleto, who initiated this project by forwarding the business case and all those who supported behind the scenes.  

Gurkha Company Catterick, B Wing conducted an educational and cultural exercise to London (Exercise TESRO KADAM).

As part of their 9 month training programme there are requirements to introduce the young Gurkha recruits to British Customs and understand how our country operates. This includes a trip to London and a visit to the Parliament and other key locations in London including the MOD Main Building to see the Gurkha Statue. 

They also get to see how busy London is compared to Catterick where they carry out their training and how different it is to somewhere like Kathmandu, with opportunities to experience and amazing London underground system. 

Twice a year the Brigade Culture and Language Team accompany the Brigade’s newest subalterns to Nepal for the three month Survival Nepali Language Course (SNLC).

Under the command of Major Bijayant Sherchan with gurujiharu Sergeant Ramesh Rai and Sergeant Haribahadur Thapa Magar, the intensive language instruction in British Gurkhas Pokhara (BGP) lasts for ten weeks and is followed by a Directed Duty Trek (DDT) in either the East or West of Nepal.

This February ten of the finest chadke officers descended on Pokhara to learn the basics of Nepali language, the unique culture of Nepal and its people, and to see where their soldiers have come from.

Let’s meet them:

Lieutenant (Lt) Alex Hoccom

A Troop Commander in the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR). Lt Hoccom’s remarkable fitness and determination saw him achieve the fastest Doko Race time. Each potential Gurkha recruit must undergo this race, an arduous uphill run completed carrying a traditional Nepalese weighted basket upon the back. It is a rite of passage of British Officers serving within the Brigade to complete this course. Lt Hoccom also arranged for the course to undertake the Annapurna Base Camp Trek on a weekend off, an opportunity for the students to see the wonders of the Himalayas on their doorstep.

Lt Zachary Tarrant-Taylor

A Troop Commander in the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE). Lt Tarrant-Taylor undertook his DDT trekking around Lamjung in the West of Nepal. During the DDT, alongside visits including school and water projects, Welfare Pensioners were visited. Welfare Pensioners are ex-service personnel, who served within the Brigade but did not qualify for a Service Pension, or their dependents. On the trek, the task is to check on their health, home, and well-being. Since the individuals live in rural hill areas, this trek was particularly arduous, and each officer took three porters to support them.

Second Lt Robert Top/Cannon

2 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) and please note: “wahan Nepali hoina”. Lt Cannon’s consumption of mo mos was incredible, and he consumed at least one for every word of vocabulary learnt (hundreds). Mo mos are a traditional Nepalese dumpling, which is usually steamed and served with a fresh chilli chutney.

Lt Hermione Karas

From 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron (GSS), and running entirely off Dal Bhat, (lentils and rice) the staple food in Nepal, Lt Karas achieved the JP Cross Award for Top Student. JP Cross, fluent in Nepali amongst other impressive languages, and a Nepali citizen, is known as a father figure within the Brigade. JP Cross reached the rank of Lt Colonel and served across the Brigade for 39 years. The course was fortunate to have JP Cross attend and give lectures three times during the course, about the Brigade’s founding, history, and his own arduous experiences.

Lt Alexander Nayanmanche 

A Troop Commander in 246 GSS, York.  Lt Newman led the group at the initial messing event, using a kukri for his first time. Messing is an important part of Brigade life allowing everyone to come together, socialise and cook from scratch over an open fire in a korai (large pot). He undertook his Area Welfare Centre (AWC) attachment in Gorkha, where the course also had the opportunity to visit the historic temple and palace.

Captain (Capt) Jonathan Cookie 

Capt Cooke is the new Engineering Project Officer for Gurkha Welfare Trust Nepal (GWT(N)), providing integral support to the projects that GWT run in Nepal, including new school builds or improvements, water projects and bridge building. He will be posted to British Gurkhas Pokhara (BGP) for the next year and can be found riding around Pokhara on his Royal Enfield or teaching surf lessons on Fewa Lake. He is a talented guitar player and during the course hijacked stages in Lakeside, performing Nepalese pop songs including Talko Pani.

Lt Benjamin “The Hound” Atkinson

A Platoon Commander in 2 RGR, Lt Atkinson grasped the language remarkably quickly. This may be attributed either to his language experience, having studied both Arabic and Spanish previously, or to his urgent requirement to learn the local Nepalese ‘chat-up’ lines. Learning some Nepalese dance moves was also a personal priority and Lt Atkinson was quick to establish an impressive “uthyo basyo” (an up-down rapid squatting dance-move).

Second Lt Owen Naspatimanchhe

A new Troop Commander at 4 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), Second Lt Pearman mastered the art of the game Bagh Chal instantly and soon became course champion. Bhag Chal, or ‘Tigers and Goats’, is a traditional Nepalese board game. Simple and competitive, it is played widely in Nepal. A music enthusiast, Lt Pearman’s daily routine at BGP consisted of water parade followed by a recital of Jham Jham Pareli or Naini Taal, the traditional Brigade songs that the course learnt as part of the cultural instruction.

Lt Oscar Bahadur Chettri

He can usually be found wearing his topi or dressed like the Indian Prime Minister. Kaida is integral to the Gurkhas’ successes, through his understanding of the culture and tradition in Nepal. Lt Maynard was awarded The Kaida Cup by his course mates, embracing Nepali using immersion techniques, he was also awarded the Most Improved Student. His pronunciation improved at an incredible rate; early in the course, when in a local bar, he asked the DJ to play “Talko Pani” (water of the lake) and instead received a glass of “tato-pani” (hot water)!

Lt Samuel Engine-Hix

From 9 Regiment RLC. Lt Hix had recently returned from Oman. Halfway through the course, every officer does an attachment to an AWC. There are 21 AWCs across Nepal and 1 in India. They deliver the GWT services overseeing projects and supporting Welfare Pensioners. Lt Hix undertook his attachment in Butwal, West Nepal where he found that, being close to the Nepal border, there was an extra linguistic challenge: some Hindi slang would be occasionally thrown in. These attachments were great conversation practice and were also a chance to see different areas of the country. On returning to BGP, presentations had to be delivered, comparing the different experiences at different locations and as a final assessment of the students speaking ability.        

The course is an important for British Officers who will command and manage Gurkhas. It allows them to engage with their soldiers in their mother tongue and truly understand the different culture and traditions practised. The trek was important to discover the more rural areas of Nepal and how far our soldiers have come since joining the Brigade, whilst also delivering an important service for GWT(N). It is an opportunity for all the cap badges to come together as course mates, but also for a bit of healthy competition. The following awards were presented:

Fastest Doko Time: Lt Alex Hoccom, 10 QOGLR

JP Cross Award for Top Student: Lt Hannah Karas, 250 GSS

The Kaida Cup: Lt Oscar Maynard, QGE

Most Improved Student: Lt Oscar Maynard, QGE

On 16th May 2019, after 13 weeks of  the intensive and demanding Combat Infantryman’s Course (CIC) 18 training program, Recruit Intake 19 (RI19) recruits successfully passed their Pass of the Square (POS).

It’s a big milestone for RI19 for completing the combat basic training which enables them to be independent to move from A to B location without assistance of their guruji’s. At the POS competition there were six key events. All the main events points were added towards the end of the competition to identify the Top POS trainees and the overall POS Champion Platoon.

The first individual assessment for RI19 was the trainees individual room inspection.  The judges inspected all RI19 recruits individual beds, locker layout and cleanliness of the accommodation area. The standard and the effort made by RI19 was impressive, it was very tough for the judges to select the best.

The second individual assessment in POS competition for RI19 trainees was individual dress and turn out.  Before the individual foot drill without arms (weapons), each trainee was inspected with RI19 trainees demonstrating a very high standard of individual dress and turn out which made the competition even more tough.

Individuals drill without arms  was the third assessment and the trainees formed up in a pair of four and was assessed in their basic foot drills without arms. All the Platoon Sergeants assessed the drills and scored them according to their performance.

After completing the individual’s assessment, RI19 trainees were assessed as teams at Platoon level. The first Platoon competition was Close Quarter Combat (CQC). The trainees demonstrated a Khukuri pattern in a Platoon, the judges on CQC was Master Rastra Rai who closely assessed trainees’ drills and proper technique of the Khukuri.

The final competition was the Platoon foot drills without arms.  All the Wing Commanders judged each Platoon’s drill. Platoon Sergeant from each Platoon conducted the static and movement drills without arms.  All the Platoons foot drill was in very high standards, it was another tough completion for judges to identify the Champion Platoon.

With the individual scores collected from all the assessment, Trainee Rifleman Sujan Ghising from 5 Platoon, B Wing was the overall Top POS trainee. Collection of all the aggregate individuals scores and platoon events, 2 (Kandahar) Platoon led by Platoon Commander Captain Suresh Sambahamphe was the overall Champion Platoon of the RI19 POS. The Commanding Officer also presented his Commanding Officer’s tankard to the eight individuals for their outstanding performance from the Company. Finally, after completion for the POS, the trainees enjoyed their first ever messing with the Platoon.

The POS competition was very competitive and RI19 demonstrated a very high standard in every assessment. It’s a huge achievement for RI19 to successfully complete the basic infantry training to move for further CIC (18) training.

On Friday 17th May 2019, Sergeant Pramod Rai  a member of the Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support (GSPS), successfully reached Everest Base camp (5364m) and on to Kalapathar (5545m) during Exercise TIGER SAGARMATHA SAAHASI, an expedition organised from Worthy Down.

With people from different services and cap-badges, Sergeant Pramod has been was the second in command of the Exercise and is the only GSPS and Nepalese member within the group.

The team will be flying back to Kathmandu from Lukla on Fri 24th May 2019.

 

Members of 1 Squadron visited one of the largest Amazon Fulfilment Centres in the UK (Built in 2017) during their busy routine of Queen’s Guard (Public Duties) commitment. 

The visit provided an opportunity to observe an advance robotics amazon technology, understand supply chain and procedures to be followed to fulfil the need of costumers.

All the participants were amazed to see all the systems used to meet the costumer’s demands by selecting more than 150 million items from various locations. Tilbury benefits access to the UK multi-modal logistics gateway. Four international deep-sea ports, six rail freight terminals, and the UK largest cargo airport (London Stansted) in Essex.

The visit helped participants to understand the commercial organisations logistics (How millions of customers are being fulfilled on a daily basis) compared to the military logistics, and how to harness technology to support military chain in particular.

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