On the 25th September 2021 a statue to recognise the gallantry and value Gurkhas bring to the British Army was unveiled in Aldershot. The statue created by the Sculptor Amy Goodman was conceived after extensive research by the project team and assisted by the Gurkha Museum in Winchester and demonstrates a true story from the battlefield. The Stature shows Havildar Kulbir Thapa VC carrying a British Tommy, Bill Keightley off the battlefield in 1915. Without fear, and with war bullets in his shoulder, ultimately to save his life. Due to this act of Bravery, Havildar Kulbir Thapa was awarded bravery Victoria cross (VC). This is the first VC award within the Gurkhas. Since then, there have been another 12 Gurkha Victoria Crosses awarded. This is Britain's highest military honour.
This is the first historical project launched by the Gurkha Memorial Project (GMP) team, in Aldershot the original home of the British Army, and is now located in the Princes Gardens, in the heart of Aldershot. Greater Rushmoor Nepali community would like to extend their heartfelt thanks, to those that have supported this historical project, forming a landmark in Aldershot town.
Gurkhas have joined forces with many countries and fought many wars together. But what remains at the forefront is the longstanding relationship between Britain and Nepal, which stems over more than
Aldershot has a large Gurkha/ Nepalese community and they have become a real part of the fabric of the town. This statue sits in a prime location in Aldershot and reinforces that relationship with the town the important part Gurkhas have played and continue to do so in conflicts and operations around the world as part of the British Army.
With over 4000 serving Gurkhas in the British Army, it is 100% manned with only the top 3% being successful on a recruitment programme that runs in Nepal and often sees over 12,000 young men apply to join. The Brigade of Gurkhas also has one of the highest levels of deployable personnel any part of the Army has at any given time.
In attendance at the unveiling were a number of local dignitaries, senior military personnel, Gurkha and local veterans, members of the project committee and of course the Amy Goodman the sculptress.
The local MP for Aldershot, Leo Docherty MP, who is also Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Defence People and Veterans) and Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for Defence People and Veterans) also attended the event and in a speech recognised the value the Nepalese community bring to Aldershot and praised the Gurkha Memorial Project team for making this statue a reality.
Gurkha veteran and Gurkha Brigade Association Secretary, Major (Retd) Mani Rai MBE, and attending in his role as Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, also thanked the team and Amy Goodman for their efforts in producing not only a fantastic memorial for the Gurkhas and Aldershot but also organising a great event to mark the unveiling of the statue.