Today members of the Brigade and representatives from all the current and past regimental associations plus key members of the Gurkha Welfare Trust and the Gurkha Museum gathered 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.
This year 380 plots were laid pit in the names of military organisations and associations. Remembrance crosses are planted in these plots – often with hand written messages from family, friends or colleagues.
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.
On this occasion our current Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers (Captain Ganesh Tamang and Captain Lalitbahadur Gurung) and Colonel (Retd) David Hayes were presented to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Prince Henry or Wales (Prince Harry). Prince Harry and Captain Lalitbahadur Gurung have trained and served together.
After the service at the Westminster Abbey gardens the Gurkha community 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. Our two Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers were working hard today and took up position on either side of the statue.
Then 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.
The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers celebrated their 68th Birthday in typical fashion at Invicta Park Barracks, Maidstone on 2nd October 2016.
The event took place at Invicta Park Barracks home of the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers where they are based with 36 Engineer Regiment. 36 Engineer Regiment is a General Support Engineer Regiment, which is part of 3 (UK) Division.
Officers, Soldiers, veterans, families and friends gathered for various events throughout the day including a lunch, cake cutting, speeches, bagpipers and a marching band display by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
Today was the pass out parade for Gurkha Company Recruit Intake 2016 and it was held at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire.
This event marked the end of a 9 month training cycle for 240 young soldiers.
The young Gurkhas will now be assigned to various units within the British Army:
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.
The inspecting officer was Lieutenant General J I Bashall CBE, Commander Home Command and Standing Joint Commander (UK). He 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.
General Bashall said; “I took the salute at the attestation parade on 2nd January 2016 in Nepal. Now 9 months on, the journey that has taken you from Pokhara as selected Trainee Riflemen to Catterick as Trained Soldiers has been realised. It is a proud moment for you all and something I feel privileged to be a part of. The next phase of your career as a soldier in the British Army is ahead of you and is your chance to put all you have worked for and learnt into reality.
Many of you have already battled through adversity in light of last year’s earthquakes which are still very fresh in everyone’s minds. I know many of you will have been personally affected by this tragedy. Your on going support to your families back home has been unwavering and I know you have participated in events such as the Great North Run to help raise money to rebuild the lives of those communities affected.
Put your heads down and continue to soldier to the best of your ability. Master the basics, bring honour to your family and regiment and never forget where you come from. We, the British Army and the wider British public, owe you and your country a debt of gratitude.
I am honoured to be here today to mark the start of your journey as trained Gurkha soldiers. Well done and many congratulations.”
The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas along with the excellent Pipes and Drums of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment who were standing in for the Pipes and Drums of 2 RGR as they are currently deployed on Op Toral in Afghanistan, performed an excellent concert to a packed auditorium in the Dolphin Centre on the evening of 4th October 2016.
This was the 16th in an ongoing series of concerts from which all the proceeds are donated to the Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT).
The Director of Music, Major Tony Adams, choose a varied programme of music and certainly had the audience entertained throughout. With music from Star Wars, Ireland, stage and show and with several solo items the band performed excellently. The concert also featured a pipes and drum set from the QOGLR and a couple of modern numbers from the band’s very own Nepalese Pop stars, ‘The Hill Boys’. The second half also included the traditional Nepali dancers from members of the band.
Money raised from the concert will go to the GWT and will help to continue there work in Nepal including the rebuild of hundreds of homes and several new schools that are required since the earthquake in 2015 which destroyed many homes and other buildings across a wide area. The GWT are also working on a number of other projects including a vital medical programme, the provision of residential homes, the provision of hardship grants, winter fuel allowance and the essential supply of clean water and sanitation.
The concert would not go ahead with the very generous sponsorship by the Managing Director of Sherwoods, Alasdair MacConachie.
To mark 200 years of diplomatic relations between Great Britain and Nepal, a one-day cricket match was organised between Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Nepal on Tuesday 19th July 2016 at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.
It was the hottest day so far this year and players and spectators alike braved the temperatures which scorched over 30 degrees Celsius. The hot weather caused no drop in Gurkha standards of dress however, with many wearing their Regimental mufti to full effect.
4,733 spectators were in attendance, which was many more than expected. The majority of the crowd were Nepalese, but a very healthy attendance came along to support the British MCC also. The crowd were fantastic and truly added to the atmosphere of a remarkable occasion. They all sang along to the songs played by the outstanding Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
The Nepalese wanted to be there to see their country’s flag fly proudly over the Lord’s Cricket Ground and to support their national team. Many British supporters attended not only to watch the superb quality of cricket, but also to show their gratitude to a nation that has given so much to the UK through over 200 years of diplomatic relations and the most fantastic of ambassadors – the British Gurkhas.
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat first. After 50 overs they had scored 217 runs. The MCC then came into bat after the lunch break, however, their batting run rate was not that impressive until the fall of their first wicket.
Despite George Adair’s century, MCC could not hit enough runs to beat the visitors (much to the delight of the majority of the crowd). Nepal recorded a historic victory and defeated the MCC by 41 runs.
The standout player was Sagar Pun, picking-up 3/35 when his superb bowling knocked the MCC middle batting order “for six”. Below is a great video from YouTube showing what it meant for the Nepal players to be able to play at Lords.
Afterwards there was a reception where Colonel James Robinson, Colonel of the Brigade of Gurkhas and other guests were invited to meet with players from both teams.
It was a wonderful and memorable day and we hope that the Nepal Cricket Team will come back to play in the UK many more times in the years to come.
Approximately 3,000 serving and retired Gurkhas together with their families and members of the wider public attended the annual Brigade of Gurkhas Bhela which was held on Saturday, 09 July 2016 at Queen’s Avenue in Aldershot.
The Brigade of Gurkhas’ family ethos
This big event saw retired and serving Gurkhas come together and reunite with old friends. Such a variety of Gurkhas from all different Gurkha units, spanning across decades of Brigade history, always makes this event extra special. Smiles broke across the faces of so many, as they recognised a friend or shared a story from their past. It was also the first year that the trainee Gurkhas from Gurkha Company Catterick had attended the Bhela. Smartly dressed and under the ever steady overwatch of their instructors, they enjoyed witnessing the coming together of serving and retired Gurkhas, which no doubt proved educational as they saw first-hand the great sense of community and family spirit that exists within the Brigade of Gurkhas.
The past and present Gurkha units’ flags were held high at the centre of the pitch while various fun fair attractions were set up to entertain the crowd including archery, weapon display stands and many delicious food outlets serving both Nepalese and British cuisine.
Although the weather wasn’t as pleasant as the sunny day that graced the Bhela in 2015, the rain managed to stay away so everyone could enjoy watching the football being played in the Kathmandu and Nepal Cups.
The day began with the veteran’s football match being played for the Kathmandu Cup. The teams from the Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) and the Queen’s Gurkha Signals (QGS) were able to make their way to the finals by beating teams from the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE) and Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) respectively.
The final two teams took to the field accompanied by the Gulmi Naumati Baja group (typical Nepali Cultural performers) and were then wished good luck by Lieutenant General Sir Peter Duffell KCB CBE MC. It was a very competitive game with high levels of skills shown from both teams, but in the end RGR were able to make the most of their chances in front of goal. The President of the Gurkha Brigade Association (GBA), Lieutenant General Sir David Bill KCB, presented the teams with their awards.
Kathmandu Cup Final Score: RGR 3 – 0 QGS.
Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and Parachute Display Team
There was then an excellent performance from the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas before the Royal Logistics Corps’ Silver Stars Parachute Display Team performed a parachute display onto the football pitch. Despite the very windy conditions, all parachutists successfully ‘hit their target’ and landed on the football pitch with the Nepal flag, Union Jack and Brigade of Gurkhas flag tailing the parachutists for all to see. They then presented Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Col James Robinson, with the match ball for the Nepal Cup Final.
This year, the Nepal Cup Final was always going to be extra exciting with an underdog team making it all the way to the final. The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers were to face a team from Gurkha Company Catterick (GCC) from the Infantry Training Centre. The GCC team had done extremely well to reach the final considering their team is just made up from their instructors. The QGE undoubtedly dominated the game leading wave after wave of attack against the goals posts of the GCC. However, time and time again, the defence valiantly held out (it was a great example of offensive and defensive operations!!). The GCC goalkeeper, Cpl Niraj Gurung, put up an inspiring performance and prevented the QGE from scoring until the 88th minute, when LCpl Arpan from the QGE headed the ball into the back of the GCC net to secure a 1-0 victory for the QGE. The QGE’s superior skills and persistence paid off and they were crowned the Nepal Cup Champions 2016. The sportsmanship shown after the game was superb, with the QGE acknowledging that the GCC had put up an excellent display of teamwork and determination.
Nepal Cup Final Score: QGE 1 – 0 GCC.
Winners – Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE)
Runners up – Gurkha Company Catterick (GCC)
Best Player – Cpl Niraj Gurung (GCC)
Top Scorer – LCpl Arpan Gurung (QGE)
After a moment of celebration from QGE, the crowd closed in from the peripheries of the football pitch to watch and dance along to Nepalese artists performing a variety of cultural shows. Col BG also took the opportunity to thank all those who came and made the Brigade Bhela successful. He added that the relationship between the serving and retired personnel was as ever, extremely close and he thanked everyone for their attendance.
It was a great day and HQ Brigade of Gurkhas would like to thank all those who came and made the day so memorable. We urge you to come back next year and to those who couldn’t make it, we hope you will visit next year.
Jai Brigade of Gurkhas!
Below are some photo galleries from the day. Try and spot yourself!
Gallery 1 – The Gurkha community, members of the public and the display stands
Gallery 2 – The Kathmandu Cup
Gallery 4 – The Nepal Cup
Gallery 5 – Cultural Shows
Photo Credits to: LCpl Vishal Gurung, LCpl Bibek Limbu and LCpl Subarna Gurung
On Wednesday 29 June golfers from all over the Brigade of Gurkhas gathered to take part in the Brigade Golf Championship held in the UK for only the second time. Teams represented all parts of the Brigade, including representation from British Gurkhas Nepal, the ARRC Support Battalion and Gurkha Company Catterick. In all 13 teams took part with a total of 52 players. The day was organised by SO3 Plans/ QGOO Capt Muktiprasad Gurung RGR with help from HQBG staff.
Teams gathered at Windlesham Golf Course in time for coffee, buns and the obligatory competition briefing. At 1044 hours Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, Col James Robinson, hit the first drive, fortunately a clean shot down the middle of the fairway, followed by a lay-up into the stream in front of the 1st green! The course was in excellent condition, however, the wind and rain ensured that the competitors would be challenged.
At the conclusion of the competition all players enjoyed an excellent dinner in the club house which was followed by prize giving. Colonel BG presented the prizes to the winning teams and individuals.
Teams were scored on full handicap and individuals on ¾ handicap. Congratulations go to 1st Bn RGR for retaining their title, a full list of all prize winners is detailed below. A great deal of thanks must go to Windlesham Golf course for hosting the event in such style.
Nearest to Pin – Col J Robinson, HQBG
– CSgt Bishwahang Rai, 2 RGR
Longest Drive – Sgt Nilkumar Thapa, QGE
– CSgt Naresh Gurung, 1 RGR
Most Pars – Capt Gyanbahadur Dhenga, Gurkha Coy Catterick
Most Birdies – CSgt Bishwahang Rai, 2RGR
Best Dress (Team) – Band of Brigade of Gurkhas
Division A, Winner – SSgt Nilkumar Thapa, QOGLR
Division A, Runner Up – Capt Gyanbahadur Dhenga, Gurkha Coy Catterick
Division B, Winner – Sgt Furtenji Sherpa, QGE
Division B, Runner Up – Capt Muktiprasad Gurung, HQBG
Division C, Winner – Cpl Anil Gurung, 1RGR
Division C, Runner Up – LCpl Jit Thapa, QGE
Individual Champion – CSgt Bishwahang Rai, 2 RGR
Individual Runner Up – Cpl Raju Tamang, 1 RGR
BG Unit Champion – 1 RGR
BG Unit Runners Up – 2 RGR
Gurkhas based all over the UK, Brunei and Nepal celebrated the Hindu Festival of colours; Holi. It marks the beginning of spring and symbolises new beginnings. It’s a time to put conflicts and worries behind you and to start a fresh. It also commemorates the story of Prahlada, which is seen to symbolise good overcoming evil.
Soldiers from 2 RGR and The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas celebrated Holi in Shorncliffe. A temple service was organised in Sir John Moore Barracks to celebrate the event.
Queen’s Gurkha Engineers and The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas became the runners up at the Army Inter Major and Minor Units’ Championship 2016 which was held in Aldershot Garrison Sports Club on 17 March 2016.
The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas entered the minor units final beating 4 RMP while 36 Engineer Regiment, Queen’s Gurkha Engineers beat 6 REME to reach the Army Major Units final. Both the BG units performed extremely well to reach the finals. The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas lost the finals against a strong “Upavon Station” team led by Maj Gen T R Urch CBE, President of the Combined Services Squash Rackets Association. Likewise, 36 Engineer Regt QGE became the Army Major Unit runners up. They lost their final match played against another strong team, 1 RSME.
The President of the Combined Services Squash Rackets Association, Maj Gen Urch CBE gave the final speech at the award ceremony afterwards and thanked everyone for playing a superb series.