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.

Live Fire Tactical Training

By Trainee Rifleman Gobinda Angbo

This exercise was going to be the most challenging so far. In the build-up to the week, we conducted our Transition to Live Fire Tactical Training (TLFTT) and had an idea of what was coming. Our Platoon Commander Saheb briefed us on the risk and most importantly ordered us to be “switched on” and to display the highest standard of Weapon handling. We were excited as well as cautious to train with live bullets.

The first range day was Individual Close Quarter Battle with Grenades. This was to test our individual basic drills and skills that we have learned throughout the basic and advanced phases of our training. I was eagerly waiting for my turn and when my name was called, I ran quickly towards the ammunition distribution point where I was handed three full magazines and a grenade. I was ordered to ‘fix bayonet’ and then loaded and made ready. My heart was racing as I had a weapon with live rounds and a task to complete. After a few metres of walking, a target popped up and I instantly fired towards the target and took cover before firing again. There were five enemy positions and I managed to hit them all. The last position was destroyed using the grenade and the bayonet. I was so immersed into the scenario that when I finished, I was completely soaked from my waist down. The lane had a stream that I used as a cover to move forward and the gurujis were happy with my performance.

Live Firing tactical Training Gurkhas
Live Firing tactical Training Gurkhas

The second day was quite busy for our platoon. Our first range was ‘Fireteam Attack (Day) which included four trainees and a Section Commander Guruji. However, my concerns quickly vanished when I saw the Safety Supervisors right behind us checking our arcs constantly. The range was a success and my confidence started to build up. We went on to the Section Attack Range where the numbers increased from five to ten. The lane contained two enemy positions and my fireteam destroyed one before Delta fireteam assaulted the second. After a successful serial, we headed back for the Fireteam Night attack. By this time, my section was completely knackered and wet. We had a walk-through talk-through and the first team started going through the lane at 1900hrs. We all had our Head-Mounted Night Vision System on and started advancing. We had support from a Flanking Fire Gun when we moved to destroy the enemy position. It was quite an experience which I will remember for rest of my life.

The final day was our platoon attack. 4 (Iraq) Platoon was excited as we were the first ones to go through the lane. The day started with a vehicle move to a barn where we received orders from our Platoon Commander Saheb. A Tactical Advance to Battle insertion followed to the range where we were issued ammunition, and our battle preparation was complete. We advanced along our axis and soon our lead section was contacted. The position was destroyed quickly and was followed by three other enemy positions which were destroyed in quick succession. On the last enemy position, however, we sustained an exercise casualty and evacuated him quickly towards the casualty exchange point. A Hasty re-org was done and that concluded our Platoon attack.

The Second Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles Mortar Platoon were specially brought in by our Officer Commanding Gurkha Company Saheb to enhance our training. We knew we had visitors too during our attack, and they came in afterwards and congratulated us on our impressive performance. To our surprise, the Commander of the American 198th Infantry Training Brigade had been watching and had been impressed by our Platoon’s performance, especially that of Corporal Kiran Rana Guruji and my numberi Trainee Rifleman Puspa Raj Bista. They were awarded with a coin which was the cherry on the cake, and we were all proud and elated for their recognition. The Final Day was spent clearing up and returning to Catterick.

Live Firing tactical Training Gurkhas
Live Firing tactical Training Gurkhas

Tihar 2022 with Recruit Intake 22

By Trainee Rifleman Ashirbad Budha Magar

Rituals, ethos, traditions, history… everything matters alongside present modernity. With great respect for our identity, kaida and pride we, the Brigade of Gurkhas, always celebrate our festivals. After Dashain, Tihar is the second biggest festival in Nepal. The festival of lights and honour of Hindu Gods is regarded as celebration of victory of good over evil. Relations and peace surrounded by blessings from our sisters’ give us doorsteps to success. Each day of the festival holds a different significance connected by a bond of devotion. We were surprised at the way Gurkha Company celebrate Tihar in the UK.

Tihar started on the 23rd of October followed by Kaag TiharKukur TiharGai Tihar and Laxmi PujaGuru TiharMaha Puja and Bhai Tika. On the 25th of October at Laxmi Puja, all the permanent staff and trainees gathered in the foyer to celebrate. Company Second in Command and Panditji led a Puja and the festival commenced.

Some of the platoon felt lucky to go on the ranges for section defence attack by day and night during the week of Tihar. The eternal blizzards, tracer fire, and sounds on the range simulated fireworks and gave us lifelong memories. We were not able to meet our families back in Nepal and missed them very much, although we were taken good care of by our Saheb and Gurujiharu. As an Intake we sculpted Tihar memories this year and enjoyed it very much.

On Tihar people stay home, party, or spend time with relatives, but everyone celebrates in a different way. However, all our training staff decided to be present at the Gurkha Company celebration. The five day festival of light worshipping Laxmi Goddess, the wife of Lord Vishnu, was a really good memory for us. May the Goddess of Wealth fulfil all your wishes and provide better fortune.

Tihar
Tihar
Tihar

Dashain 2022 with Recruit Intake 22

By Trainee Rifleman Kushal Rai

The festival “Dashain” is well-known among all followers of Hinduism, but factors like the place, profession, and the background that we belong to has great impact on how we observe it. This fact holds true in the way Recruit Intake 22 observed Dashain in Gurkha Company Catterick.

As the UK is a secular country and Christianity is prevalent, we were not expecting that Dashain festival would have great significance. Gurkha Company’s organisation of different events throughout Dashain, and our education as to how the Brigade of Gurkhas observe it, provided us with the opportunity to eyewitness how important it is to maintain our kaida and ethos. Giving and receiving tikas and jamaras, worshiping gods and goddesses along with the offering to them has always been a mandatory part of this festival but we also learnt new things. The hard work, dedication, and selfless commitment of our gurujis along with Trainee Rifleman in preparing the “Linge Ping”, allocating different places for different events, and making required things readily available added more flavour to the festival.

The Gurkha Company family grew to hundreds and the energy of every individual was sky high. The tikas of different colour on foreheads and the jamaras on our ears were blessed for a good and healthy life and for good fortunes by the sahebs, gurujis and elders. People from the east to the far west of Nepal were present, provoking the message of unity with Dhaka topis and saris wandering around the premises of Gurkha Company. Every tiny little thing from blank rounds being fired during worship, to replacing animal sacrifices with fruits and vegetables taught us how the Brigade of Gurkhas celebrate this important festival.

Being far away from home and family might leave us lonely during this auspicious moment, but this time our surroundings blessed us with a big family.  This year’s Dashain had a lot to offer and we maintained our kaida, keeping the principles of Dashain and Gurkhali kaida intact and in tandem with one another.  This is a great deal and the only thing that is different from the Dashain observed before and after joining the military.

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