A fresh intake of Gurkha recruits arrived in Catterick Garrison yesterday (Wednesday, December 6) after travelling from Nepal following a gruelling selection process.
Major Ed Withey, Gurkha Company Catterick Officer Commanding (OC) said: “A total of 240 recruits will arrive in the garrison today and tomorrow (Thursday) and will be welcomed with a special ceremony which involves blessings from the Brigade Buddhist and Hindu temples. The recruits have come a long way through a rigorous selection process in Nepal.”
“We get between 7,000 and 8,000 applications each year and those that make the cut have three significant milestones to get through.
“At each stage they have to demonstrate skills in English and maths, and they must have the equivalent of three Cs and three Ds at GCSE, as well as having a good level of fitness.
“The physical and mental tests get more difficult until we are left with a final 500 who have to carry a basket weighing 25kg up the side of a Himalayan mountain.”
Once the recruits, aged between 17 and 21, make it to Catterick Garrison they have a series of cultural trips to help them settle in to life in Britain, including lessons on how to work a cash machine and navigate busy town centres. They will now undergo 37 weeks of rigorous training which also includes few weeks of English language training in Language Development Wing (LDW). Their first objective will be to Pass off the Square which will take place in the 7th week.
Maj Withey added: “During the year we take them to Whitby as they will have never seen the sea before, and to London to visit the Houses of Parliament.”
Recruits have the chance to move into various battalions of the Brigade of Gurkhas, including infantry, engineers, signals, logistics, the band and clerical support.