First of all, on the auspicious occasion of Bijaya Dashami 2074 Bikram Sambat, I send the warmest wishes of myself and my wife to every member of the Brigade, your families and friends; good health, long life and a very happy, prosperous and peaceful year ahead to you all.
The past year’s biggest news was the history made on 16th May 17 by the Brigade After the first attempt in 2015 which had to be halted due to the earthquake, the Gurkha Everest Expedition succeeded in its aim when the first serving Gurkhas summited Mount Everest. This outstanding achievement was a result of our true identity, hardwork, teamwork and amazing leadership.
As has become our tradition, we continue to make our mark operationally in any theatre we deploy to. Last year 2 RGR returned safely from a successful operational tour of Afghanistan, Op TORAL 3. Likewise QGE conducted the final iterations of Op MARMAT (supported by the whole Brigade), QOGLR performed exceptionally whilst on overseas exercise at BATUS and QG SIGNALS have conducted many successful overseas tours. The GSPS have, as always superbly supported all of these activities, and I must include our Gurkha Band who conducted over 200 engagements with their usual professionalism, spreading our brand worldwide. The Brigade’s reputation within Defence and indeed with the nation remains high. We are genuinely valued as a military organisation and regarded with pride as one of this country’s assets.
Nepal continues to make a progress as it rebuilds following the natural disaster that hit the country 2 years ago. Our commitment in the form of Op MARMAT successfully concluded in December 16. The Brigade has drawn strength and pride throughout, knowing that though serving overseas, we have contributed to the rebuild of Nepal and we will continue to do so through the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
I am pleased to share the good news that the two RGR battalions have moved into their new locations in Shorncliffe and Seria, firmly set their bases and are eagerly looking forward to their new commitments. All the families have settled into their new homes and children have started at their new schools. It was a successful and swift transition in order to ensure that the Battalions operational effectiveness was not compromised.
I am delighted and honoured to mention our veterans and their families around the world including those who have chosen to make their homes here in the UK. Our veterans living in UK, Nepal or any part of the world are all members of our Brigade family and I wish you much joy and prosperity.
What is the Brigade looking forward to in the future?
I am glad to announce that the Brigade is keeping pace with the rest of the Army and my staff are currently working hard as we look to implement for the first time in our history female recruiting. In addition, we are swiftly progressing with the growth of the Brigade throughout all our capbadges. You will hear more as we move closer towards achieving our goals.
Dashain is a time for us to focus on our loved ones and thank them for their love, support and commitment. We remain indebted to you. Your strength and fortitude enables us to be who we are Gurkha soldiers knowing that we are supported by our families and the wider Brigade family is a great source of comfort and inspiration to us.
Once again, to all members of our Brigade, serving and retired, our families and our friends wherever you might be throughout the world, I send you my warmest best wishes on this auspicious occasion for a Happy Dashain, and a peaceful and fulfilling year ahead.
Jai Brigade of Gurkhas!