On Sunday, 17th July 2016 the 31st annual Gurkha Freedom of Brecon Parade took place.
The soldiers from Gurkha Wing (Mandalay) accompanied by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and the Pipes and Drums of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, exercised their rights as Honorary Citizens of the Town of Brecon which was conferred on them in 1985.
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OC Gurkha Wing (Mandalay) Captain Dhalindra Khatri Chhetri RGR, led the parade and reported to Mayor Councillor Mrs Rosemary Evans. Some of the main guests included: Lt Col Rennie MBE, Lord Lieutenant Dame Shan Legge-Bourke, High Sheriff Mrs Ann Tudor, Inspector J Lovatt Dyfed Powys Police, Mr K Tampin (Chair of Powys County Council) and Ms Melanie Doel (Chair Brecon Beacons National Park Authority).
Approximately one thousand people witnessed the parade and enjoyed watching the smart and fast Gurkha drill, Gurkha band display and some Nepali cultural dances in the main high street in Brecon Town.
History of the Parade and Gurkhas in Brecon
The historical accounts suggest that the Gurkhas first came to serve in Brecon in 1974. However, it was not until 12 December 1980 that a Company with a total strength of 85 formed up, to be known as a Gurkha Demonstration Company (GDC) under the old NCO’s Tactical Wing. Ever since the arrival of Gurkhas in Brecon, they have played an important role in the local community and have become an integral part of the society.
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In recognition of their service to the community, the Town Council of Brecon awarded the GDC Honorary Citizenship of Brecon to the Company on 21 November 1985. To mark the occasion, the first parade known as the Brecon Freedom Parade was held on 03 May 1986, and the tradition has continued ever since. The Company was re-titled as a Gurkha Company (Mandalay) on September 2004. Due to the new structure of Army 2020, on 09 January 2014, the Company was reduced in size from 124 to 40 strong Gurkhas with additional 28 across the Training Support Division and was renamed as Gurkha Wing (Mandalay). However, due to the added responsibilities the current strength has increased to 68 Gurkhas personnel in total.
The Company was re-titled as a Gurkha Company (Mandalay) on September 2004. Due to the new structure of Army 2020, on 09 January 2014, the Company was reduced in size from 124 to 40 strong Gurkhas with an additional 28 across the Training Support Division. The Company was renamed as Gurkha Wing (Mandalay). However, due to recent added responsibilities the current strength has increased to 68 Gurkhas personnel in total.