The World’s media watched as 200 Gurkhas marched from Buckingham Palace, along the Mall to the Gurkha Statue in Whitehall yesterday April 30, 2015, in celebration of 200 years of loyal Gurkha service to the British Crown.
Over 2,000 people lined the streets of London as four contingents from the Brigade of Gurkhas, accompanied by the Brigade’s Band, the massed Pipes and Drums and The Queen’s Truncheon, marched from Wellington Barracks passing Buckingham Palace, along the Mall, across Horse Guards to the Gurkha Memorial Statue in Whitehall. They were watched by millions on live television as national broadcasters followed the event, and a news helicopter streamed images from overhead.
On arrival there was an Inspection taken by General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE, the Colonel Commandant The Brigade of Gurkhas and previous Chief of the General Staff.
A memorial service then took place, which started with a thought for the victims of the Nepal disaster including words from Lieutenant General Sir David Bill, KCB, and the Brigades Pundit, Llama and Chaplain. This was followed by the dedication and the unveiling of updated campaign and unit plaques on the statue for recent operations and new Gurkha units since the original Gurkha Statue was unveiled in 1997. This was carried out by the most senior Gurkha officer, Field Marshall Chapple, GCB, CBE and the most junior Gurkha soldier in the Brigade.
Wreaths were laid at the Statue to commemorate all who have served in The Brigade of Gurkhas and given their lives while Mrs Pyarimaya Gurung, wife of the current Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officer Captain Lokbahadur Gurung, laid a wreath for the victims of the Earthquake.
Among the many invited guests were senior Army officers (including two Gurkha Field Marshals) as well as Christian, Hindu and Buddhist religious leaders.
The ceremonial event was the first of a number of high-profile functions the Brigade will host to commemorate 200 years of Gurkha service to the Crown.
Notably this includes Public Duties, which start on May 4th, where Gurkha units will provide guards at Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and the Tower of London throughout May.This is followed by a spectacular Pageant due to be held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on June 8th and 9th.