I recently came across the photos at the end of this post showing Dharan camp post-handover and a few of it while still occupied.
The Cantonment was established in 1953 and was where the L of C (Lines of Communication) HQ, Eastern Gurkha Recruiting Depot, Resettlement Training Centre, Welfare Headquarters and British Military Hospital were located. It was known locally as Ghopa Camp. The camp was closed in 1989 and handed over to the Nepalese Government in 1991 at which point the hospital was converted into the B.P. Koirala Memorial Institute of Medical Sciences, run with Indian aid, which doubled as a hospital and college. The abandoned and decaying buildings that once were offices, married quarters, messes, canteens still stand as if frozen in time. Nearby is the still-functioning 18-hole golf course, which is in private hands today. The camp is guarded by G4S (Global Security Services).
Many of Sirmooris recruited in the east of Nepal served there. In addition, the following 2GR British Officers are believed to have served there:
- Colonel H G W Shakespear MC (AA & QMG HQ BGN, Dharan from 12 Dec 66 to 18 Jun 69)
- Brigadier E D Smith DSO MBE (Commander British Gurkhas Line of Communication, Dharan, Nepal from 26 Sep 71 to 22 Sep 80)
- Maj(GCO) Narbu Lama MBE (Chief Administrative Officer British Gurkha Depot Dharan from 14 Oct 74 to Feb 80)
- Brigadier Vernon Beauchamp (Detached to HQ British Gurkhas, Dharan, Nepal, as temporary AA & QMG and Deputy Commander from 28 Jun 79 to 22 Sep 79)
- Brigadier Mike Smith (Commander and Chief Recruiting Officer of British Gurkhas Nepal with his HQ in Dharan, Nepal from 20 Jun 82 to 6 Jun 85)
- Brigadier Bruce Jackman OBE MC (SO1 Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander HQ British Gurkhas Nepal from 22 Apr 84 to 30 Aug 85)
- Major (QM) Les Peacock (QM and MTO HQ British Gurkhas Nepal in Dharan from 4 Dec 86 [assuming the appointment on 15 Dec 86] to 30 Aug 89)
- Brigadier John Brewer CBE (SO1 Deputy Commander/Commandant Dharan HQ, HQ British Gurkhas Nepal from 16 Oct 88 to 9 Nov 89 where he planned and implemented the closure of Dharan Cantonment).
- Major Rambahadur Gurung MBE (Posted to BGD Dharan as CAO from 6 Feb 87 to Feb 90 during which time there was a major earthquake in East Nepal and for his efforts during the recovery phase he was appointed MBE).
Additions or amendments to this list, and any reminiscences about the place, are most welcome. Please just click on ‘Comment’ below and comment away!
Above: South Gate.
Above: Dharan Club
Above: Senior British Ranks Married Quarter