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.
Chefs from the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment have been praised for their support to a Gala dinner to launch World Curry Festival 2016 in Bradford.
Thulo shyabas to LCpl Ram Pun and LCpl Mukesh Rai who both played such a key role in helping Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi open the event in Bradford Cathedral.
The black tie dinner also saw the introduction of the Noon Award, in honour of the late Lord Noon. Known as the Curry King, Lord Noon was instrumental in introducing festival organiser Zulfi Karim to supporters of the event like Mr Oberoi.
The inaugural award was presented to Lord Noon’s daughter, Zeenat Noon Harnal. In future years it will be given to an individual who has shown talent in the curry industry. You can read more here.
Last week the Defence Logistic Trust, in addition to making a colossal £3m donation to the Royal Logistic Corps, presented the Gurkha Welfare Trust with an incredible £300,000 donation.
This most generous of gifts will change the lives of many of our ex-Gurkhas and their countrymen by supporting vital infrastructure projects, including schools, in Nepal delivered under the Gurkha Welfare Scheme.
To honour this occasion, The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment hosted a capability demonstration and lunch at our home in Gale Barracks. Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas was also present as a trustee of the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Those serving in the Brigade of Gurkhas and The Royal Logistic Corps, and the Gurkha Welfare Trust, would like to pay tribute to the staff of the Defence Logistic Trust.
We thank them for the vision, passion and dedication they have not only shown to the people of Nepal but also to 1,000’s of soldiers of our Corps who have benefited for nearly 3 decades from their Vocational scheme.
Jai Defence Logistic Trust!
On Mon 25 Jul 16, three members of Brigade of Gurkhas jumped together for the first time over the skies of Salisbury Plain, setting a record as the first Gurkha Formation Skydiving team during the Advance Parachute Course held at Joint Service Parachute Wing, Netheravon (previous base of HQBG). They are WO2 Khadak Chhetri GSPS, Cpl Dhurba Gurung and Pte Sunny Tumbahangphe both from QOGLR.
WO2 (SQMS) Khadak, an airborne Gurkha, is currently serving at the Defence Academy. He is also a member of the AGC Skydiving and Sports Parachuting Team and has won medals in the Armed Forces Parachute Championships while representing the AGC. Brigade of Gurkhas Welfare and Education Fund has provided funding assistance to support his overseas training in Spain in 2015.
Cpl Dhurba Gurung and Pte Sunny are members of permanent staff currently attached to Joint Service Parachute Wing (JSPW), Netheravon and they are already qualified as Formation Skydivers. They are proud to be representing their regiment and the Brigade of Gurkhas and they are grateful to their chain of command for giving this opportunity.
The team is grateful to Capt Somerville QOGLR for not only vising the team but also for releasing LCpl Vishal Gurung to capture this historic sporting event in the Brigade’s history.
Parachute Courses (Basic, Intermediate and Advance) are open to all members of the Armed Forces including the Reserves and they are free. Courses are held at Netheravon, RAF Weston-on-the-Green as well as in Cyprus. WO2 Khadak Chhetri and Cpl Dhurba Gurung will be taking part in AFPC 16 being held at Army Parachute Association Netheravon over period 20 – 26 Aug 16.
Please feel free to contact WO2 Khadak should you wish to find out more information about how you could also take part in Gurkha Formation Parachuting.
Photos credits: LCpl Vishal Gurung QOGLR and Capt Sean Sapsford AGC (SPS).
Article: WO2 Khadak Chettri, GSPS.
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
Today, the Brigade of Gurkhas wishes Happy Birthday to the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) on their 58th Birthday. Celebrations were held by QOGLR last weekend during the Kasam Khane Parade (where new Gurkhas who have just joined swear their allegiance to the Regiment).
GURKHA ARMY SERVICE CORPS
Raised in Singapore in 1958 as the Gurkha Army Service Corps (Gurkha ASC), it was manned by British officers and non-commissioned officers (NCO) seconded from the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) and, initially, by Gurkha officers and soldiers who had been transferred from the Gurkha battalions. Thereafter, Gurkha recruits have been posted-in directly on completion of their basic training. By 1962, the Gurkha ASC was fully formed and trained to take its place in The Brigade of Gurkhas’ Order of Battle and consisted of a Headquarters stationed in Malaya and four companies serving in the United Kingdom, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In late 1962, a company of the Gurkha ASC was deployed in support of operations to quell a rebellion in the Sultanate of Brunei. Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia followed and companies of the Gurkha ASC were committed to supporting operations in Borneo and the Malay Peninsula over the next three years. During this period, the Army’s logistic services were re-organised and in 1965 the Gurkha ASC was re-designated The Gurkha Transport Regiment (GTR).
At the end of Confrontation in 1966, there was a major cut in the strength of The Brigade of Gurkhas with a concurrent withdrawal of British Forces from Malaysia and Singapore. The Regiment was reduced to a headquarters and two transport squadrons and concentrated in Hong Kong by 1971. This now became its home for the next 25 years where it provided transport support to the Hong Kong Garrison, operated the Colony’s armoured personnel carriers and took part in anti-illegal immigrant operations along the Sino-Hong Kong border.
In 1990, as a result of the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, a composite Gurkha transport squadron was formed and deployed from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia in the ambulance role and took part in the Gulf War 1991. Later the same year, another composite squadron was raised, which deployed to Cyprus for six months to serve with the United Nations Force; this was also the first occasion that a British Gurkha unit had served with the United Nations. In 1992, in recognition of the Regiment’s operational service, Her Majesty The Queen approved the grant of the royal title ‘The Queen’s Own Gurkha Transport Regiment’ (QOGTR). The next year, HRH The Princess Royal was appointed Affiliated Colonel-in-Chief, which is a unique appointment to the Gurkha corps regiments.
In the early 1990s, Britain’s Armed Forces were significantly reduced following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and break-up of the Soviet Union. Coupled with the impending hand-back of Hong Kong to China in 1997, there now followed a further major cut in the strength of The Brigade of Gurkhas. QOGTR was reduced to a small headquarters and single squadron, which moved to the United Kingdom on a permanent basis in 1993. Next year this squadron undertook Public Duties at the Tower of London and in 1995 it became the first Gurkha unit to be deployed on operations in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia with the United Nations Protection Force. Further tours to the Balkans followed with NATO.
From 2001, the Regiment once again began to expand with the formation of a squadron in the specialist stores role in a Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) Supply Regiment and the transfer-in of all Gurkha chefs from The Royal Gurkha Rifles. To reflect this wider logistic role, it was re-designated The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR). Another transport squadron was formed in 2005 and the following year the RLC regiment with its two Gurkha transport squadrons was re-titled 10 Transport Regiment QOGLR with the addition of a re-designated Headquarters Squadron.
The Regiment took part in the Iraq War in 2003 and, uniquely, was the only formed Gurkha unit to have taken part in both the 1991 and 2003 Iraq conflicts. Further operational tours by squadrons of the Regiment to Iraq followed in 2004 and 2006 and in 2007 the Regiment deployed as part of the United Nations Force in Cyprus in the infantry role. Throughout this period, detachments of the regiment also served on operations with other Gurkha units in the Balkans, East Timor, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
The Regiment celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2008 when 10 Transport Regiment QOGLR was re-designated 10 QOGLR. The next year all the QOGLR squadrons deployed to Afghanistan; notably this was the first occasion since being raised that the whole Regiment had served together on operations, to include the Colonel of the Regiment in his role as Brigade Commander. In 2011, there were subsequent deployments to Afghanistan by the Regimental Headquarters and individual squadrons in the logistic support and police mentoring roles, as well as to Cyprus with the United Nations. However, all this was increasingly overshadowed by the 2010 Defence Review leading to major reductions and restructuring in the Army, The Brigade of Gurkhas and the Regiment.
At the close of 2014, combat operations came to an end in Afghanistan as did two decades of continuous operational deployments by the Regiment to the Balkans, Iraq, Cyprus and Afghanistan. In the meantime, the Regiment had faced a humanitarian challenge with the deployment of elements to West Africa in response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.
By 2015, the Regiment comprised a Regimental Headquarters and three squadrons and celebrated 200 years of Gurkha Service to the Crown. Along with other regiments of The Brigade of Gurkhas it took part in all of the celebrations and ceremonial parades, to include Public Duties, to mark this significant milestone in the history of a soldier who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom and whose country, Nepal, has never formed part of Britain’s late Empire or the Commonwealth.
(history extracted from www.qoglr.co.uk)
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
The Brigade are delighted to be able to congratulate Lieutenant Colonel Garry Blewitt R Welsh on being awarded an OBE and Major Devendra Ale MVO QOGLR, Major Yambahadur Rana MVO RGR, Major Mark Hendry QGE and Major Andrew Todd RGR on being awarded MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Lieutenant Colonel Garry Blewitt served for over three years as Field Director of the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, overseeing not only the most ambitious programme in the Gurkha Welfare Trust’s fifty year history but also coordinating their immediate response to the tragic earthquakes of 2015. He has now retired from the Army.
Major Devendra Ale, Gurkha Major 10 QOGLR, is a truly inspirational officer within the Brigade who has been instrumental in the development of an innovative community engagement strategy, led on Regimental commitments to mark 200 years of Gurkha Service to the Crown and given a lifetime of service to the Brigade and QOGLR.
Major Yambahadur Rana, an iconic figure in the Brigade, recently retired after a long and distinguished career including his final tour as OC Gurkha Company(Sittang). Throughout his career in the Army he has given up huge amounts of his own time; supporting the Gurkha Museum, raising thousands of pounds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and acting as an ambassador and mentor for the resident UK Gurkha community. He now works for the GWS in Nepal.
Major Mark Hendry has recently finished his tour as OC 69 Sqn QGE. Last year he deployed with the squadron to the Falkland Islands to conduct infrastructure repairs in poor conditions. On hearing the news of the earthquake in Nepal, the squadron were immediately redeployed to Nepal to support the post earthquake reconstruction. Having sent out reconnaissance patrols, his teams provided emergency support to those most in need before they began the hard work of reconstruction in the most demanding conditions.
Major Andrew Todd was the deputy leader of the G200 Everest Expedition. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake he displayed outstanding leadership in adversity, being instrumental in evacuating all 116 climbers and sherpas to the safety of the Base Camp from Camp 1 in a limited 5-hour weather window. He then further co-ordinated the team to provide medical support and initial emergency relief to the villages along their route as they trekked back to Kathmandu and supported the UK relief effort.
We in the Brigade are proud to be able honour and celebrate your remarkable achievements.
On Saturday 12 March 2016, 10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) were granted the Freedom of the Borough of Rushmoor in front of the people of Aldershot. The Regiment marched through Aldershot town centre on Saturday morning, led by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and their own Regimental Pipes and Drums.
Colonel of the Regt QOGLR, Major General Angus Fay and Mayor of Rushmoor Councillor Martin Tennant inspected the troops before presenting the Freedom Scroll to Commander QOGLR , Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Reehal MBE.
Councillor Tennant said, “On behalf of the Borough of Rushmoor, it gives me great pleasure to present this scroll to The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment. The decision to grant the Freedom of the Borough was unanimously carried by our councillors in recognition of the Regiments’ bravery, courage and distinguished achievements.”
Indeed, the QOGLR has completed two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan since they moved to Aldershot.
It is worth noting, that this is the highest honour a council can give and comes at a symbolic time as 200 years of loyal service of the Brigade of Gurkhas to the British Crown were recently celebrated.
Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Reehal MBE said, “In the year in which we celebrate 200 years of dedicated and unbroken service by the Brigade of Gurkhas to the British Crown, it is a single honour for us to be able to say ‘thank-you’ to the people of Rushmoor and Aldershot. We are, and will remain, your obedient servants – your Gurkhas.”
Led by the Band and the Regimental Pipes and Drums, the QOGLR then proudly marched along Grosvenor Road, Station Road, High Street and then back to Princess Hall. Hundreds of people lined the way, applauding and cheering to support this momentous occasion.
Below are some media coverage links: