Even media and politicians have run out of new ways of describing the extraordinary times we live in and so I shall not try to do so. The coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease has affected us all in one way or another and there is much to adjust to. I have no doubt more will follow. I wish it were not so.
But in these uncertain and unprecedented times good people rightly step up to the plate. I wanted to write to let you know how evident our Brigade’s excellent and hard work is. Ours is a unique Brigade, with a global geographical footprint which is second to none. So, we are all rightly concerned as the effects of the pandemic manifest in each country. We have units held at high readiness for overseas operations; eventualities now expanded to incorporate tasks related to the impact of the coronavirus. We already have groups deployed in the UK in direct support of the NHS. We’ve also got our permanently deployed overseas units in Nepal and Brunei. All are facing different challenges.
Strong leadership is required in our communities: to share best practice and to avoid spreading rumour. We must continue to look after each other. Some of the hallmarks of Gurkha service are readily and rightly apparent: constructive team work; strong unit cohesion; unswerving dedication, irrepressible good humour (a vital constituent); and an unparalleled appetite for hard work. This is a new type of threat for us all. It is invisible. It cares not for age nor colour, nor gender, nor class, nor rank. It might be in our homes, our immediate families and with our friends or parents. We will all be rightly concerned for everyone and particularly for our aged veterans population both here in the UK and in Nepal.
There is much change to cope with. Our daily lives look and feel different and also the routines to which we have become accustomed in our work-place. The freeze on postings, summer movement and in particular the suspension of the RGR unit move all mean that we need to re-calibrate. We have a number of soldiers and their families who are mal-located after the movement suspension in and out of Brunei and Nepal. We are working collaboratively to reunite them as soon as the conditions allow.
CGS has issued very clear direction to the chain of command to stay safe and work together at home and at work to keep morale high. I would echo his remarks. And I very much hope and expect that the close bonds of friendship and comradeship that exist in each galla, section, sub unit and Paltan within our Brigade will come to the fore as we tackle this new challenge together.
I hope that you and your families and loved ones all stay safe and well.
Lieutenant General (Retd) Sir Nick Pope KCB, CBE