The Gurkha Chautara at the National Memorial Arboretum was officially opened by the Princess Royal yesterday to commemorate the Gurkhas from all ranks who have served the Crown since 1815.
Attended by a crowd of over 400 people including servicemen and their families, retired Gurkhas and members of the public, the nation’s media were also present to record the unveiling.
The Chautara Monument, which was built by soldiers from the Queens Own Gurkha Signals Regiment with the help of a professional stone mason, is modelled on the traditional stone resting places used by the sherpas of Nepal.
With some 20,000 Gurkhas having fought and died since the World Wars alone, the monument is a fitting tribute to the ultimate sacrifices that have been made over the years.
The turnout of visitors from across the services, including some overseas uniforms on display, demonstrated the outstanding reputation of the Gurkhas and the regard in which they are held by colleagues and allied forces alike.
Created in 1997, the National Memorial Arboretum is a special place that remembers those who have served, and continue to serve, our nation in many different ways. With some 50,000 trees already planted, and 160 dedicated memorials established on the site, the Arboretum is a living tribute that will forever acknowledge the personal sacrifices made by the armed and civil services of this country.
The President of the Gurkha Brigade Association, Lieutenant General Sir David Bill KCB escorted Her Royal Highness to the Guard of Honour provided by the Brigade of Gurkhas, where she received a Royal Salute.
Field Officer, Major Mark Barratt OC 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 2 Signal Regiment, invited Her Royal Highness to review the front rank of the Guard of Honour and past the Pipes and Drums, before taking his leave.
After the Princess Royal was finished and led to the Chautara, the Lt General gave a touching tribute to the Gurkhas before the chaplains from the Hindu, Bhuddist and Christian faiths each gave a short speech before the unveiling.