Today at the Attestation parade in Pokhara, Nepal, the Chief of the General Staff and Head of the British Army was the inspecting officer as 432 newly selected Gurkhas were on parade the first time.
Also in attendance as principal guests were; H.E. British Ambassador to Nepal, Nepal Army Major General and APF Inspector General, Dignitaries, British Gurkha staff, and over 1700 family members and friends of the new Gurkhas who all came together to wish them all the best at the start of their exciting new journey.
During the parade the young Nepalese men step forward and take the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen by saluting her image and touching a table where her photograph stands, whilst senior Army Officers including the Chief of the General Staff represent her behind the table and acknowledge the act by each of the new Gurkhas.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB CBE ADC Gen (Chief of the General Staff) inspected the front line of the 432 Gurkhas with the Ambassador, Nepal Army Major General and APF Inspector General, the Deputy Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas and Gurkha hero Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) J P Cross OBE inspecting the other four lines of Gurkhas. It made an impressive sight.
During his speech General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith thanked the young men and their families for choice to join the British Army. Recognised as a life changing decision for both the individuals and family members there was still over 12,000 applicant in during 2019.
He talked about their forefathers who had taken a similar path and supported the British Army, in War and operations around the world and how the Gurkhas deliver excellence at all levels.
He told them they could be proud of making it this far and that they had great careers ahead of them, their Journey had just began.
After the parade all the guests gathered for lunch and for the families it was time to say good bye to their sons and they start to leave for the UK from Wednesday this week across a series of chartered flights. This was a sad time for many as they will probably not see each other for nine months whilst the new Gurkhas undergo training in Catterick.
The very busy, in demand and highly travelled Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas are in Nepal to support numerous events, one of which was this Attestation parade. They performed a short display at the start of the parade and then played as the Gurkhas marched on the parade.
The band then performed background music whilst the inspection was taking place, during the oath of Allegiance and played again as the troops marched past the saluting dias with the General taking the salute.
The General also took time to speak with members of the band after the inspection of the Gurkhas on parade.
Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said; “Witnessing the attestation parade in Pokhara of 432 recruits, the largest intake in 35 years, was one of the most memorable events of my tenure as Chief of the General Staff. To say that it was a life-changing event for those youngsters and their families is an understatement, and the excitement and anticipation etched on everyone’s faces was tangible. I’m looking forward to following the progress of the 2020 intake – it struck me as of exceptional quality, which they will need to match the high standards of their forebears. But the future of the Brigade of Gurkhas looks assured and its prospects very promising”.