Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

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Recruit Intake 22 - Journey through training blog

We will be bringing you regular updates from Gurkha Recruit Intake 22, at Gurkha Company Catterick over the next 9 months.

They arrived at the end of February 2022 and started their 39-week long Infantryman Gurkha training course.

This blog will be written by the trainees and members of staff in Catterick to help you see them progress on the way to becoming trained members of the Brigade of Gurkhas, British Army.

Recruit Intake 22 visit an Agricultural Show

By By Trainee Rifleman Nikil Magar, Recruit Intake 22, 1 (Tigris) Platoon

For Exercise CHAUTHO KADAM, Recruit Intake 2022, visited The Wensleydale Agricultural Show in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. The show gave us an opportunity to experience the rich rural culture of the UK and we learned about handicrafts, livestock, and farming.

We saw and engaged in many activities at the show. I bought a beautiful handmade silver ring for myself at an amazing price. I met my teachers from the English Language Wing (ELW) and spoke to them about the day, as well as our forthcoming Cap Badging Parade. I helped one of my numberis to buy a plant; the shopkeeper lady was very kind. I got to pet some cows, and we had an opportunity to chat with local people who were kind enough to educate us about farm animals in the UK. There was also displays of giant vegetables which were much bigger in size than the normal vegetables we find back in Nepal.

I enjoyed watching the horses and the sheep shows and there were many stalls displaying and selling a range of items including handmade cushions, ornaments, paintings and rugs that were creative and beautiful. I enjoyed listening to very entertaining country music by a local band. There were some vintage cars and bikes which were painted and designed beautifully. The overall experience was very informative, educational, refreshing and memorable. It was a lovely sunny day so my numberis and I enjoyed our ice-cream. The burger we had was also very delicious.

I learned about farming in the UK and various modern technologies used for farming which make it a lot easier compared to farming back in Nepal. We also learnt about the importance of encouraging small sustainable businesses and promoting local products and that we all must appreciate nature and living animals around us to preserve our environment.

Recruit Intake 22 visit an Agricultural Show on Exercise CHAUTHO KADAM
Recruit Intake 22 visit an Agricultural Show on Exercise CHAUTHO KADAM
Recruit Intake 22 visit an Agricultural Show on Exercise CHAUTHO KADAM

Trainees find out which cap badges they will be wearing for their careers

On the 31st of August 2022, the 218 trainees of Recruit Intake 22 were presented with their cap badges as they have been assigned to the various cap badge organisations of the Brigade of Gurkhas. All the trainees achieved assignment to one of their top three choices, having been asked a few weeks back which part of the Brigade they would prefer to join. This year 69.72% of the trainees got their first-choice assignment.

The allocation of how many new Gurkhas will join each unit across the Brigade of Gurkhas is coordinated by the Chief of Staff Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas, collaborating closely with Army Headquarters as the British Army adjusts to cover its tasks and Operations across the UK and around the world. This distribution of new Gurkhas varies each year. The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2x Battalions), the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, the Queen’s Gurkha Signals, the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support will all receive an allocation of new Gurkhas to replace those that have retired or transferred to other organisations within the British Army or where units are increasing in size due to operational capability changes requiring an uplift in personnel numbers.

Gurkha Company Catterick then follows a series of criteria to make sure that the right individuals are assigned to the various parts of the Brigade based on the requirements of the Brigade, education tests, military skills, feedback from the instructors and the preference of the individual. Additionally, the aim is to distribute the trainees across the Brigade based on 50/50 East and West Nepal split to help with diversity across the Brigade.

Recruit Intake 22 cap badging
Recruit Intake 22 cap badging

This event is a big moment in the training programme, with senior leaders from across the Brigade and Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas in attendance to congratulate them on reaching this part of the training programme. Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas addressed the trainees and reminded them they are not there yet, with several more months training to come, and each day is a learning day, and that the trainees should continue to concentrate and work hard to complete the training with Gurkha Company Catterick. For the individuals it is one step nearer to their goal of becoming a trained Gurkhas in the Brigade of Gurkhas, British Army.

There are several major exercises and tests for the trainees to complete over the coming months, culminating with the Pass out Parade on the 1st of December which takes place on the parade square in Helles Barracks Catterick. Once this is complete our trainees become fully trained Gurkhas ready to join their units or move on to Phase two trade training with the various Corps.

Photographer: Mr Mick Latter

A Fruitful Week of Learning

By Trainee Rifleman Mukunda – 6 (Assaye) Platoon

I thoroughly enjoyed the Advanced Skill At Arms lessons from the very first day. Firstly, we had lessons on using the General Service Pistol (GSP). The GSP is a robust, modern combat pistol and excellent for close-quarter combat. When a round is fired, the recoil is used to reload the pistol. Unlike a rifle, the GSP doesn’t have an external safety catch, so we must handle it very cautiously. The GSP was very light and handling it was much easier than the rifle. I found the pistol fascinating, and easy to use thanks to our Guruji’s well delivered lessons. Apart from teaching us the functions and safety aspects, Guruji ran some competitions amongst the numberi to see who was quickest at loading, handling, stripping and assembling the pistol blindfolded.

Similarly, our next lesson was highly anticipated by us trainees. We could finally get our hands on the General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG). I learnt that the GPMG is a fully automatic machine gun, whose original design originated in one of the most effective weapon systems during WW2. For me, the GPMG was heavy and its working mechanism was more complex than the rifle, although learning how to use the GPMG was not a big deal for us as we were familiar with other weapons and our Guruji’s teachings were very understandable. I cannot wait for my GPMG live firing range as I am eager to try firing it for real.

Finally, we had our Next-Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon lessons. I learnt that it is one of the most destructive infantry weapon systems in the British Army. It is a ‘fire-and-forget’, light-weight shoulder-fired and disposable weapon designed for Infantry use. It is man-portable and has an effective range of 20-800 metres. We were quite surprised and amazed by its targeting system, which is guided by predicted line of sight. Learning to fire it was also fun as the drills were not difficult or complex, but tracking the moving target was quite difficult on the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer.

We have managed to understand the effective use of Platoon weapons on operations in the British Army. I feel very lucky to get my hands on these weapons as our Section Commanders did not get the opportunity to learn on any of them during their recruit training. I really enjoyed the lessons and have managed to pass the Weapon Handling Tests (WHTs) ahead of firing them live and carrying them on exercise.

Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 weapon training
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 weapon training

Bhela 22 in Aldershot

Trainee Rifleman Sandeep Limbu – 6 (Assaye) Platoon

On the 9th of July, Recruit Intake 22 took part in the 2022 Brigade Bhela at Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot. The Bhela, which was first organized in 2006, has become a major event in the calendar for the entire Brigade and we were delighted to take part in such a festive event. We were excited to represent Gurkha Company since the unit’s involvement started in 2015.

It was 0330hrs when our alarms awakened us from lovely dreams. My eyes were closing as we had gone to bed late due to a night navigation exercise the day before, but we managed to get seated on the coach in time. When we got off the coach at Queen’s Avenue, we felt like we were walking on air. The whole atmosphere was very exciting and there were a number of trade stands, momo stalls and a very popular Nepalese food stall which served various dishes all day. As we moved further into the Bhela, we saw a merry-go-round where many children were enjoying joy rides. We roamed for an hour watching the volleyball games and visiting different food stalls.

Later, we gathered and prepared ourselves for the Khukuri Pattern and Taekwondo display. We painted our faces black and green with camouflage cream and marched towards the parade ground carrying our shiny khukuris, which glinted in the glorious sunlight. We performed the patterns proud and loud so that everyone could hear the voice of the fiercest warriors in the world. The Taekwondo team also delivered a fantastic display of their skills. We then witnessed the final match of the Nepal Cup between The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE) and Queen’s Gurkha Signals (QG SIGNALS), as well as the amazing performance of the Band of Brigade of Gurkhas (Band BG). We were very proud to present ourselves at such an auspicious event.

During the event, we saw All Ranks from across the Brigade join together and we had a great opportunity to meet the veteran community, friends, family and relatives. Overall, it was an amazing experience.

Brigade of Gurkhas Bhela 2022
Brigade of Gurkhas Bhela 2022

Basic Training Summary

Despite the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the recruitment process for Recruit Intake 22, 218 candidates were successfully selected on 17 Feb 22. Following a reception week in Pokhara, RI 22 participated in the Attestation Parade and departed for the UK, where they began the Combat Infantry Course (Gurkha).

The first half of this course (Basic Training; BT) is a crucial phase since it is during this time that young Nepalese boys are transformed into Gurkha recruits. Although it mirrors the same Basic Training that any soldier completes on joining the British Army, both Recruits and the Training Teams face several challenges during this busy time. Recruits may need emotional and welfare support as they are away from families and into the rigorous CIC.

The BT phase kicked in on 07 Mar. SAA lessons, foot drill, Intro Exercises, Shooting, fitness, Adventurous Training, and the first weeks of the Recruit English Package (REP) are the main components of the 14-week BT stage. As part of their training, recruits also learn about Gurkha kaida and British culture.

Basic Training in Catterick - Gurkhas
Khukuris - Gurkhas

The presentation of rifle parts, their features, safety, and weapon handling started the skill at arms lessons. Being quick with a weapon is essential for soldiers, and they receive a lot of training before moving to a live range. Although the Recruits were eager to learn about weapons, it was more difficult than they had anticipated. Using a weapon irresponsibly can be dangerous but they gained knowledge of its use and effect and were able to pass their Weapon Handling Test as a result.

The young Recruits had learnt all the theory behind maps and navigation – being at the right place with the right kit is essential! They received training on actual terrain features so they could use topography and maps practically. Within the platoon, navigation competitions were held to help maintain interest.

Fieldcraft gives us the ability to carry out operations in any situation, environment or terrain. Recruits were deployed to training areas where they received fieldcraft training. There, they learned about camouflage and concealment techniques, harbour occupation and routine, navigation, hand signals, formations, target indication, fire control orders and many other skills. With little food and little sleep, carrying out the mission while on the field is not always simple. Therefore, occasionally recruits have messing in the barracks for to keep up their morale!

On 2 Jun, the Passing Off the Square was conducted to conclude the BT phase. 3 different areas were tested: Close Quarter Combat (CQC) Khukuri Drill, Individual basic Foot Drill and Individual Turn Out (including Bedspace and locker layout). There was also a test of basic Military Knowledge. On successful completion, the Recruits became ‘Trainees’ and have been awarded some extra privileges.

All 218 recruits have now successfully advanced to the Initial Trade Training (ITT) Phase of the CIC. They have shown significant improvement since their arrival and look forward to future challenges.

Corporal Sangeet Pun – 2 (Kandahar) Platoon

Discovering British Culture with Recruit Intake 22

Exercise DOSRO KADAM

By Trainee Rifleman Cherab Sampang Rai, Gurkha Company Catterick

Trainee Rifleman and the Permanent Staff of Number 2 Half Company deployed on Exercise DOSRO KADAM (‘Second Step’). The aim was to introduce the trainees to British culture, practice our language skills, and to understand how the people of Great Britain live their day-to-day lives. This visit included visits to London, York and Newcastle.




On day one we visited some of the most famous places in London including Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, and the Nepal Embassy. We had to learn how to use the London Underground service, we thought it would be easy, but it was very hard to begin with. On our way to Westminster Abbey, we had a first glimpse of Big Ben and the London Eye. As we entered the Abbey we noticed statues of different famous people, such as Charles Buller and Lieutenant General Sir Eyre Cote. Many famous people are buried under the floor of the Abbey, including Stephen Hawking and William Foley Norris. We also visited the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

Next, we went to visit the Houses of Parliament. It was a great honour and opportunity to meet and have a conversation with the 158th Speaker of the House of Commons – Sir Lindsay Hoyle. We then headed to Buckingham Palace via 10 Downing Street where the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lives and works with his family. We also visited the statues of Field Marshal William Slim and the Gurkha Soldier where the famous inscription by Professor Sir Ralph Lilley Turner is written: “Bravest of The Brave, Most Generous of The Generous, Never Had Country More Faithful Friends Than You”. We went to see Buckingham Palace, but unfortunately, we were unable to see the palace from up close due to the dismantling of the stands after the celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee, so we moved on to the Embassy of Nepal which concluded our first day in London.

On day two, we visited the Imperial War Museum where we learned about the history of World War One and World War Two and the equipment used during that period. We also saw the Victoria Cross of Agansing Rai, and four other Gurkha VC winners. We then moved to the British Museum where we learned about the story of human culture from its beginning to the present, as well as about British culture. That evening we went to watch a West End show, “The Lion King” which everybody was eager and excited to see. This was mind-blowing from the beginning and to the end and all of us highly enjoyed the show.

Gurkha Recruit intake 22
Gurkha Recruit intake 22
Gurkha Recruit intake 22

On the third day, while returning to Catterick, we stopped at Winchester for our visit to the Gurkha Museum. On arrival at the museum, we had a brief by Director of the Museum about the history of Gurkhas. The Museum tells the story of the Gurkhas and holds many historical items from our history.

The next day, we went to visit York and on arrival we climbed the city wall, which was used for urban defence of the city. Afterwards, we went to the National Railway Museum where we learned about the story of railway transport in Britain and its impact on society. Then, we visited York Minister and were amazed by the incredible gothic architecture of the hall. Next on the list was Clifford’s Tower, which consists of a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts built of magnesium limestone. Finally, we visited Copper Gate, Tower Garden, and the shopping centre.

On the last day of our we headed to Newcastle. The visit began in Grainger Town before moving to the Quayside, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Laing Art Gallery, Chinatown, Newcastle University, and the St James’ Park Stadium, which is the home of premier league club Newcastle United FC. We were guided by a professional guide throughout the tour. Before we left for Catterick, we stopped at the Hindu Temple Newcastle and received a brief from Acharyaji about the location and its facilities.

We learned about British culture and traditions as well as identifying the differences between the UK’s and Nepal’s culture and tradition.

Recruit Intake 2022 Passing off the Square

By Trainee Rifleman Dilshahi Budha Magar – Gurkha Company Catterick

Gurkha Company Catterick Passing of the Square is held at the end of the Basic Training to assess the recruits’ suitability to progress onto the Initial Trade Training (ITT) phase of Combat Infantry Course (Gurkha). Individual and platoon scores from the event contribute to the scoring of competitions and the award of prizes later in the course.

It consists of 3 phases. Individual turnout, which includes bed and locker layout, the second is individual drill and military knowledge, and the last is close-quarter combat (CQC). Many in Gurkha Company call this the moment of truth. Lots of privileges are awarded to those who can meet the standard and so we were all excited.

The whole morning was busy but the most-awaited and challenging moment for us was the drill assessment. We had been developing our drill through 3 months of hard practice and discipline to make sure we were close to perfection on the day. After the military drill tests, we were assessed for our competence in the 36 basic khukuri patterns and although it took only a short time to demonstrate our proficiency and controlled aggression, it was a challenge for everyone to keep in step.

After a long busy day, the day concluded with a prize-giving and our platoon managed to secure the first place. The privilege of being issued our Khukuris made it a day to remember. It taught us two major things: to grab every opportunity and that together we can achieve more. We have achieved another milestone on our long journey.

Gurkha Recruit intake 22
Gurkha Recruit intake 22
Gurkha Recruit intake 22

Exercise NAULO ANUBHAV – Recruit Intake 2022 Adventurous Training  

As part of our training, trainees are sent on a week of Adventurous Training (AT). To introduce us to AT and expose us to controlled risk to push us out of our comfort zones and drive performance in a challenging environment.

4, 5 and 6 Platoons No.2 Half Company headed towards Halton Training Camp. The advance party, consisting of Platoon Sergeants and Section Commander who welcomed us on our arrival at the Camp. On arrival we settled into our accommodation and were divided into 21 groups for the AT sessions. The week had four different activities, caving, hill walking, rock climbing and kayaking. I was looking forward to my first ever AT experience in the UK and was eager to see the beautiful landscape of the Lake District.

There were civilian instructors, and it was a much more relaxed environment than within the Barracks. Most of the trainees got a chance to experience a minimum of two activities, but caving and canoeing were not available to the non-swimmers.

We entered a cave which was 100 metres in length and experienced moist paths inside the darkness. It was challenging as well as scary. I was afraid of getting stuck inside the cave, but thankfully I am out and happy now! The second day I was assigned to canoeing which reminded me of canoeing in Fewa Taal, Pokhara. This time it was different though, as we were taught on how to operate the canoes safely in the water. We were in the canal for about four hours with some of our numberis managing to spend more time in the water than the canoe. The last day of our AT was rock climbing. We climbed up a rock of 100ft in height using the techniques we were taught by the instructors which was amazing. The fun part was abseiling which reminded me of the film Spiderman.

Trainee Rifleman Bikram Thapa said, “The week gave me time to bond with numberis from other platoons. The activities were new to me, but I enjoyed all of them, especially Hill walking through the scenic routes of the Lake District.” Trainee Rifleman Tilak Shahi said, “It was a new experience (naulo anubhav) for every one of us and we really gave our best and enjoyed all the activities. I look forward to my next AT in the Field Army.”

We ended our AT experience with a BBQ party followed by an inter-Section talent show. The week boosted our morale and gave us many wonderful memories to cherish, and it also revealed our unknown weaknesses and strengths. We got an opportunity to work with civilian instructors, improve our speaking, listening and develop new skills. Overall, it was an excellent week for all of us.

A visit to the House of Commons

On Monday 13 June 22, some of our Gurkha Recruit Intake 22, who are part way through their training in Catterick, visited the House of Commons as part of an educational visit.

The trip was to help them learn about how UK Parliament functions.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the 158th Speaker of the UK House of Commons, warmly welcomed them and talked about how British Politics works in the House and for the people.

This is an annual training visit that makes up several cultural and educational trips as part of the Gurkhas training to help them become part of the British Army on completion of their Infantry Soldier and Gurkha training which takes place in Catterick, North Yorkshire at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick.

Gurkha Trainees visit the House of Commons
Gurkha Trainees visit the House of Commons

First two weeks of the Recruit English Package: A Nice Beginning

By the Trainee Riflemen of 1 (Tigris) Platoon

The Recruit English Package (REP) is delivered by the Learning Development Wing in Catterick and lasts for eight weeks. It culminates in the undertaking of nationally accredited examinations and is supplemented by a series of themed cultural orientation exercises that will help Trainees integrate into the Army and wider British society.

The REP supports Gurkha Trainees by helping them to achieve the qualifications required to pursue their chosen career and help them develop skills, knowledge and confidence to operate independently and effectively within UK society. Lev Vygotsky in his Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development (1968) quoted, “Language and culture are the frameworks through which humans experience to communicate and understand reality” – the REP is exactly this; it includes becoming familiar with the concept of Britishness and British values, cultural differences and facts about Britain, including geography, history, customs, regional accents (dialect, sociolect, idiolect), etc., underpinned by practising all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening).

The first two weeks of REP for No.1 Half Company started on 2nd May 2022 (Week 9). I remember standing on the Vimy Parade Square attending Captain Rosie Garfield-Barkworth Memsaheb’s welcome address and waiting to meet our tutors. On the very first day of the class, we were excited but at the same time felt a little anxious. The tutors had a well-prepared first lesson and kept their objectives for the first class simple and achievable. This included simple things such as the physical setup of chairs and tables which significantly influence how we learn. This helped to establish a solid foundation for the course. Such good first impressions were vital for establishing a rapport and connecting us with the tutors.

As we progressed through a day or two, we quickly realised that the syllabus followed a clear step by step model incorporating a variety of practical activities and physical movement, along with the creative use of technology in the classroom to support our learning. We were focussed and kept engaged through full weeks by the experienced civilian teachers. Even though we needed to learn grammar and vocabulary, we wanted to speak. The first week commenced with ‘getting-to-know-you’ activities, where we tried and got a basic understanding of some of the more popular and common interests shared by our numberies. The second week of our learning was more to do with free writing, setting up Individual Learning Plans and creating SMART objectives. At school in Nepal, teaching or learning the English language essentially focused on teaching rules, and sentence structure with emphasis on prescriptive grammar and vocabulary. English lessons were extensively taught but not seriously from nursery to Class 10 (GCSE level) as a mandatory subject, resulting in poor results. During these first two weeks, we did not only learn about grammar rules and vocabulary, but also about culture and how it is reflected in literature or writing.

One of the most vital, yet overlooked, elements of our learning process compared to our learning in Nepal is, I believe embedding ‘meaningful reflection’ throughout the REP. I have been making it a priority to embed reflection throughout my REP, from just the verbal questions other numberies and I ask, to the physical displays in our classroom lessons, and the tasks we set.

Battle PT, Ranges, and Sansari Mai Puja

The training of Recruit Intake 2022 is going very well. Over the last couple of busy weeks, they have completed progressive rifle live fire shoots, been introduced to their first battle PT (BPT) session and attended the Sansari Mai Puja. Recruits completed the required assessments on rifle live firing, as well as their close quarter marksmanship assessment. This is the first part of their Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT), the remainder of which is scheduled to take place in Week 13.  Having practised on the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT) and on previous live practices, the trainees were confident in their shooting skills and drills. Very few of them had to reshoot any of the shoots and we are fully confident that they will pass the ACMT on their first attempt; the Permanent Staff are hopeful that quite a lot of them will achieve Marksman as well.

RI22 were introduced to the first Battle PT in Week 9. The main purpose of BPT is to maintain combat fitness and develop physical fitness to meet operational requirements. The BPT started with a fireman’s carry to simulate casualty extraction in the battlefield, and quickly escalated to crawling through a narrow muddy ditch, simulating dragging a casualty up a hill and running around various obstacles including uphill terrain. This PT session really tested mental resilience, but they were all able to keep up with the pace of training until the end. The final part of the training was a 2km best effort which resulted in some impressive times. On completion of the PT, trainees were asked as to the level of difficulty in the session, they all said that it was hard but that they enjoyed it and felt that their fitness level had improved significantly.

Gurkha Recruit intake 22
Gurkha Recruit intake 22

The Sansari Mai Puja (Mother Nature Ceremony) was conducted in 2 different locations: firstly, in the Temple and then outside in the vicinity of messing hut. This service is a community celebration usually held during the Nepali month of Baishak, or on the first Saturday in April in the Georgian Calendar. The festival is held to appeal to Mother Nature and the jungle gods to receive blessings. Early on Saturday morning, the Recruits gathered in the temple for an initial brief from the Hindu Religious Teacher (Atmaram Dahal) and also from Captain Vijayprakash Limbu (Company Second in Command). The service ended with everybody receiving tika, blessings, and Prasad from Panditji.

It has been a busy period packed with a tight training schedule of many important lessons. The Recruits are now really looking forward to passing the ACMT and pass the Pass of the Square in week thirteen.

Gurkha Recruit intake 22
Gurkha Recruit intake 22

Exercise INTRO 3 - the final introductory exercise,

Exercise INTRO 3 is the final introductory exercise, and the final field exercise of the Recruits’ Basic Training phase. With formative and summative assessments on the various skills the trainee Gurkhas have learned so far as well as teaching section battle drills, and the various skills required for it using blank ammunition, taking place over three nights and four days. This exercise is crucial for the trainees to move forward into the Initial Trade Training (ITT) phase of Combat Infantry Course (Gurkha) (CIC(G)) training, and to keep developing as Gurkha soldiers.

On D Day 25, we were all focused and full of energy to deploy on the exercise. Early in the morning weapons were issued, and kit was inspected. We patrolled 4 miles onto the Catterick Training Area, with a 20kg bergen load, to occupy our harbour location. After that, the Recruits saw a demonstration of various fieldcraft skills. After a night of routine, the second day saw them conduct formative assessments in order to help them better their skills and to ensure they were at the standard for the summative assessments which would take place the following day. In No.1 Half Company, 3 (Tobruk) Platoon was responsible for conducting assessments for target indication and individual fire and manoeuvre, whilst individual close quarter battle and judging distances were conducted by 2 (Kandahar) Platoon. Stalking and pairs fire and manoeuvre was covered by 1 (Tigris) Platoon. It was a good opportunity for the trainees to remind, revise and practice ahead of their summative assessments.

The third day was the pivotal part of the exercise as the summative assessments are a requirement which Recruits need to pass in order to progress in their training. To challenge the Recruits, No.1 and No.2 Half Company Recruits swapped areas of operations and, in the interest of fairness, were assessed by the permanent staff from the other Half Company’s Permanent Staff. The assessments were challenging and few of the Recruits passed every stand first time. Considered and honest feedback from the permanent staff, which ensured that in time all of the recruits achieved the standard required, confirming their learning and understanding and helping ensure that they met the high standard expected by the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Following the summative assessments, section attack demonstrations were conducted using instructors section commanders from the Company, so that the Recruits could begin to understand the mechanics of the low-level tactics they will be employing in future exercises. The last day of the exercise included captured persons handling and casualty extraction. This was an exhausting period but a proud moment watching the Recruits develop and perform what they have learnt up to this moment. Exercise INTRO 3 was very successful as all the trainees proved their learning, competence and understanding. This will let them proceed forward into the next phase of training as they continue on their worthwhile journey developing towards becoming professional Gurkha soldiers.

Exercise INTRO 2 – Learning never stops

The Training Teams have been able to change their approach slightly since arrival in the UK. Opportunities to use blended learning are very helpful and Recruits are able to learn and understand in their own time using DLE videos. This helps make it easier for them when they are ‘on the square’ and helps negate challenges caused by the new learning environment, different culture and unpredictable UK weather!

In addition to drill lessons, recruits have been learning other military skills such as rifle and fieldcraft lessons. They have to prepare their Barracks Dress ahead of each lesson in order to pass the Training Team’s inspection, a key method of instructing the importance of uniformity and maintenance of issued kit, as well as the smart turnout of which the Brigade is rightfully proud.  This training will enable Recruits to perform drill to a high standard, work well as a team and to respond efficiently to words of command.

After the completion of their individual foot drill lessons the Recruits will be tested during ‘Pass Off the Square’ by Company Headquarters. Successful Recruits will move into Initial Trade Training (ITT) where the drill focus will be geared more towards Platoon level in readiness for the Drill Competition and Passing Out Parade towards the end of the year.

By Trainee Rifleman Diyan Gurung, Gurkha Company Catterick

Exercise INTRO 2 was much more challenging and demanding than Exercise INTRO 1. I really enjoyed this phase as I felt like I was slowly becoming a true soldier step by step. We are incredibly lucky that we are learning from our Platoon Commander Saheb and Section Commander Gurujis. For me, all lessons were conducted in an interesting and enjoyable manner. 

We started Exercise INTRO 2 with Day Navigation. We had to navigate, searching for seven checkpoints, with a partner. It was very challenging as it was our first time working against the clock. My determined numberis did extremely well as the top three pairs from No 2 Half Company were all from 6 Platoon.

We then patrolled our way to a platoon harbour using hand signals, which are especially important to communicate without making noise. This time round, the platoon harbour and patrol drills seemed more realistic and smoother than Exercise INTRO 1 as we continued to learn and were very alert.

Gurkha Recruit Intake 22
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22

Not only was the exercise challenging, but the weather was also surprisingly cold. Irregular rain and biting winds were blowing throughout the exercise. All my numberis and I were shivering. I did not expect the weather to behave irregularly but I learnt that we must always expect the unexpected and never make assumptions. Sentry duties were important, and I found it enjoyable communicating through our Personal Role Radio for the first time, passing and receiving information around the harbour to make sure we were secure.

We learnt the importance of Target Indication and Judging Distance. A soldier must be capable of identifying enemy forces and appreciate the distance so he can use his weapon effectively and help others in acquiring the enemy position. Next was the highlight of the exercise, we were taught how to react and fight during a battle situation. It is important to always have one foot on the ground. Moving with our numberis needed clear communication. It was a hard job to do however, practice will make us better. Lastly, Night Navigation was the most challenging activity for me. This is because it was difficult to find our way to a certain point in the dark and we had to rely heavily on our pacing.

First steps outside of the Barracks for Recruit Intake 22 - Exercise PAHILO KADAM

There are lots of cultural differences between the UK and Nepal and so to educate us on British culture, traditions, and the way of doing things, we ventured out on Exercise PAHILO KADAM (First Steps) on the 5th of April to explore our local amenities and the nearby town of Darlington.

We were woken up fully refreshed for an exciting day ahead of us. The learning began straight after exiting camp with road safety and using public footpaths. We made a stop at the Garrison Church where we had a quick brief from our Section Commander about religion in the UK. The second stop was a local primary school where we were amazed to find out about free education in the UK. We then walked towards a Tesco supermarket, familiarised ourselves with shopping and the use of bank cards, and bought some useful items.

The next stops included a library, a bank, a police station and a leisure centre. The library issued us with a library card, and we were shown the different facilities they could provide. The morning was well-spent learning and walking around and we were all hungry; it was time for lunch. We opted for a McDonald’s as we all wanted to try it since it is not available in Nepal. The thought of ordering a food was daunting at first, however the order machines were user-friendly and we were able to order our lunch without any fuss. The burgers, wraps and ice creams were delicious. One of our numberis quoted “I’m loving it” whilst devouring his tasty chicken and bacon wrap meal!

With our taste buds happy, we then travelled to Darlington by public bus. We learned to buy tickets as well as find information about the routes and times. Our next visit was Darlington Train Station where we were shown ticket counters/machines and the process by which to buy travel tickets. We were given a short brief on the City’s history. The last and most awaited stop was a Darlington shopping centre. It was clean, bright, and full of people enjoying their day. We also wandered around the centre, bought some essentials and headed back to our rendezvous point for our transport back to camp.

Overall, an amazing day of cultural orientation and familiarisation of local places for Intake 22. We were grateful to get this opportunity to explore and looking forward to our next ‘Kadam’ exercise.

Physical Development - April 22

By Trainee Rifleman Saurabh Babu Rai, 4 Section, 5 Helles Platoon

We soldiers need to be both mentally and physically fit. It’s no secret that life in the British Army is extremely physically challenging and demanding, therefore the Royal Army Physical Training Corps have developed a holistic, science-based physical training programme that helps to keep our body fit, resilient and ready for the challenges that Army life throws at us.

Physical Development for Gurkha Recruit Intake 22
Physical Development for Gurkha Recruit Intake 22

For us physical training is very important because we have only recently joined in the British Army. Our physical ability is increasing day-by-day because of the effective training which is being conducted. Until now, we have been doing different kinds of activities which help us to improve our fitness levels. We are now realising and finding that there is a huge difference between the way you train as civilians and as soldiers. None of us have been injured so far because of the progressive method used in our training.

Our first Physical Development exercise after Selection was the Role Fitness Test (Entry) which involves a 2Km running test, mid-thigh pulls and med ball throw to test whether we would be able to carry out the physical training or not. On that day, we were also introduced the Gym Hall and were so excited to start of our physical development journey. Our first physical training session was ‘Strength and Conditioning Lesson 1’. We were taught how to do proper push-ups and squats. That day, it was hard for us because we had not done any kind of training for a long period of time. We were pushing ourselves to the limit, as we had to complete several stands until the water break. We all were tired, so we took a good rest that night! The second Physical Development training was ‘Strength and Conditioning Lesson 2’, that day we revised lesson 1 and then were taught different kinds of exercises. During Strength and Conditioning Lesson 5, we learnt how to do a proper shoulder press, shoulder tap, bird duck and deadlift, with many more to be learnt as training progresses. We have also attended our first loaded-carriage march; it really was tough but we all thoroughly enjoyed it and are feeling that our physical development is going in the right direction.

We have also come to know that engaging in regular physical activities may produce improvement in individuals’ cognitive performance, and physiological well-being. Physical benefits include, but are not limited to: reduced risk of disease, improvements in physical functionality, fitness, and overall quality of life. “Training not only changes your body, but it also changes your mind, attitude and mood”. Our physical development is improving really well. We all are looking forward to attending more physical development training, which are being scheduled in the CIC 21 training programme.

Exercise INTRO 1 for Recruit Intake 22 with Gurkha Company (Catterick)

Recruit Intake 22 officially started their 39 week long journey to become infanteers on the 28th of February 2022. Week three saw them deploy for the first time on Exercise INTRO 1 with training objectives including packing personal and team equipment, occupying a Harbour Area, sleeping, eating and maintaining health and hygiene in the field; battlefield discipline and employing personal camouflage and concealment.

The day before deployment was hectic for the recruits given that they had to learn about occupation of a Harbour, load carriage in the field and the preparation of their dress and equipment. However, they seemed excited about the prospect of leaving camp for the first time since their arrival in Catterick. The Exercise kickstarted with an early start which saw beaming recruits marching towards the Armoury to get their hands on their Individual Weapons. Company Sergeant Major Gurkha Company then delivered a passionate speech to all 218 recruits providing his words of wisdom and advising them as to how they could best learn and build a strong foundation for their future in the British Army.

Gurkha Recruit Intake 22
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22

The exercise started with an insertion march to their Final Rendezvous (FRV) carrying 18kg in their daysack and webbing. Platoon Commanders then took over their respective Platoons for a walk-through, talk-through of how to occupy a Harbour and its importance. Their work routine started with an introduction to Operational Ration Packs (ORP), calorific requirements and how to cook in the field. Half of the Recruits in my platoon wanted more bags as they were not full with an allocated single bag for lunch! They were promised that they would get their Daal Bhat once back in camp! With lunch complete, it was time for them to learn how to construct their basha (shelter). They were shown various methods and were given time to construct their own. The rest of the first day introduced them to ‘why things are seen’, individual movement and how to apply their personal camouflage and concealment.

The evening consisted of a central demonstration on the use of pyrotechnics and movement at night. The Recruits were shown effects of smoke grenades, noise simulators, Parachute Illumination, Tripflares, practice grenades and blank rounds. It also incorporated ‘actions on’ lights and movement at night. Finally, it was time for Recruits to head down and experience their first night inside the sleeping bag and basha. In the morning they were introduced to how to maintain their personal hygiene and equipment in the field before being inspected. It was a delight to see Recruits enjoying and engaging with Section Commanders, showcasing their willingness to learn. With all lessons delivered, the Recruits patrolled back to Camp and started the reconstitution phase of the Exercise.

Gurkha Recruit Intake 22
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22

The Infantry Training Centre has some new Gurkha recruits! Have you noticed them?

By Corporal Youkesh Gurung, Gurkha Company Catterick

For many, 2021 was yet again incredibly challenging, with plans made, plans changed, and then plans changed again. And here we are at the start of 2022, somewhat in limbo. Despite some issues thanks to the latest Covid variant, the rigorous selection process for the Recruit Intake 2022 (RI22) was successful. This year, Gurkha Company Catterick (GCC) has reaffirmed its commitment to quality infantry training by welcoming 218 Recruits to start their journey of becoming trained Gurkhas in the British Army.

A lot of in-house preparations have been achieved for the new training year and Gurkha Company is delighted to see the bright characters who arrived in the UK on four different flights over the last week of February. On arrival, the trainees were screened and immediately entered a period of ‘controlled monitoring’ until they received negative PCR test results.

Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 arrive in the UK
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 arrive in the UK
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 arrive in the UK

All clear, they then begun their 39-week Combat Infantry Course (Gurkha) – or CIC(G).  CIC 21, a 26-week course, is the standard Infantry course on which our training is based, and which is augmented by several Gurkha-specific training serials including the Recruit English Package training, Close Quarter Combat and cultural orientation.

The first 2 weeks of their training have been focussed on administration, introducing the Recruits to their new surroundings, informing them about the organisation they are now part of and teaching them the basics of being an Infantryman. All of this, plus an introduction to the Values and Standards as well health and safety, fire safety, can be a lot to take in!

However, for us – the Training Team – the last 2 weeks is a little more than that and we have been shaping the bigger picture. We have had the opportunity to begin developing a trainer-trainee relationship. If we get that right, then we can start understanding their learning and educational needs and thus start developing a personalised learning plan to help motivate them, as well as enabling them to settle into GCC.

Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 arrive in the UK
Gurkha Recruit Intake 22 arrive in the UK

As always in GCC we are fortunate to have a diverse team of professional permanent staff who care passionately about the delivery of world class Infantry training and the provision of highly trained Gurkha soldiers to the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Celebrating the festival of Holi in Catterick

By Trainee Rifleman Bishal BC and Trainee Rifleman Nirmal Karki 3 (Tobruk) Platoon

Holi is a traditional Hindu festival celebrates the beginning of spring. It is a celebration of fertility of crops, colour and love as well as the triumph of victory over evil.

Holi is one of the many festivals celebrated by the Brigade of Gurkhas in the UK and all over the world. This year, Recruits at Gurkha Company celebrated with the Permanent Staff, families and numberies at the Gurkha Temple, Helles Barracks.

Cebrating Holi with Gurkha Company Catterick
Cebrating Holi with Gurkha Company Catterick

In Nepal, we used to play Holi with colours, water balloons, rotten eggs, and water guns. Whereas this year we celebrated Holi with a bonfire, smearing each other with paint and throwing coloured powder. Each Platoon was singing Nepali songs and everyone was cheering and dancing.

The Holi celebration gave us a good feeling of internal connection and brotherhood, and helped create a good bond amongst the team. We were excited to celebrate Holi in the temple and take some time off training. We had some good moments with numberies and Gurujis by taking some group pictures which will be a great memory for future.

We enjoyed the Holi celebration and the love it spreads; it made us feel as though we were home. This Gurkha culture and kaida makes us united and defines us all over the world.

Cebrating Holi with Gurkha Company Catterick
Cebrating Holi with Gurkha Company Catterick

Drill is Not as Easy as it Seems…

Corporal Sangeet Pun 2 (Kandahar) Platoon

Four weeks ago, Britain’s newest Gurkha recruits arrived at Catterick Garrison. Now, they’ve reached week 3 of their Combat Infantry Course (CIC). The first phase of the CIC is Basic Training (BT) which is approximately 12 weeks long. This week the Recruits have been learning foot drill such as marching and saluting.

Intake 22 had 5 days of exposure to foot drill before the Attestation Parade in Pokhara. Early morning reveille and wearing military dress was not a comfortable routine for Recruits in the beginning but despite COVID challenges they were determined and keen to learn. All the Recruits were very enthusiastic to display the best possible drill in front of their families and relatives.  Everyone was in the same boat with confusion, pressure and fatigue high as the tempo increased during rehearsals: T/Rfn Prabin Gurung was heard to comment that “Drill is not as easy as it seems!”.

First military drill lessons for Gurkhas in Catterick
First military drill lessons for Gurkhas in Catterick
First military drill lessons for Gurkhas in Catterick

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