4 October 2023
5/8GR PRESENTATION TO THE SIRMOOR RIFLES ASSOCIATION
At the Sirmoor Golf Society Centenary Golf Meeting on 27th September Colonel Lalit Sharma, late 5th Battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles, presented Colonel William Shuttlewood, Chairman of the Sirmoor Rifles association, with various 5/8GR Regimental artefacts. In return Colonel Shuttlewood presented him with a copy of Craig Lawerence’s book ‘The Gurkhas’.
5/8GR was formed in 1948 from the 4th Battalion of the 2nd Goorkhas and the friendship has continued to this day.
Colonel Shuttlewood and Colonel Lalit Sharma with the presentation items
27 September 2023
DELHI DAY CELEBRATIONS IN NEPAL
Please see below a gallery of photographs taken at the Sirmoor Club Nepal Delhi Day celebrations in Pokhara on 14 September 2023. Click here to download a recording of Major Haribahadur Gurung giving the Delhi Day address and here to download a video of some of the audience.
The celebrations at Dharan were privileged to have as their guest Lieutenant Rambahadur Rana, at 102 years old the oldest known Sirmoori, and his 83-year old wife Chhaya Magar:
Gallery of photos from the Pokhara event:
14 September 2023
The following message has been sent to all Sirmooris by the President of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, Brigadier I A Rigden OBE:
“My dear fellow Sirmoories,
The 14th September this year marks the 166th Anniversary of the storming of the Kashmir Gate at Delhi during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Every year we traditionally gather to commemorate the actions of the Sirmoor Battalion who, under the command of their Commandant, Major Charles Reid, supported by his gallant Subedar Major, Singbeer Thapa, Sirdar Bahadur, OBI, held Delhi Ridge against repeated attack for over three months.
From these actions we received the honour of being awarded Nishanimai in 1863 and the right to call ourselves riflemen and wear our dark green uniforms. All 2nd Goorkhas are immensely proud of our heritage, but Delhi Day cements our traditions and the legacy of being steadfast, loyal and courageous in adversity.
Wherever our Sirmoor Rifles Association members are around the world, I hope that you have the opportunity to gather and share memories of your own service together with your officers and numberies, as our forbears once did. We are a band of brothers with a unique bond and special identity which should be celebrated. My warm best wishes, admiration and fond regards to you all; I wish you all a memorable and eventful Delhi Day 2023. Jai Hos, Jai Gurkhali, Jai Sirmoor Rifles!”
12 September 2023
Sirmoor Sathies in the UK celebrated Delhi Day at Aldershot, Catterick and Nuneaton on Saturday 8 September 2023. The Chairman, Captain Raju Gurung, has sent the following report:
“On behalf of 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK, I would like to thank our Chief Guest Lt Gen Sir Peter Duffell KCB CBE MC Special Guest Colonel William Shuttlewood OBE, Senior officers, Major Sanjiv Rai MVO, GM 2RGR, WO1 Dik Tumkhewa RSM 2RGR, Major Hitman Gurung, RGR President in Nepal, QT Team, Members and दीदिबहिनीहरू [didibahiniharu – wives], for your valuable time with us at our Regiment’s historical Annual event, 166th DELHI DAY-CUM-208th Regimental Annual Reunion Party. Large numbers of our Members and and their families attended the celebrations. Our esteemed chief guest, Lt Gen Sir Peter Duffell and Special Guest Colonel William Shuttlewood distributed token of appreciaton gifts to members and representatives who played vital roles at the Durbar in Pokhara and the UK. We were honored to have them at our Delhi Day. Your participation and support mean the world to us. We hope that you enjoyed the event and found it valuable. Finally, I would like to thanks all our Branch Representative officers and members who helped make our Delhi day successful. We hope to see you again at next year’s 167th Delhi Day on Saturday, 14 Sep 2024.”
Photographs of the UK events (more to follow later):
View of the Aldershot event
The Queen’s Truncheon party from 2RGR. Captain Sanjib Rai was the Truncheon Jemadar.
Colonel William Shuttlewood giving his speech
Group photo of senior guests and attendees
Captain Bhakta Thapa, Branch Chairman, at the Catterick event
Attendees at the Catterick event
Attendees at the Nuneaton event which was led by Lieutenant Ram Rana.
1 August 2023
On 28 August a ceremony was held in Kuching to commemorate Veterans’ participation in the Malaya and Borneo campaigns. The occasion was extensively reported in the Malay Mail and other local newspapers.
The Brigade of Gurkhas was represented by Captain Imbahadur Ghale, 2IC Support Company 1RGR and others from the British Garrison in Brunei. He read a citation of Captain Rambahadur Limbu VC, who won his award in Borneo, and a message from the President of the Gurkha Brigade Association. A space has been allocated at the memorial for a Brigade of Gurkhas Plaque which is being manufactured locally and will be installed with an appropriate ceremony at some later date.
Captain Imbahadur took several photographs of the occasion, a selection of which are attached below.
The British Forces Brunei team at the Memorial
Captain Imbahadur paying his respects at the memorial
VIPs attending the event
The British Forces Brunei contingent with the British Defence Attache, Capt Anthony Stockbridge RN
Captain Imbahadur delivers his speech
Dato Lim, a Malay tracker, with Gurkhas in 1965
Dato Lim with Gurkhas from British Forces Brunei at the event in 2023
28 August 2023
THE 2GR SIRMOOR SATHIES-UK 166TH DELHI DAY ANNUAL REUNION ON SAT 09 SEP 2023 AT EMPIRE HALL, ALDERSHOT IN UK.
Please find the attached details of the 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK 166th Delhi Day Annual Reunion on Sat 09 Sep 2023,
- 2GR Sirmoor Sathis-UK 166thDelhi Day Instruction & Risk Assessment – Sat 09 Sep 2023.
- Annex A – 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK Delhi Day Coach booking Sheet.
- Annex B – 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK Forecast 2023/24.
- Annex C – 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK Delhi Day Programme 9 Sep 2023.
The 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK Executive team will look forward to Meeting you all with your Family at 166th Delhi Day Celebrations on Saturday, 09 September 2023 at 1100hrs at the Empire Banqueting Hall in Aldershot, Post Code: GU11 1DJ. Thank you. Jai Lali Paltan !
8th August 2023
‘BEYOND THE CHINDWIN’ TOURS OF BURMA 2024
Sampan Travel have announced two dates for their ‘Beyond the Chindwin’ tours of Burma, led by Rob Lyman. In November this year and February next year, Rob will lead small groups in Burma, looking at General Slim’s reconquest of the country in 1945 and how events of WW2 have led in part to where the country is today. Sirmooris will recall that both the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Regiment took part in the Burma campaign.
There will be a private film-screening of the documentary Forgotten Allies hosted by the film’s director in Yangon; we will sail on the Ayeyarwaddy between Bagan and Mandalay; and Rob will focus in detail on the ground on the battles of Mandalay and Meiktila.
There is more info in the link below and in the attached downloadable itineraries:
16th July 2023
VISIT TO 2ND GOORKHAS GRAVES IN AREZZO WAR CEMETERY
The Chairman of the Gurkha Museum Trustees, Mr Martin Brooks, recently visited the Arezzo War Cemetery when on holiday in the area. He commented “It is always a moving experience to visit Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries, and the countryside around where we often holiday is full of Second and Seventh Gurkha locations including the sites of their battles fought when operating as part of the 4th Indian Division in and around the Arno and Tiber valleys.”
He placed crosses on the graves of Major The Honourable Lionel Shore and Captain Clive Marley-Clarke, both 2nd Goorkhas officers killed in the campaign. As an act of commemoration his daughter Laura read aloud over the graves their biographies, kindly supplied by Colonel Denis Wood. They did the same for the 7GR officer buried there, Lieutenant Anthony Rout, and left an “Om” on the commemoration monument in the Indian Army section for the many Gurkhas buried there.
More information about the 2nd Goorkhas casualties in the Arezzo Cemetery can be found on the webpage about 2nd Goorkhas casualties here. It includes a link to an account of the Italian campaign.
7th June 2023
ADDRESS TO GBA MEMORIAL SERVICE 3 JUNE 2023
The following address was made to the GBA Memorial Service at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 3 June 2023 by The Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Chartres GCVO ChStJ PC FSA FBS, Chaplain to the Brigade:
21st May 2023
HARI BUDHA MAGAR SCALES EVEREST
At around 3pm on 19th May Hari Budha Magar, formerly of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, created history as the first double amputee to successfully conquer Everest. Thirteen years after losing his legs in Afghanistan he proved disability is no barrier to climbing the 8,849 metre peak. His achievement was supported by a world class team of Nepalese climbers led by Expedition Leader Krisna Thapa. For more information visit the GBA website on: https://www.gurkhabde.com/hari-budha-magar-everest/
10th May 2023
REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS NEPAL (RAN) – MINUTES OF MEETING 19 APRIL 2023
Please see below the minutes of this meeting, held at the Brigade of Gurkhas Camp in Kathmandu:
If you would like to attend please send Maj Bruce McKay an email after you have made your payment for your ticket/tickets. The cost of a ticket is £30.00. Please make your payments to the following bank account:
- The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, Holt’s Farnborough Branch, Lawrie House, Victoria Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7NR
- Sort Code:. 16 19 26
- Account Number: 10015391
- Account Name: Royal Gurkha Rifles Association
- Reference: Your Surname and Reunion
The RHCC is located within the secure area of the ‘Home Park’ at Windsor Castle and therefore there is a a requirement to provide the following information:
- Full Name
- Full Address
- Car Registration
If you have any questions about this event please contact Maj Bruce McKay direct Skype 03001624477, (Mob) 07956 080378Email: email@example.com
MAJOR JON TITLEY – DAILY TELEGRAPH OBITUARY
Major Jonathan Titley, who has died aged 72, was a Gurkha officer and later became the first to employ retired Gurkhas in private security in …
A downloaded copy can be read at the following link – Major Jon Titley DT Obituary.
14 February 2023
VIDEOS OF SIRMOOR CLUB NEPAL EVENT TO MARK 60th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1st BATTALION SUPPRESSION OF THE BRUNEI REVOLT
Please click on the following links to see videos of this event which took place in Pokhara, Nepal, on 10th December 2022:
13 February 2023
HIMALAYAN TIMES INTERVIEW WITH DR ANDREW MURRISON (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families)
3 February 2023
FINAL CALLING NOTICE FOR FM LORD BRAMALL’S THANKSGIVING SERVICE
If you plan to attend the Thanksgiving Service for FM The Lord Bramall at Winchester Cathedral please let the Hon Sec know by 7 February 2023: A list of those who have registered is on the Sirmoor Club Secure Pages.
AN EVENING WITH RGR IN SUPPORT OF HARI BUDHA MAGAR KRISHNA THAPA SAS – “NO LEGS, NO LIMITS” EVEREST EXPEDITION
For more information, please contact Capt Joe Adamson [firstname.lastname@example.org or 07437 097 051]. Tables of 8 are priced at £3k, however if sufficient numbers of individuals would like to fill a table, we can break this down into ticket prices.
GURKHA BRIGADE ASSOCIATION BHELA – 8 JUL 2023
The “Nepal Cup Finals and GBA Bhela 23” will take place on Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot on 8 Jul 23. As last year there will be an SRA Gazebo pitched, but nearer to the touch line. Please add the date to your diary.
MINUTES – RAN BIANNUAL MEETING 11 JAN 2023
A copy of the Minutes of the RAN Meeting on 11 Jan is posted on the Sirmoor Club Secure Pages.
24 January 2023
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST TO ATTEND THE THANKSGIVING SERVICE FOR THE LIFE OF FIELD MARSHAL THE LORD BRAMALL AT WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL ON 27 APRIL 2023
The Thanksgiving Service for the life of Field Marshal The Lord Bramall will take place at Winchester Cathedral on 27 April 2023.
It is anticipated that there will be space for at least 30 representatives of The Sirmoor Rifles to attend. This number may increase. Members who wish to attend are requested to confirm their intention to attend the Thanksgiving Service by Tuesday 7 February 2023, to the Honorary Secretary. Ticketing arrangements have yet to be confirmed however a list in order of priority representing all branches of the Sirmoor Rifles Association will be forwarded to RHQ The Rifles by Monday 13 February 2023. Subject to the total number of applicants, it is hoped that there will be sufficient space to allow tickets to be sent to all Sirmoories who apply.
The following details are required: names, numbers of seats required (1 or 2) and the postal addresses to which the tickets and the administrative details are to be sent in mid-March 2023.
16 January 2023
TRAGIC NEPAL AIR CRASH 15 JANUARY 2023 IN POKHARA
The President of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, Brigadier Ian Rigden, has sent this message to all members:
It was with a profound sense of shock that we all heard of the tragic air crash in Pokrara, Nepal on the 15th January with the loss of 68 lives and with four still missing. It is known that one of those who died, Dr. Ganesh Thapa, was a much-respected Doctor with the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families who have been affected by this tragedy. They have our heartfelt condolences and sympathy at this terrible time. If any of our members have been affected, please let your nearest branch know as soon as possible in order that we can support you if required.
MESSAGES BETWEEN CHAIRMAN GBA & COMD BGN
From: Col Paul Smith
Sent: 16 January 2023 02:15
To: David Hayes
Subject: Re: YETI AIRLINES PLANE CRASH
Thank you for your kind words. Sadly Dr Ganesh Thapa who runs Secondary Healthcare at HQ GWT was aboard and he was positively identified late last night by his colleagues.
There were no BGN or BG duty passengers or families. There might be relatives or veterans that we are not yet aware of.
It has hit us all very hard, this is a route we all use and given this is our recruiting period it was lucky this flight wasn’t used.
Today is a day of national mourning, but what this means and what really happened is for another day.
Colonel Paul Smith | Defence Attaché Kathmandu | Commander British Gurkhas Nepal | Director Gurkha Welfare Trust (Nepal)
From: David Hayes
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2023 4:33:01 AM
To: Col Paul Smith (Sensitive)
Subject: YETI AIRLINES PLANE CRASH
Thoughts very much with you, and hoping no BGN or GWT(N) Staff were casualties, A shattering experience for Nepal. Prayers are with you all on Nepal’s Day of National Mourning.
David G Hayes CBE
Chairman, Gurkha Brigade Association
9 January 2023
BRUNEI 1962 ANNIVERSARY
Photographs of the Brunei 1962 Anniversary reunions held in the UK, Kathmandu and Pokhara can be viewed in the Noticeboard entries below dated 12 & 14 December. In addition, Sirmoor Club Members will be interested in the reading two related articles in the Sirmoor Club Members Blog (login required).
- My Brunei Rebellion Recollections by Lt (now Brig) Bruce Jackman
- Brunei Revolt 1962 Attack on Limbang by L Coy 42 RM Cdo
2ND BATTALION ANNUAL GET TOGETHER 18 MARCH 2023
The 2nd Battalion Get Together will take place on 18 March 2023. This will be the first time it has been held since 2019.
Venue. The Grange Community Junior School, Wren Way, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 8TA.
- From 1145 am. Assembly
- 1200 – 1300. There will be a titbit starter followed by BBQ style foods from 1200 until approximately 1300.
- FROM 1730: There will also be a Nepali dinner (bhat) for those staying until the evening, from 1730 pm.
- Event closes
Cost. The cost of a ticket is £20, to be paid at the door. The ticket covers food and. as the event is always self funding, the contribution towards rental /hire of facilities, insurance costs etc.
Cash Bar. Please bring cash for the cash bar.
For officers who wish to attend please contact CSgt Uttar Gurung (the organiser), either by phone on 07828 212550 or by email on email@example.com
14 December 2022
BRUNEI REVOLT 1962: ANNIVERSARY EVENT IN UK
On 10th December an event was held at the Gurkha Museum, Winchester, to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1st Battalion’s involvement in quelling the Brunei Rebellion in December 1962. Thirteen Gurkha veterans were joined by Lieutenant General Sir Peter Duffell, who had been Intelligence Officer, Brigadier Bruce Jackman, who was assistant Intelligence Officer and later commanded 8 Platoon, and Lieutenant Colonel Tony Lea who had commanded C Company. Unfortunately Major John Burlison, who had also been with the Battalion, was unable to attend.
The veterans sat in the MacDonald Gallery for a discussion chaired by the Director of the Gurkha Museum, Colonel Daren Bowyer. This went through the sequence of events of the campaign and was enhanced by fascinating contributions from the British Officer veterans and Lieutenant (QGO) Purnabahadur Gurung and Lance Corporal Manbahadur Gurung, both of C Company and the latter of whom had been wounded in the operation. The best anecdote was provided by Tony Lea, who recounted how he and recently arrived soldiers had to carry out weapon training with the unfamiliar and newly-issued FN rifle, using live ammunition, in the rear of the Beverley aircraft flying them to Brunei – and on arrival at Labuan airfield discovered 4 bullet holes in the fuselage!
General Duffell reminded everyone that following the success of this operation the future of the Brigade of Gurkhas was secured by the late Sultan’s decision to pay for a Gurkha battalion to be located in Brunei.
Col William Shuttlewood, Chairman of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, closed the proceedings with a one minute silence in memory of those 2nd Goorkhas who lost their lives in the operation: Lieutenant David Emory Stephens and 21141162 Lance Corporal Dalbahadur Thapa, both killed in action, and 21140389 Lance Corporal Padambahadur Thapa, killed on active service.
The veterans then enjoyed a chance to renew old friendships and reminisce over a very good curry lunch.
12 December 2022
BRUNEI REVOLT 1962: ANNIVERSARY EVENT IN POKHARA
On 10th December the Sirmoor Club Nepal (SCN) organised an event at the Gurkha Museum in Pokhara to mark the 60th Anniversary of the 1st Battalion action to suppress the Brunei revolt. Details of the the campaign can be found here. Photographs of the event are shown below and there is also a short video on the British Forces Broadcasting System Gurkha Facebook page.
29 veterans of the campaign arrived the night before. On the day there was a remembrance parade followed by a presentation and video interviews with veterans about the campaign by Major Yambahadur Gurung, the Chairman of the Gurkha Memorial Museum, which will be archived there and at the Gurkha Museum in Winchester. After lunch on the roof of the Museum the Chairman of SCN, Captain Bharat Singh Thapa Chhetri, offered his thanks to Major Yambahadur for kindly allowing the veterans and guests to use the Museum Building and also taking on the onerous task of organizing the gathering for the Sirmoori Seniors. He also thanked other members of the organizing team (Karna, Mek, Dud and Hikmat Bhais), Thak Bhai and the Museum civilian staff for their time and support, and all Branch Chairmen without whose support we would not have been able to trace and gather veterans of the campaign to make this occasion a memorable one.
Guests included Lieutenant Colonel J P Cross who had led local Iban tribesmen during the rebellion, Major Robin Marston late GTR who had flown to Brunei in December 1962 with the 1st Battalion to set up the logistics base and Capt Edward Mackaness late 2GR, one of the 2 GR Trustees, and his wife Sarah.
9 December 2022
VETERANS CENSUS AND SURVEY
All veterans are encouraged to complete the on-line Veterans Census and Survey, as it will benefit ALL veterans, including Gurkha veterans in the long run.
- Veterans Census: Organised by the Office Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) and Office for National Statistic (ONA).https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-veterans-get-their-say
- Veterans Survey: The survey is the first ever government funded survey for all veterans across the country to provide their views. https://www.ons.gov.uk/veteranssurvey.
PhD STUDY ON WOUNDED, SICK AND INJURED MILITARY VETERANS
Clare Pope is an Associate Professor at London South Bank University. She is researching the impact on the physical activity, health and wellbeing of veterans who were medically discharged for her PhD thesis on Wounded, Injured and Sick Military Veterans.
She has a genuine interest in improving the health and wellbeing of medically discharged UK Armed Forces veterans and hopes that her PhD study will contribute in some way. This is the first of 2 studies and she is looking for as many responses from injured veterans, including Gurkhas, as possible.
This study has been cleared this with MoD which is content for Gurkha veterans, but not serving personnel, to complete the questionnaire. Please pass on Clare Popes letter with the link to the survey, particularly to those discharged as a result of injuries /sickness.
If there are any further queries, please contact Clare Pope direct on firstname.lastname@example.org
GBA WEBSITE SURVEY
At the GBA AGM, it was agreed that the GBA website would be upgraded in 2 Phases:
- Phase 1: Upgrade to the GBA website. This was approved and will be implemented in due course.
- Phase 2: The setting up a “Members Area” within the GBA website, to allow members to search, post and chat to tother members was to be investigated. Would GBA Members make use of a chat forum and your own profile area on the website? We want to know if we created a secure area on the website, which you would have to sign up for access to, would you use as a discussion space with ex-colleagues?
The space would also allow you to generate your own profiles and create group spaces within it. Taking something that can be done on social media into a secure space on the GBA website. The secure part of the website would allow:
- Individuals to sign up for access
- A chat forum
- The ability to create group spaces within the forum
- Ability to upload your own profile and supporting media
- A space to promote your regimental and local activities
- A space for us to keep an eye out for each other, listening to those with concerns or problems, where others may be able to help or signpost to supporting organisations.
- A secure place for all age groups of the Brigade to come together online.
Complete the survey here: https://bit.ly/GBAWeb (Note: If you have difficulty in using the voting buttons on the website please reply by e-mail using the Question Number with your Answer to Mick Latter (head of Communications HQBG) at <email@example.com>
ROYAL GURKHA RIFLES REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION ANNUAL REUNION AT TWICKENHAM 13 MAY 23
It is with deep regret that the RGR Regimental Association Committee have decided that we no longer wish to use the Army v Navy annual rugby match at Twickenham as the venue for our annual RGR Regimental Reunion.
As you are aware our Association has been at the forefront of supporting this event for many years but we now feel that the changes that have been made to the event no longer lends itself as a location for our members to enjoy a great get together: the change in the ticketing system is the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’. The RFU will no longer allocate ‘block seating’ to Regiments or Corps which means our members are very unlikely to be able to sit together to watch the match. We believe that the block seating system that allowed us to watch the match as a group in what was a fantastic position in the stadium was an integral part of the reunion and that is why this decision has been taken.
On behalf of the committee I would like to assure all our members that we are actively looking for an alternative event that will allow us to hold our annual reunion in a manner that makes the event as enjoyable if not better than what we experienced at Twickenham over the past 15 years or so.
Please do not hesitate to contact the RGR Regtl Sec on firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss this matter further.
GBA PUBLICATIONS – (KUKRI JOURNAL, PARBATE & BOOKS)
The Kukri Journal, Parbate Magazine and books of interest can be easily viewed on the GBA Website. To read a copy of the latest November 2022 issue please click on the online on GBA Publications page.
24 November 2022
UPDATE ON BRIGADE OF GURKHAS UNIT ACTIVITIES
HQ Brigade of Gurkhas has provided the following update on Brigade units’ activities in 2022:
Across the Brigade the soldiers and officers continue to provide fully-manned and highly deployable units who are delivering some outstanding operational excellence, whether that is in barracks, on exercise or whilst deployed on operations. With the implementation of the Integrated Review now well underway, we have seen the Gurkha footprint move wider across the Army than ever before.
The Royal Gurkha Rifles
1 RGR’s last six months have seen the unit prepare to leave the UK and make the long-awaited move to Brunei. The final few weeks of the summer saw a host of preparations for the move, with just enough time to host its Champion Company competition. After weeks of flights, 1 RGR took over its duties as part of British Forces Brunei on 01 Aug, a welcome return to the tropics after an enforced delay of two years. In amongst all this, 1 RGR also won top spot at the Army Shooting Competition at Bisley and took the Queen’s Medal position as well.
2 RGR conducted a busy last six months in the Brunei; C Coy successfully delivered their Junior Leadership Cadre despite Bruneian COVID restrictions, the latest intake were assessed on their fieldcraft, both in the jungle and the urban environment, and simultaneously B Coy deployed on Exercise PACFIC KUKRI to Australia. The Battalion has at long last completed their much-delayed Unit Move from Brunei to Folkestone and were complete in the UK by 5 Sep 22. 2 RGR took second place at Bisley this year just behind their sister Battalion. Their Pipes and Drums also supported the State funeral on 19 Sep along with the two QGOOs.
The two RGR Coys incorporated into two of the new Ranger Regiment’s battalions have been extremely busy and highly utilised, deploying on numerous operations and continue to highlight the real effectiveness of the modern Gurkha soldier.
Queen’s Gurkha Engineers
The Regiment remains on high readiness in support of operations worldwide, with their squadrons ready to support NATO’s renewed interest in eastern Europe. 69 Gurkha Fd Sqn recently deployed on exercise to refresh competency in the use of live explosives with notable success. The newly established 70 Gurkha Parachute Sqn conducted an exercise with 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment aimed at integrating them into their new parent Regiment. The QGE won a very competitive Nepal Cup final in Jul 22 and they also provided a marching detachment for the State funeral.
Queen’s Gurkha Signals
It has been an extremely busy period for the QG Signals; 247 Sqn deployed to Germany and Poland, 250 Sqn deployed to Lithuania to provide key communications capabilities and support to a 2* HQ, and 248 Sqn personnel deployed to Germany to support HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. Lastly, a team from 242 Sqn travelled to London to host and support the Senior Commanders of Allied Nations at a recent Conference.
Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
10 QOGLR have had a fantastic and varied spring/summer this year. In May, they passed their Fit for Role inspection for Public Duties and were able to then take up the responsibility of Queen’s Guard at their first Guard Mount. In Jun, soldiers from across the Regiment completed the Pre-Parachute course prior to future employment at the newly established 15 Sqn QOGLR. Finally in Aug, soldiers deployed away on operations completed the renowned 25 km DANCON (Danish) March, raising money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas
The BG Band continue to deliver excellent support, musically and in their accustomed way, far more in the wider engagement space and have been deployed to Nepal as well as at numerous events across the UK. The Brigade welcomes Capt Esther Hayes on her appointment as the new Director of Music, and Capt Sunil Gurung as the new Assistant Director of Music of the Band. The Band also supported the State funeral.
Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support
The GSPS celebrated their 11th birthday on 25 Jun 22. The celebration included the GSPS Football Cup which was won by the UK RGR based team. GSPS personnel continue to provide critical administrative support to all BG units across the world in barracks and on operations.
Nepal and Recruiting
BGN’s recruiting cycle is progressing as planned. Registration filtered down over 19,000 potential recruits to the current call forward of 7,395 for Regional Selection. Once that has been completed, a final filter will be applied to select those to attend Central Selection in Jan 23.
UK and Nepal Relationship
There continues to be a focus on Gurkha veterans’ grievances, with recent coverage in the Nepalese and UK media and a planned MOD meeting with the Embassy and some aggrieved veterans is due in the Autumn. The appointment of the new Nepalese Ambassador to the UK has been very much welcomed by the BG and saw him recently attend the Brigade of Gurkhas Dinner Night as the principal guest.
16 November 2022
REMEMBRANCE DAY PHOTOS FROM KATHMANDU, POKHARA AND GLASGOW
Please follow this link to see photographs of Remembrance Day events in these places submitted by Sirmooris.
30 October 2022
SIRMOORIS AT GURKHA ASSOCIATION SCOTLAND GATHERING
Major Sudan Dewan has reported on this event which took place on 23 July 2022:
‘After a long absence of two years of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown, the Gurkha Association Scotland finally managed to have a ‘Get-Together’ in the early summer this year, held at the Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. The event was simple but ‘gharelu’ (homely) party, superbly organised by Captain Tika Limbu (ex-10GR), who is the Chairman GA Scotland, and his committee members. The food was magnificient, topped off by a variety of wonderful home-cooked Nepali dishes prepared by Didi-Bahinis. Although the numbers present looked small it was an enjoyable gathering and great to see everyone again in good health and spirits along with their families and children. An impromptu roll call revealed, in total, there being seven Sirmooris working and living in Scotland, although all were not present at the event . Jai Lali!’
Group photograph of the event
The 5 Sirmooris at the event, L to R: Kamal Thapa, Padam Thapa, Sudan Dewan, Resham Thapa, Prem Gharti (Band).
25 October 2022
SIRMOOR CLUB NEPAL CELEBRATION OF DELHI DAY
Sirmoor Club Nepal celebrated Delhi Day, the Regimental Day, on Saturday 22 October 2022 in Pokhara and several other locations in Nepal. A collection of several photographs from the Pokhara event can be viewed by clicking here. They include a short video of Lance-Corporal Padambahadur Gurung, at 102 the oldest surviving member of the Regiment, paying his respects to the replica of the Queen’s Truncheon. He had mislaid his medals so a new set had been made for him in England and presented to him at the event, as can be seen in some of the photographs.
Captain Edward Mackaness and his wife Sarah were able to attend and sent the following report: ‘We attended the SCN Delhi Day reunion on Saturday and conveyed the best wishes of the Sirmoor Club and personal messages of greetings from the President and Chairman of the Club and the Sirmoor Rifles Association Trust. I presented the SCN with a copy of Major General Craig Lawrence’s book on 25 years of RGR. Captain Bharat Singh Chhetri and the SCN Committee made us very welcome and my chorto-mitho address in Nepali was well received. I had some lovely reacquaintances including SB saheb, Ramkrishna the 2/2GR Bugle Major and Ramesh the Orderly Sgt in Cassino. As always new acquaintances built up on that common family connection, talking about places and people we remembered. We were really appreciative that we could be there and were so warmly welcomed.'[
1 October 2022
DASHAIN MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT OF THE SIRMOOR RIFLES ASSOCIATION, BRIGADIER IAN RIGDEN OBE
To all members of the 2GRRA, specifically the Sirmoor Club (Nepal), Sirmoor Sathis and the Sirmoor Club, my heartfelt best wishes for a Happy Dashain 2079, starting from 2 Oct 22.
May you all be blessed with good health, happiness and prosperity in the year ahead and have the opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones and friends in the spirit of faith, unity, family and comradeship.
These lyrics are from a well known Nepali song:
Thuloko ashis, Saanako Maya, Chamkiyos Nidharma Rato Tika ani pahelo jamarako, sital chaya Rahirahos, Dashainko ramjham, Sadhain Bhari, manaula Dahsain Pherai pani Yesai gari.
Colloquial English Translation: It is a heartfelt hope that, by the placing of the red tika and yellow barley leaves upon you, you feel rejuvenated in your desire to have a wonderful (pleasurable) Dashain, now and forever.
Jai Durga Mata, Jai Gurkhali, Jai Sirmoor
29 September 2022
TRIBUTES TO HM THE LATE QUEEN ELIZABETH II IN NEPAL
The Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal has posted two videos showing tributes to Her Majesty the Late Queen Elizabeth II in Nepal.
Her Majesty was held in very high regard by not only Gurkha veterans but Nepalese citizens. The Prime Minister, Mr Sher Bahadur Deuba, was the first person to sign the Condolence Book in the British Embassy on Monday 12th September. On the 13th Chairmen and other members of the Regimental Associations in Nepal were invited by Her Excellency The British Ambassador, Mrs Nicola Pollitt, and Commander Brigade of Gurkhas Nepal and Defence Attache Colonel Paul Smith QOGLR to sign the Condolence Book. Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal, Captain Bharat Singh Thapa Chhetri, was the first to sign.
On the 19th September the Regimental Associations were all invited to watch the State Funeral live on a big screen in the Embassy. They gathered at the Ambassador’s house at 1430 and after refreshments and the Embassy programme (see the video below) walked across to Stirling Hall to view the State Funeral.
An event to mark the occasion was also held in Dharan.
The Sirmoor Club Nepal thanks Her Excellency the Ambassador and Commander Brigade of Gurkhas Nepall for their invitations and hospitality, and Captain BK Rai MVO, late 10 GR, for the Dharan video.
The videos can be seen here:
22 September 2022
THE BRITISH IN INDIA LECTURES
The British in India is an organisation providing historical discussions and presentations on all aspects of the East India Company and the British Raj. Booking has just opened for their latest series of online lectures which include ‘The Company’s Sword: the East India Company and the Politics of Militarism’, ‘Heart Like a Fakir: General Sir James Abbott and the Fall of the East India Company’ and ‘Mutiny or Uprising’, a discussion of the 1857 Rebellion in which the Sirmoor Rifles played such an important role. More details are on the British in India website here.
22 September 2022
If you take a close interest in the war in Ukraine, you may be interested in the weekly newsletters published by Prevail Partners, an organisation drawn mostly from ex-special forces personnel that provides security and training in Ukraine and intelligence to some media outlets. Current and previous newsletters can be accessed here.
The Economist newspaper also provides excellent and well-informed webinars on the situation in Ukraine, looking at not only the military but also the political, diplomatic, economic, sociological and other aspects of the conflict – but you have to be a subscriber to take advantage of this.
20 September 2022
QUEEN’S TRUNCHEON REFURBISHED
The Royal Gurkha Rifles have had the Queen’s Truncheon and its carrying case refurbished as shown in the photographs below.
14 September 2022
DELHI DAY GREETINGS FROM SIRMOOR SATHIES
The following message has been received from the Chairman of the Sirmoor Sathies, Captain Raju Gurung:
Respected President, Chairman, Senior officers and Members of 2GR Sirmoor Rifles Association (SRA) UK and around the Globe मा न्यानो अभिवादन साथै नमस्कार and LALI SALAM,
Today we honor those our forefathers’ who have made the greatest sacrifice for us. Let’s Remember Together we pay homage and LALI Salute to those our fallen Heroes with pride this year 165th Delhi Day 14 Sep 2022. We can’t celebrate our 165th Delhi Day this year, because of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II Passed away Peacefully Last Thursday evening on 8 Sep 2022. We all Prays her Majesty’s departure Soul Rest in Peace in Heaven. ॐ माणि पद्मे हुँ !
Today We, 2GR Sirmoor Sathies-UK Members express our gratitude to our fallen heroes at Delhi Battle on 14 Sep 1857 and Wishing you all and your’s Families a very Happy and memorable 165th DELHI DAY 2022 also Healthy and prosperous Life ahead. NISSANI MAI Blessing You all.
We Look Forward to Meeting you all next year Delhi Day on Saturday 9 September 2023 in Aldershot in the UK.
Stay Safe ! धन्यवाद ।
“ JAI LALI PALTAN “
14 September 2022
DELHI DAY GREETINGS FROM SIRMOOR CLUB NEPAL
The Chairman of the Sirmoor Rifles Association has received the following message from the Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal, Captain Bharat Singh Thapa Chhetri:
I on behalf of all members of the Sirmoor Club Nepal thank you and all members of the Sirmoor Club UK for your Delhi Day 2022 greetings and reciprocate the same.
While mourning the death of Her Majesty The Queen we also remember and pay homage to our ancestors who so gallantly sacrificed their lives on the Siege of Delhi in 1857.
In Kathmandu we, a small group of Sirmoori veterans, gather today, 14th September, to mark the passing of HM The Queen and the gallantry of our forebears ihis day in 1857.
We are very lucky to have our President, Brigadier Ian Rigden, with us today. He was with the Pokhara Sirmooris on the 11th.
We also extend Delhi Day gatherings to Chairman and all members Sirmoor Sathis UK.
14 September 2022
SIGNING OF CONDOLENCE BOOK IN BRITISH EMBASSY KATHMANDU
Her Excellency the British Ambassador, Commander Brigade of Gurkhas Nepal and his staff and representatives of the Regimental and Corps Associations after signing the Book of Condolence for the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the British Embassy, Kathmandu.
Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal signing the Book of Condolence.
14 September 2022
DELHI DAY MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT OF THE SIRMOOR RIFLES ASSOCIATION
Brigadier IA Rigden, President of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, has sent the following Delhi Day message to all Sirmooris:
Today, on the 165th anniversary of the Regiment’s action at the siege of Delhi I send to you my heartfelt greetings. This year our need to mourn the death of Her Majesty the Queen, our much loved Sovereign, must take precedence over our traditional gatherings.
I know and acknowledge how much hard work you put into the planning of commemoration events in UK and Nepal. l wish to thank all the organisers and volunteers involved. We all look forward to gathering again next year.
In the meantime, I know that individually and in small groups we will all remember the Regiment’s remarkable conduct during the siege in 1857 and the consequences of their actions, from which we gained our unique rifle regiment identity that lives on in the Brigade today. I wish you all, wherever you are, a very happy Delhi Day 2022. Salaams.
Jai Sirmoor Rifles, Jai Gurkhali
9 September 2022
DEATH OF HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
Her Majesty The Queen inspects the Queen’s Truncheon
at Buckingham Palace, 10 July 2015
All members of the Sirmoor Rifles Association will mourn the death of Her Majesty the Queen. It has been our pleasure and our privilege to be able to serve her as members of the Sirmoor Rifles. These are sad days.
As a mark of respect Regimental gatherings in UK, Nepal and elsewhere to mark the 165th anniversary of Delhi Day have been cancelled. The memorial service at the Royal Military Chapel, Sandhurst on 17th September to mark the life of the Field Marshal Sir John Chapple has been postponed.
Our Colonel in Chief succeeds Her Majesty as King Charles III. Our President has written on our behalf to express not only our condolences but also to offer our continued support and loyalty at these difficult times. God save the King!
31 August 2022
NEW WEBPAGE: 2ND GOORKHAS CASUALTIES 1815-1994
A new webpage has been created by Major Harrop and Colonel Hinton showing Sirmoor Battalion/2nd Goorkhas casualties by location throughout the Regiment’s 179 year history. It includes interactive maps with links to photographs of many of the cemeteries where the men are buried and accounts of the campaigns in which they died. It can be accessed via ‘The Regiment’ tab at the top of this page (scroll down to ‘2nd Goorkhas Casualties’) or by clicking on this link.
3 August 2022
GBA GOLF DAY 2022
For full details please read the GBA Golf Day – Admin Instruction. Nominations are to be with Maj Dammarbahadur Shahi by 12 Aug 22.
- Date-Thursday 15 Sep 22
- Venue-Weybrook Park Golf Club, Basingstoke
- Cost– £45 per player plus £2 coin cash on the day for raffle draw.
- Payment– 2 Weeks in advance (by 1stof Sep 22)
- Date of nomination– 12 Aug 22 (Before all departs on leave/cruise) (However, I will be working until last parade on Fri 18thof Aug. I have requested 50 places for the GBA 22 should be enough)
If you would like to participate, please contact Major Dammarbahadur Shahi by 12 Aug 22.
CENOTAPH CEREMONY 2022 – 13 November 2022
The GBA have been allocated 55 places for the Cenotaph Parade.
To register for the Cenotaph Parade, click on the RBL Cenotaph Registration Portal and complete the details on-line by 19 Aug 22. If there are spare places there will be a separate opportunity to register after 14 Sep 22..
1. Scroll down and click on the RED box (Enter Portal)
2. Click on the RED box (Start Cenotaph Parade Application)
3. You will see that the “Personal Details” are already populated
4. Delete what is in each box and insert your own service details.
5. Once you have completed the application form click on the RED Submit button at the very bottom of the page.
The application is now complete and the applicant should receive an email confirming registration.
Once you have successfully registered, or if you need further assistance, please contact:
You may repeat this process and enter the details of other veterans who wish to parade at the Cenotaph.
Key dates to note:
|4 July||RBL to confirm 2022 ticket allocation to each Association.|
|19 August||Deadline for Associations to complete individual participant information.|
|14 September||Application process to re-open for associations to register additional participants if vacancies exist.|
|30 September||Portal closes.|
|October||Tickets and Joining Instructions sent to Associations.|
FALKLANDS FORTY – GURKHA VOICES FROM THE FALKLANDS – A NEW PODCAST SERIES FROM THE GURKHA MUSEUM
Members will be aware that 2022 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Falkland Island conflict. To mark the occasion, Brig David Morgan (CO 1/7GR at the time), with expert advice from Catriona Oliphant (daughter of Maj “Jumbo” Oliphant 1/7GR) has put together podcasts of individual accounts of their experience during the conflict. These are personal accounts and are well worth listening to.
There are 4 links; the first is the podcast with an introduction from Darren Boyer (Director Gurkha Museum), the second (in English) from Brig David Morgan and other 2 links are to the Gurkha Museum and Chrome radio websites for the same podcast.
- Gurkha Voices from the Falklands podcast series
- Brig Morgan’s Introduction
- further information on the series on the Gurkha Museum’s website.
- ChromeRadio website
PRINTS OF THE FALKLANDS PAINTING (by Michael Alfor
The 7GR Trust has recently commissioned an oil painting to commemorate the Falklands war and those who attended the GBA Reunion at RMAS on 4 June will have witnessed the unveiling. A photo of the original is atta
ched. Prints of the painting have now been produced and will be signed by the artist. I had thought that interest in these would be restricted to those who were involved in the war but I have now been asked to circulate the information more widely. I leave it to you to pass this on (or not) as you see fit. For anyone interested in purchasing a print details are as follows:
Sizes and costs are:
- A3 small 420 x 257 – £50
- A2 large 594 x 420 – £100
Anyone wanting one should email me and provide the name and address to which it should be sent and the print size (A2 or A3). Payment should be made by transfer to the 7GRRA account sort code 30-91-99 account number 02625592 and annotated ‘FI Print’. If you have to send a cheque please ensure it is made out to 7GRRA.
FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN CHAPPLE GCB CBE DL – MEMORIAL SERVICE AT RMC, RMAS (SAT 17 SEP 22 at 2:00 pm) – LATE BOOKINGS
A list of SRA members attending the Memorial Service for Field Marshal Sir John Chapple is at SRA Attendance List.
22 July 2022
FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN CHAPPLE GCB CBE DL – MEMORIAL SERVICE AT RMC, RMAS (SAT 17 SEP 22 at 2:00 pm) – ADDITIONAL BOOKINGS
HQBG have reviewed the initial attendance lists of those attending Field Marshal Sir John Chapple’s Memorial Service and have confirmed there is additional space available for those who wish to attend but have yet to apply for tickets. A list of confirmed Sirmoories attending is on the Sirmoor Club Secure Notice Board. Sirmoor Club members are strongly encouraged to book, particularly those who knew the family.
For those who have not booked but would like to attend please inform the Honorary Secretary with your contact details: name, address, e-mail, telephone number, plus any special mobility or dietary requirements, by 28 July 2022.
A copy of the Booking Arrangements for the Field Marshal Sir John Chapple’s Memorial Service can be read at FM Memorial Service Booking Arrangements.
Dress is suits. Car parking will be available. Attendees will receive their tickets in early September.
GURKHA BRIGADE ASSOCIATION BHELA – 9 JUL 22
8 July 2022
If you have not already made a note, we will be having a Sirmoor Marquee at the GBA Bhela on 9 July 2022. Please make every effort to attend:
Date: 9 Jul 22.
Time: 1000 – 1700 hrs.
Location: Sports fields, Queens Avenue, Aldershot, GU11 2JL
For further details see the the following documents:
27 Jun 2022
FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN CHAPPLE GCB CBE DL – MEMORIAL SERVICE AT RMC, RMAS (SAT 17 SEP 22) – BOOKING ARRANGEMENTS
A copy of the Booking Arrangements for the Field Marshal Sir John Chapple’s Memorial Service can be read at FM Memorial Service Booking Arrangements.
For Sirmoor Club Members. Please visit the Sirmoor Club Notice Board.
For Sirmoor Sathis. If you have not yet applied for a ticket please inform the Honorary Secretary soonest but no later than Monday 25 July 2022. A consolidated list will be forwarded to HQBG on Friday 29 July 2022.
Please note that in the event of the Service being over-subscribed a ballot may be necessary.
Dress is suits. Car parking will be available. Attendees will receive their tickets in early September.
16 Jun 22
5/8GR CELEBRATION OF TANBINGON DAY AT THE LAL GATE, DEHRA DUN
The following pictures have been received from Sirmoor Club Nepal, showing a gathering of members of the 5/8GR Ex-Servicemens’ Association to mark Tanbingon Day on 7th June 2022:
The first photograph shows Colonel S C Naithani (89 years old and CO 5/8 GR 1974/79) laying a wreath.
The 4th Battalion 2nd Goorkhas became the 5th Battalion of the 8th Gurkha Rifles on Indian Independence in 1947. Click here to read more about the battle of Tanbingon.
The Lal Gate was erected by the 2nd Goorkhas in the winter of 1913/1914 in preparation for the Regiment’s first centenary in 1915 and in commemoration of officers and men the Regiment had lost up to that point. It has been carefully maintained by the Indian Army and updated to mark the bi-centenary in 2015. 5/8GR still refer to themselves as ‘The Sirmoor Rifles’ because of their close association with the 2nd Goorkhas and it is therefore appropriate that they commemorate their battle honour ‘Tanbingon’ at the gate.
13 Jun 22
SIRMOOR CLUB NEPAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 4th JUNE 2022
The following photos have been received of the Sirmoor Club Nepal Annual General Meeting held in Kathmandu on Saturday 4th June 2002:
11 Jun 22
OP CORPORATE 40TH ANNIVERSARY REMEMBRANCE SERVICE -14 JUN 22
Please see the attached message from Chairman GBA to Chairman 7GRA to mark the 40th Anniversary of the cessation of Op CORPRATE, the Falkland Island conflict.
9 June 22
TANBINGON DAY GREETINGS FROM 5/8GR
The following message was received on 7th June 2022 from Colonel (Retired) JK Achuthan, late 5/8GR:
“We remember with great pride the heroic achievements of the young band of Officers, VCOs and brave Gorkhas of 4/2 GR (Sirmoor Rifles) in the tough battles of the Burma Campaign in 1945, which culminated with the storming of Tanbingon 0n 7th June 1945. May God bless all those who brought eternal glory to our Regiment, and annihilated their Japanese opponents.”
(The 4th Battalion 2nd Goorkhas became the 5th Battalion of the 8th Gurkha Rifles on Indian Independence in 1947).
Click here to read more about the battle of Tanbingon.
7 June 2022
GURKHA MUSEUM – JOB OPPORTUNITY – HEAD OF OPERATIONS
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join The Gurkha Museum team at a critical time as it embarks upon a major redevelopment project.
Post: Head of Operations, The Gurkha Museum.
Job Type: Full-time.
Salary: £30,000 – £32,000 (depending on experience).
Closing Date: 30 June 2022.
The Gurkha Museum is seeking to appoint a Head of Operations who will be responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of the Museum, working alongside the Head of Fundraising and Marketing in supporting the Director in the development and delivery of this project.
The successful candidate will have proven experience in a leadership and management role, ideally but not necessarily in a museum, visitor attraction or similar setting. They will be a driven, self-starting leader, able to work effectively and collaboratively as part of the Senior Management Team.
Please see the job description for further details, including job description, person specification and how to apply.
30 May 22
GURKHA MUSEUM QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE AUCTION
The Gurkha Museum, as part of the QPJ celebrations and to raise money for The Gurkha Museum Trust are having a “Jubilee Auction”.
Bidding is open until 10am on Wednesday 1 June. Some of the items are proving quite popular, so you are encouraged to bid. Dig deep as it is for a worthy cause – “Our Heritage”
PATRICK PIRIE-GORDON, BANKER TO THE BRIGADE
Members may be interested to read an article on the late Patrick Pirie-Gordon who died back on 4 April 2011, for his work with the Brigade of Gurkhas trust Funds for which he was colloquially known as the Banker to the Brigade.
24 May 22
ANTHONY WIELER (LATE 7GR & FOUNDER TEAM MEMBER OF THE GWT APPEAL)
Anthony Wieler who died on 8 April 2022, was instrumental in the founding of The Gurkha Welfare Trust and in organising the Trust’s very first appeal – to raise £1m from the British public in 1969. His obituary can be found in The Times:
- Antony Wieler – Times Obituary (24 May 22) (24 (For more download The Times and The Sunday Times app here.
Of interest will be the two GWT articles on Anthony Wieler:
11 May 22
HISTORY OF THE REGIMENT – ‘ON THIS DAY’ SEARCH FUNCTION
For those interested in researching Regimental history, a new ‘search box’ can be found at the right bottom of the Home Page under the ‘History of the Regiment – On this Day’ section.
SUBJECT: TV SERIES / EX-GURKHA, MARTIAL ARTS ROLE / CASTING CALL
KRJ Casting Ltd is casting a male Nepalese, ex-Gurkha role in an upcoming HBO Max TV series suitable for Nepalese heritage and Gurkha community for anyone who would like to apply? For further details click on KRJ Casting details.
PARBATE – MARCH/APRIL 2022“,
A copy of Parbate Mar/Apr 2022 edition with the following articles is highlighted.
- General Peter –FM Chapple’s abbreviated Obituary – page 4.
- Col Ratna – HE The Ambassador’s visit to HQBG- page 10.
- Lord Bilimoria/Sir Evelyn – Coverage of Memorial Gates – page 17
‘GURKHAS, FALKLANDS AND LEADERSHIP’ BY MIKE SEEAR
- Event: The launch of Mike Seear’s latest book; Gurkhas, Falklands and Leadership
- Date: Wednesday 15 June 2022
- Time: 1800hrs
- Tickets: Priced at £40.00 to include welcome drinks, two course curry supper and an after dinner lecture; With the Gurkhas in the Falklands
- More information: Gurkhas, Falklands and Leadership
GARTH MILLER RGRRA – EVEREST EXPEDITION 2022 – 2024
Garth Miller, a former RGR officer and GBA member, is currently on an expedition to climb Ama Dablam in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal. This expedition is training for his Man v Mountain three-year programme that involves three exciting expeditions to Everest:
- May 22. A record-breaking ‘lightning ascent’ of Mount Everest to slash the record time taken from London to the summit of Everest and back.
- May 23. Recreate the Hillary/Tensing Sherpa 1953 ascent of Everest
- May 24. To mark the centenary of the 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition using clothing and equipment identical to that used by Mallory and Irvine in their fateful climb.
Additionally, Garth has created an exciting ‘experiential learning’ opportunity for schools. This is designed to help the children tackle challenges in their everyday lives through building their resilience, perseverance and determination. It has so far been excitedly received by hundreds of primary-aged students.
For further details click on his web page ManvMountain or download his flier. You can follow Garth’s progress on Instagram at: @be_more_garth. Please click ‘follow’ on the Instagram site to increase the social media reach of the expedition.
Donations. Should you wish to donate towards the expedition, please follow this link. Fundraiser by Garth Miller : Everest – An experiential learning adventure (gofundme.com)
GURKHA BRIGADE ASSOCIATION BHELA – 9 JUL 22
If you have not already made a note, we will be having a Sirmoor Marquee at the GBA Bhela on 9 July 2022. Please make every effort to attend:
- Date: 9 Jul 22.
- Time: 1000 – 1700 hrs.
- Location: Sports fields, Queens Avenue, Aldershot, GU11 2JL
For further details see the GBA Poster 2022.
10 May 2022
SIRMOOR FAMILIES’ PRESENTATION TO GURKHA MEMORIAL MUSEUM POKHARA
The Chairman of the Gurkha Memorial Museum Pokhara, Major Yambahadur Gurung BEM, has submitted the following report about a generous donation by the family of the late Captain Sunar Gurung 2/2 GR and Mrs Lalkumari Gurung & Mrs Dhankumari Gurung.
In early April 2022, we received an unusual and very kind offer via a Sirmoori source (Captain Karnabahadur Thapa 1st Bn, Secretary) that ten family members of the late Captain Sunar Gurung 2/2GR and Mrs Dhankumari Gurung wanted to donate Rs One Lakh (just over UKP 600) to the Gurkha Memorial Museum at Pokhara, so the total was 10 Lakh or UKP 6,000 – amazing! We heard later from Captain Indrabahadur Gurung 2nd Bn, Captain Sunar’s senior son, that apparently they had considered funding one of the rooms in the museum during the construction phase but because of various commitments it took a while for them to get together. This time when they heard we were going to expand the museum by adding a block to the back, they decided to announce their donation.
The sons and daughters in order of age were:
- Mrs Balkumari Gurung married to Late Mr Hembahadur Gurung
- Late Lt Maniprasad Gurung 2nd Bn (Nepal Cup footballer) married Mrs Sumitra Gurung
- Mrs Santakumari Gurung married to Hav Prembahadur Gurung 5/5GR (FF)
- Captain Indrabahadur Gurung 2nd Bn (2ic C Coy) married Mrs Laxmi Gurung
- Major Lalbahadur Gurung MBE 1st Bn (GM amalgamated 2GR/first GM 1RGR) married Mrs Masina Gurung
- Mrs Panchakumari Gurung married to Cpl Dilbahadur Gurung 2nd Bn
- WO2 Rambahadur Gurung 1st Bn, married Mrs Laxmi Gurung
- Major Narkaji Gurung 1st Bn (GM 1 RGR) married Mrs Renu Gurung
- Major Dilbahadur Gurung MVO 2nd Bn (was 2nd Bn GM), married Mrs Mayadevi Gurung
- They raised to donate on behalf of their father Late Captain Sunar also.
(Note: Three members were GMs, quite a record!)
The Gurkha Memorial Museum Committee, led by the Chairman Major Yambahadur Gurung BEM 2nd Bn (who was OC C Coy when Capt Indra was 2IC) organised a memorable gathering followed by lunch at the BGP Regimental Complex close to the museum on 28th April 2022. Such a large donation by one big family – and by coincidence mostly all Sirmoori members – was a first time for the museum. Surely a very pleased Captain Sunar must have been watching from above when this event was going on. Each family member was presented with a mini Gurkha statue and thank you letter from no other than WW2 veteran and Nepali citizen Lt Col JP Cross OBE Late 1GR and later 7GR who has been a museum Advisor for 28 years since the museum was established in 1994 – a record. The event ended with a guided tour of the museum during which much time was spent in the 2GR section reviving memories of the familiar faces on display in the gallery. It was really a Sirmoori Day, a quite special celebration of such kindness. Thank you Saheb and Memsaheb haru!
Photographs of the event:
5 April 2022
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SETTLEMENT FEE WAIVER
Following the joint announcement on 23 Feb by SofS and the Home Sec that the fee for Settlement (ILR/ILE) would be waived for eligible non-UK SP on discharge, the fee regulations have now been laid in Parliament and the waiver will come into effect on 6 Apr
To be eligible, non-UK SP applying on or after 6 Apr, must meet existing Home Office criteria and:
- Have served for six years or more, or
- Discharged with an illness or injury attributable to service – irrespective of length of service, or are
- A veteran currently living in the UK who has not regularised their immigration status following six years or more of service or were discharged with an illness or injury attributable to service.
You will also recall that it was originally planned that the MOD would pay the Administrative Fee (£245) for each application, and that TLBs would need to set aside the money to fund this for their personnel. However, the Home Secretary agreed to absorb the whole cost (£2,389 FY21/22) so TLBs will not therefore be required to provide/set aside any funding.
We are in the process of getting a DIN published about the fee waiver, but it may not happen before 6 Apr, so please share the implementation date before then.
For further details visit the following links on the Gov.UK website:
- Immigration Fees Public Consultation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk
- ‘Visa fees scrapped for Non-UK Service Personnel‘.
30 March 2022
THE RIFLES & THE BAND OF THE BRIGADE OF GURKHAS – SOUNDING RETREAT AT HORSE GUARDS – 8 & 9 JUNE 22
The Rifles and The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas are Sounding Retreat on Wednesday the 8th and Thursday the 9th of June at Horse Guards (please see attached). It promises to be a musical extravaganza which we would very much like the Gurkha community and supporters to attend.
- Date – 8thand 9th June 2022.
- Start time – 2000hrs. Finishes – 2110hrs.
- Ticket website – https://tickets.theriflesnetwork.co.uk.
- Ticket prices – £8-25 (which we can discuss a discount for NAM members).
- Performers include:
- The Massed Bands and Bugles of The Rifles
- The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas
- The English National Opera
- Quirinus Band and Bugle Corps from Germany
- Cadet Bands and Bugles of The Rifles
- The Bugle Branch The Rifleman’s Association
- James Holland, Founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival narrating
28 Mar 22
FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN CHAPPLE – OBITUARY
The following obituary for Field Marshal Sir John Chapple appeared in The Times on Monday 28th March 2022:
As a child, John Chapple was introduced to Rudyard Kipling at Brown’s Hotel in London, where the great imperial author had written the Jungle Book. If Kipling had lived longer, he would surely have found a place in his books for the awed four-year-old and later colourful soldier, for Chapple was a late product of empire and steeped in its history, fighting some of its final battles as a Gurkha in the jungles of the Far East.
The apex of his career, however, was at the Ministry of Defence in the aftermath of NATO’s victory in the Cold War. And it was bitter-sweet. Chapple had taken over as Chief of the General Staff (head of the Army) in September 1988 as cracks began to appear metaphorically in the Berlin Wall. In November the following year the cracks became real and the wall was torn down by Berliners on both sides. By Octobner 1990 Germany was reunited, triggering the swift collapse of the other eastern bloc regimes. Thirteen months later, on December 25, 1991, President Gorbachev resigned and the Soviet Union was dissolved. Yet fast as the pace of the Soviet Union’s disintegration was, faster still was the subsequent dismemberment of Britain’s Armed Forces.
With the prevailing ‘end of history’ world view, the Conservative Government wanted a ‘peace dividend’. Chapple argued that any dividend should go to the forces, which for decades had subsisted on poor pay, poor living conditions, and inadequate equipment as well as being over-committed, especially in Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, in July 1990 the Defence Secretary, Tom King (later Lord King of Bridgwater) announced the so-called Options for Change review, which would cut the Army by almost half.
Then on August 2, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Chapple and his fellow service chiefs were able to put the cuts on hold while they assembled a force in the Gulf, along with the Americans, to liberate Kuwait. Doing so revealed serious shortfalls in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) but Chapple could make little headway afterwards in clawing back resources, despite being extended in post until 1992 to see through the cuts. Even his beloved Gurkhas were to be reduced severely. His did, however, manage to preserve the Army’s strong Northern Irish links by the amalgamation of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment, a masterstroke of his own conception.
The Field Marshal as Chief of the General Staff
On leaving the appointment he received the customary Field Marshal’s baton, the last Chief of the General Staff to do so. Deeming that the Army (and the other two services) were no longer big enough to justify ‘five star’ rank to its retiring heads, his successor, on appointment as Chief of the Defence Staff as a Field Marshal, abolished the practice, as well as, indeed, the active five-star rank for the appointment, the rank now solely honorary.
John Lyon Chapple was born in 1931 in Maida Vale, London, the son of Elsie Lyon, a doctor, and Charles Herbert Chapple, a Royal Engineers officer who served in France and Mesopotamia (Iraq) during the First World War. At the urging of his paternal grandmother, who greatly admired Kipling, the young Chapple was sent to school in Windsor, at the Imperial Service College which had absorbed Kipling’s old school, the United Services College at Westward Ho! In Devon. In 1942 the college merged with Haileybury, in Hertfordshire, which had originally been founded as the East India College to prepare administrators for the Honourable East India Company. At Haileybury Chapple learnt to recognise the approach of the German V1 rockets known as ‘doodlebugs’. One day while watching cricket he heard a V1 coming and everyone fled except the Headmaster, who was umpiring and was half deaf. The bomb exploded just behind the trees and the match resumed as if nothing had happened. Chapple and another boy went for a look round the school and found lots of broken windows: “We finished off one or two that the Germans hadn’t managed to blow out”.
As well as a little light vandalism at Haileybury, he also went in for acting, playing a memorable Polonius, and took part in five expeditions of the British Exploring Society including to Newfoundland and Lapland, which fostered a lifelong interest in conservation.
Chapple did his national service as a subaltern in the Royal Artillery before reading German and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he acted in five plays directed by Peter Hall. On graduation in 1954 he joined 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles) on a regular commission. The 2nd considered themselves an elite within an elite (the Brigade of Gurkhas) and much cherished their historic double-o spelling, although it had officially changed in 1902. There were two battalions, and it was said that the 2nd/2nd spoke only 1st/2nd, and 1st/2nd only to God.
Meanwhile, through a Cambridge friend he had met Annabel Hill, a diving star on whose fingertips entering the water a UK girls’ diving trophy was modelled. “I proposed to her almost immediately,” he said later, “but it took three and a half years to persuade her to say yes.” The attempts included a pursuit across America. They were married in 1959, and Annabel survives him with four children: Rachel, a social anthropologist and founder of the Real Stories Gallery Foundation; David, a consultant spinal surgeon; Kate, chief sub-editor at the Financial Times How to Spend It magazine; and Sasha, a mother.
Chapple joined the 1st/2nd in Malaya in the middle of the 12-year campaign against the communist insurgency, in which British, Commonwealth and Gurkha battalions were intensively engaged until 1960. He served his first three years in the jungles of South Johore, particularly notorious ‘bandit country’. In 1962 he attended the Staff College, Camberley; his subsequent appointment as chief personnel and logistics officer of a brigade in BAOR, highly unusual for a Gurkha officer, marked him out as an officer being groomed for high rank. On return to 1st/2nd as a company commander, Chapple was in the jungle once more, this time in Borneo during Indonesian ‘Confrontation’. It was a campaign that hardly dared speak its name, especially the cross-border operations to deny the Indonesians the initiative in setting up bases from which to raid into the newly independent states of Sarawak and North Borneo within federated Malaysia. Chapple recalled how, one morning in late summer 1966 at his jungle base at Ba Kelalan in Sarawak, “out of the mist at very low level came a [Indonesian] Hercules transport aircraft with a parachutist standing in the doorway”. It took a few moments for his Gurkhas to recognise it as hostile, then shouting “dushman, dushman!” (enemy) opened fire. “The pilot quickly realised he was somewhere he was not supposed to be and turned steeply back and was shot at again before escaping across the border apparently unharmed|”. That evening some of Chapple’s men saw the aircraft as it approached for a second time, “only to be hit on this occasion by the Indonesians’ own 37mm Russian-made anti-aircraft guns at Long Medan. Two of its engines were set on fire. About 20 parachutes were seen to open at quite low level as it lost height but they seemed to get down all right while the aircraft crash landed on the Long Medan football field beyond the border, where it remained as a wreck for long after”.
Some 25 years later, when Chapple was CGS, he recounted the story to an Indonesian general, who then revealed its true import. That week the Indonesian opposition in Jakarta had planned to stage a coup against President Sukarno, not least because they knew the elite paratroop garrison unit was being deployed form the capital to the Sarawak border. The first phase involved flying a company to Long Medan, to be followed by the rest of the battalion. This first phase was the aircraft engaged by Chapple’s Gurkhas, which then flew back to Jakarta, whence it was sent off again in the evening “to do better”. Because the Indonesians had then shot down one of their own aircraft, the rest of the deployment was aborted. Most of the paratroop unit was therefore still in central Jakarta when the coup started, and were able to put down the opposition. Chapple’s company had unintentionally thwarted the coup. Sukarno was ousted six months later, but not in the manner planned.
Chapple subsequently commanded 1st/2nd Gurkha Rifles in Singapore and Hong Kong, the latter during the final stages of the border troubles excited by Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, before going back to Camberley as a member of the Directing Staff. His promotion to the leading Colonel’s post in the MoD in 1973 coincided with the difficult period of Operation Motorman in Northern Ireland to end the ‘no-go’ areas for the Army and the RUC, as well as the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus and the new Labour government’s resumption of cuts by Denis Healey, the previous Labour Defence Secretary, to forces east of Suez. Yet pressure of work never ruffled Chapple. “All my life I’ve been surrounded by people who thought they could do my job better than I could” he liked to say; “and by and large I’ve let them.”
Command of 48 Gurkha Infantry Brigade in Kong Kong followed, after which he returned to MoD as principal staff officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff, Marshal of the RAF Sir Neil Camero, and then to Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Lewin. On promotion to Major General, Chapple went east again to be Commander British Forces Hong Kong.
His destination at the top by now evident to many, in October 1982 he returned to MoD as Director of Military Operations, responsible not only for the direction of land operations worldwide, including Northern Ireland, but for the Army’s budget planning and management. In this role he unsuccessfully advocated giving prisoner-of-war status to capture IRA men so they could be detained ‘for the duration’, forcing their commanders to give up the struggle, or as he preferred it, the war.
The Defence Secretary was John Nott with whom he had served in Malaya with the 1st/2nd. Perhaps to Chapple’s disappointment, although he never showed it, Nott stood down three months later and in his place Margaret Thatcher appointed Michael Heseltine, who at once began a scheme of MoD centralisation. Chapple was the Army’s representative on the working group, which axed the post of Vice-Chief of the General Staff to which he was meant to be appointed next. Instead, he was made Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff for Programmes and Personnel, one of Heseltine’s new central staff posts. This was followed two years later by an unusually short tour of 15 months as Commander-in-Chief UK Land Forces before in 1988 becoming CGS.
Chapple was expected by many to become the next Chief of the Defence Staff, a post much strengthened by the Heseltine reforms. However, the bruising Options for Change exercise and the presence of a charismatic Chief of Air Staff probably conspired to make it the turn of the light blue again. Chapple was said to have been disappointed “for an afternoon”.
Field Marshal Chapple with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh
The compensation on leaving in 1992 was appointment as Governor and Command-in-Chief, Gibraltar. Chapple displayed a deft political touch and never minded dressing up. Although not very tall and never by any yardstick possessing a martial figure he could, with his Field Marshal’s baton, like the Colonel in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, claim ‘Gold lace has a charm for the fair/And I’ve plenty of that and to spare.” One of Gibraltar’s fast enforcement boats is named after him.
Field Marshal Sir John and Lady Chapple
Chapple believed an officer should have a hinterland (and a Field Marshal never retires). His own was vast. He was a patron, fellow, president, ambassador, trustee and members of a dizzying number of organisations, 99 at one count, including the Zoological Society of London, the Royal Geographical Society, which he had joined at 16, and the WWF. Like his wartime predecessor, Alan Brooke, he was also a keen and knowledgeable ornithologist. His office in the MoD, before it moved to that of the Chief of the General Staff with its walls adorned with photographs of past occupants, was furnished with exquisite paintings of birds. As well as Kipling first editions, from childhood he collected militaria. Over the years he amassed some 9000 cap badges of Empire, specialising in the Indian Army, including the regiments of the princely states and the regiments of Ireland. The Irish collection is now at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. The remaining collection is housed in the National Army Museum.
Chapple was a great admirer and supported of Gurkha soldiers, their history and homeland of Nepal. He helped to establish the Gurkha Welfare Trust and the Gurkha Museum, while his conservation work in Nepal was recognised by the King of Nepal in 2002 with the aware of the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu.
Above all, Chapple was his own man. On his first day in the brigade headquarters in BAOR his Brigadier had come to his desk towards lunchtime in a tracksuit, telling him to put aside the paperwork and come for a run. “Oh no, Brigadier” he replied, “I don’t do that”. To the credit of both, nothing more was said. He was not built for athletics or games, but he could trek for miles.
He also had a mischievous sense of humour. An old friend, John Money-Kyrle, had served on Hong Kong’s frontier with China in 1950 during the Korean War. Several decades later when Chapple was CBF, Money-Kyrle and his wife paid him a visit. The Chapples took them to see an old observation post that Money-Kyrle’s platoon had manned. Out of a trench climbed two aged men in aged uniforms. “Oh at last Mr Money-Kyrle, we’ve been waiting for you for 30 years and wondered when you’re going to release us from sentry duty”.
Although well abreast of matters to the end, Chapple remained defiant about some aspects of modernisation. He carried only cash and a chequebook, proud of leaving no digital footprint. He usually had a glass of Manzanilla before dinner, but had few rituals and no superstitions or regrets.
His one bad habit, he said, was small Philippine leaf cigars. After he gave up cigarettes in Malaya, his Gurkha orderly had put a packet of these by his bedside. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Sahib, you got so bad-tempered when you stopped smoking that I thought these would help you”.
26 Mar 22
FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN CHAPPLE
A message from Lieutenant General Sir Peter Duffell:
I much regret to tell you that our former Colonel and most senior and distinguished 2nd Goorkha, Field Marshal Sir John Lyon Chapple GCB CBE DL MA (Cantab) died peacefully at home yesterday after a short illness. The family has asked me to inform his Regiment. Sir John is survived by his wife Annabel, his four children, Rachel, David, Kate and Sasha and ten grandchildren.
The Field Marshal had an outstanding military career culminating in his appointment as Chief of the General Staff between 1988 and 1992 – a period that embraced the First Gulf War and Options for Change. He also served as Governor of Gibraltar, as a Commissioner of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, President of the Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation and of the Combined Services Polo Association. Sir John was also instrumental in laying the foundations for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and was a Trustee and subsequently a Patron of the Trust and also of the Gurkha Museum. Throughout his career he was a committed regimental officer and a staunch supporter of Gurkha soldiers, their history and heritage and their homeland of Nepal. The Field Marshal served as the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Greater London 1997-2005.
Among a wide range of interests, he was a life-long conservationist and took an active role in many associated organisations including Presidency of the Zoological Society, a Trustee of WWF and Chairman of the UK Trust for Nature Conservation in Nepal.
I am in close touch with Annabel and the Field Marshal’s family and have promised them any assistance they may need from us to help mark his life and service. There will be a family funeral followed by a Memorial Service. Details will be announced in due course.
I know that everyone who knew John will, like me, be very saddened by his death at 90 years. We shall all, both here and in Nepal, miss his leadership and his generous friendship, his gentle humour and his wise counsel.
17th March 2022
5/8GR 81st ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN POKHARA 15th MARCH 2022
The 5/8th Gorkha Rifles (Sirmoori) Ex-Servicemen’s Association Pokhara celebrated their 81st Raising Day and the 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Indo-Pak War on 15th March 2022 in Pokhara to which 25 members from The Sirmoor Club Nepal (SCN), were invited.
The following 2 GR Sirmoori veterans attended with their ladies:
- Capt Karnabahadur Thapa Hon Sec SCN / Chairman Pokhara Branch
- Capt Dudman Gurung Vice Chairman Pokhara Branch
- Capt Hikmatbahadur Gurung Member SCN / Sec Pokhara Branch
- Maj Hitman Gurung (RGR RAN)
- Capt Ganesh Gurung
- Capt Jaibahadur Gurung
- Capt Ajiman Gurung BEM
- Capt Dammarbahadur Gurung
- WO2 Bhimbahadur Gurung
- CSgt Minbahadur Gurung
The 2 GR veterans were presented with 5/8 GR Souvenir memento. The SCN reciprocated with a 2 GR Regimental Plaque.
5/8GR was originally the 4th Battalion of the 2nd Goorkhas, which was raised on 15th March 1941 and transferred to the Indian Army as the 5th Battalion 8th Gurkhas in 1947. 5/8GR still proudly refer to themselves as ‘The Sirmoor Rifles’ and retain some of the dress traditions of the 2nd Goorkhas such as the ‘lali’ and diceboard.
Photos are courtesy of Captain Karnabahadur Thapa and Major Hitman Gurung.
12 March 2022
KUKURI 2021 – CALLING NOTICE FOR ARTICLES
Please see the Calling Notice for articles and order form for the next Kukuri 2021 Journal.
11 March 2022
GOVERNMENT LETTER ON VETERANS GOING TO UKRAINE
Please see the letter below from the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, advising that if serving or retired servicemen or women go to Ukraine to fight, or to assist others engaged in the conflict, this may amount to offences against UK legislation and could lead to prosecution.
8 March 2022
TIGRIS/TAMANDU DAY CEREMONY IN POKHARA
Sirmoor Club Nepal (SCN) observed the TIGRIS/TAMANDU DAY this year in the form of a Memorial Service and virtual Quarterly Meeting at the Gurkha Memorial Museum, Pokhara on Saturday 05 March 2022.
At 1000 hrs all veterans present paraded in front of the Lal Gate Memorial Arch and were briefed by Capt Hikmatbahadur Gurung on the format of the morning programme.
Capt Karnabahadur Thapa, Hon Sec/Chairman of Pokhara Branch welcomed all, in particular Maj Narkaji Gurung, on leave here in Pokhara, he then read out the Tigris Day history. The Tamandu Day history was read out by Maj Dilbahadur Gurung MVO.
After the Last Post bugle call and one minute’s silence and Reveille the Sirmooris paid respect to all those who had lost their lives during both Tigris & Tamandu operations and also to those who had recently lost their lives due to Covid 19. It was an emotional moment for all remembering Late Maj Chandrabahadur Pun MVO who had read the Tamandu Day history last year.
The following veterans were present:
- Maj Yambahadur Gurung BEM
- Maj Dilbahadur Gurung MVO
- Maj Narkaji Gurung
- Capt Ganesh Gurung
- Capt Jaibahadur Gurung
- Capt Indrabahadur Gurung
- Capt Dudman Gurung
- Capt Karnabahadur Thapa
- Capt Hikmatbahadur Gurung
- WO2 Premprasad Gurung
- CSgt Rameshbahadur Thakali
- Cpl Dilbahadur Gurung
- Cpl Hariprasad Gurung
- Maj Haribahadur Gurung MVO MBE
- Capt Bharat Singh Thapa Chhetri
- WO1 Passang Wangyel Lama
- CSgt Muktibahadur Gharti
- CSgt Mahendra Chhetri – Darjeeling
- Sgt Birendra Limbu – Dharan
- Rfn Bhuwan Thapa – Tanahun
6 Mar 22
GURKHAS, FALKLANDS AND LEADERSHIP
(2022, Critical, Cultural and Communications Press, London, an imprint of Jetstone Publishers Ltd., ISBN 978-1-905510-72-6).
The final book of a combat veteran’s trilogy to be published on 2 April 2022, the start of the 1982 Falklands-Malvinas War’s fortieth anniversary by Major (Retd) Mike Seear, former Operations and Training Officer/Public Information Officer, 1st Battalion, 7th DOE Gurkha Rifles during the 1982 Falklands-Malvinas War.
For further details click on the flier on Gurkhas, Falkands and Leadership.
3 Feb 22
RGRRA REUNION AT TWICKENHAM, (ARMY V NAVY RUGBY) – 30 APR 22
Please read the RGRRA Notice on the RGRRA Reunion at Twickenham on 30 April 2022 shown below:
Application Form and Future of the Army v Navy Rugby Match
- RGRRA Reunion 2022 Application Form
- Twickenham 2020 – Tiered Ticket Pricing & the Future of the Army v Navy Rugby Match
GBA EVENTS 2022
For details of the GBA Events in 2022 please click on GBA 2022 Events – WNGO.
RBL FALKLAND 40th ANNIVERSARY CEREMONY AT THE NMA ON 14 JUNE 2022
Please see the RBL Notice on the FI 40th Anniversary Ceremony at the NMA on 14 Jun 2022.
The Brigade Secretary has now received to link to register GBA members who wish to attend the FI 40 Anniversary Ceremony. The process to apply is as follows:
- Applicant to send their First Name, Surname and Email Address to the Bde Sec who send a booking request to the RBL.
- Applicant will receive an email from RBL asking them to complete the application form. Please complete the form and return to RBL.
- Tickets will be sent by email.
- If there is anyone is not IT savvy, please contact the Bde Sec who will book the tickets on their behalf. Bde Sec contact details as follows:
Major Mani K Rai MBE, DL Skype +443001650582; Email: email@example.com
For further information please visit the RBL website at Falklands 40
FORT AT JYTOCK AUCTION 28 Jan 22 – RESULT
The print presented to Brig Pat Kent went at auction on 28 Jan 22 and was sold for £180 (Estimate £40 – £60). There was keen bidding on the internet and it was eventually bought by someone in the room.
19 Jan 22
WESSEX AUCTION – ‘THE RIDGE AND FORT AT JYTOCK’
On 28 January 2022 at Wessex Auction Rooms, Chippenham (see the link at easyliveAuction.com).
See Lot 366. It is a well framed print of ‘The Ridge and Fort at Jytock’ presented to Brig Pat Kent at Delhi Day 1976 when he handed over Colonel of the Regiment to Gen ‘Dwin’ Bramall from 2/2GR GOs and Sgts. Estimate £40 – £60.
4 Dec 21
OBITUARY – COLONEL TOM SECCOMBE
The following obituary of Colonel Tom Seccombe OBE RM appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 3rd December 2022. He and his platoon served with 2GR on a cross-border operation in Borneo under the command of Major Len Lauderdale which is mentioned in the 2GR Regimental History Volume 4 pages 259/260. Seccombe recovered one of the 2GR wounded to the LZ but he sadly died later in Kuching hospital.
COLONEL TOM SECCOMBE, who has died aged 87, participated in several campaigns including the Falklands War, a conflict in which he displayed both bravery and tact, demonstrating the versatility of the Royal Marines.
In 1981-82 Seccombe was a member of the staff at the Royal College of Defence Studies and, with no vacancies available at his rank in the Corps of the Royal Marines, was due to go to a dull-sounding job in Brussels when the Falklands War erupted.
Then Brigadier Julian Thompson, Commander of 3 Commando Brigade, asked for Seccombe as the Military Force Commander in SS Canberra, the ocean liner, flagship of the P&O line, which had just been co-opted for military use to carry into war 40 Commando, 42 Commando and 3 Para.
Thompson wanted Seccombe there to balance the egos of their commanders, with the dynamic Captain Chris “Beagle” Burn in command of the embarked Naval Party.
The affable and perceptive Seccombe ensured that relations between the independently-minded troop commanders and the ship’s master, Captain Dennis Scott-Masson, who was understandably anxious about taking the Canberra into battle, were harmonious. Seccombe’s humour and abundant common sense proved priceless assets in gaining the respect and confidence of all concerned.
At the landings in San Carlos Water at the end of May 1982, Seccombe became the deputy commander of the Commando brigade, landing armed with a walking stick which he had borrowed from Canberra’s first officer.
In the closing hours of the war the brigade headquarters was attacked by Argentine bombers; while others hurled themselves behind the nearest rock, Seccombe stood his ground.
He encouraged the defending Blowpipe hand-held surface-to-air missile operators and machine-gunners by shaking his stick at the enemy in the midst of earth-shaking explosions, while rocks and metal splinters ricocheted around him.
Thomas Seccombe was born in Kensington, west London, on June 5 1934 and educated at Felsted School in Essex. Three generations of Seccombes went to Balliol College, Oxford, but young Thomas found his National Service in the Royal Marines so congenial that he chose to stay in the Corps.
He was commissioned in 1952, when he also qualified as a landing craft officer and as a swimmer-canoeist, and served in the Royal Navy Rhine Squadron as second-in-command of 2 Special Boat Section.
Next, Seccombe qualified as an assault engineer before joining 40 Commando which, though based on Malta, undertook two operational tours in Cyprus during the EOKA Emergency. Seccombe also enjoyed training deployments to Libya, where his assault engineers revelled in the deadly mish-mash of unmarked Second World War minefields.
During a “brew-up” on one such exercise, which included the future major-generals John Grey and Julian Thompson, Seccombe started to dismantle an Italian anti-tank mine until someone asked him kindly: “would you mind doing that somewhere else?”
In 1958 Seccombe began his happy association with Deal, beginning as a housemaster at the Royal Marines School of Music, responsible for the welfare of boy musicians. There he played prop forward and his smartly dressed attendances at the local cinema led to the usherettes calling him “Lord Rank”.
Next, he spent a year as the assault engineer of 41 Commando before being appointed as the Officer Commanding Royal Marines in the commando carrier Bulwark, and then, after the adjutant’s course, as adjutant of the RM barracks at Eastney.
Always a fine figure, immaculate both in uniform and in civvies, Seccombe ran the barracks with style and efficiency, furnishing his rooms with silverware won by a 19th-century naval ancestor, and making time to indulge his interests in literature, fly-fishing, the arts, snooker, boxing (in smoke-filled and somewhat insalubrious East End venues), and following Portsmouth FC from the director’s box at Fratton Park.
In 1964 Seccombe was responsible for 41 Commando’s drill at the Corps’ Tercentenary review by the Lord Mayor of London on the Honourable Artillery Company’s grounds; the exercise by the Royal Marines of their traditional freedom by marching through the City of London; and a Royal Review in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
Seccombe was then appointed to No 2 Special Boat Section in Singapore, but realising his lack of recent qualification to command such a very specialised unit in the operational environment of Konfrontasi, he sought re-appointment in 42 Commando.
After attending the Jungle Warfare School and attachment to the Gurkhas, he took command of M Company on a tour in Borneo, where in cross-border operations known as Operation Claret he wrested the initiative from a crack Indonesian regiment. Over six months, Seccombe led seven “Clarets”, promising his men that he would not return without them, “be they alive or dead”, and on one occasion carrying a wounded Gurkha back.
Next, Seccombe became adjutant of 42 Commando, which deployed to Aden to cover the withdrawal from the colony in 1967. He recalled that as a helicopter sent to fetch the Sultan of Socotra landed on deck, the Sultan’s bodyguards, wearing Argyle socks without sandals and carrying ancient blunderbusses, performed “an erratic and curious jig” as they stepped on to the broiling deck.
In 1977 Seccombe was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and to command of 41 Commando, Royal Marines, then reforming at Deal. The Commando deployed to Belfast to assist security in the strongly Republican areas of the Falls Road and the Ballymurphy and Turf Lodge estates.
Then 41 Commando carried out London Duties (guarding the royal palaces in the capital), the first time that the Corps had been so honoured since 1936, and this busy tenure of office was rounded off with a six-month tour in the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. Seccombe was appointed OBE.
As a Retired Officer Seccombe became Director of Naval Security. There were major setbacks when a group of CND supporters breached the defences of the submarine base in Faslane, and when the IRA murdered 11 members of the band service at Deal. Nonetheless he successfully shifted the emphasis on security from the Soviet threat to the physical threat from terrorists.
In 2001 Seccombe and his wife Jacqui emigrated to South Africa to be near their sons, who were working there. It was not an easy decision for this quintessential Englishman, but they bought a house nestling under Table Mountain and close to Newlands cricket and rugby stadiums and Kenilworth racecourse.
Unsurprisingly, as a devotee of Evelyn Waugh, PG Woodhouse and James Thurber, Seccombe had a great sense of fun and of the ridiculous.
Tom Seccombe is survived by his wife Jacqui, née Wooll, and by their two sons.
Thomas Seccombe, born June 5 1934, died November 10 2021
14 Dec 21
PERSONALISED ‘SIRMOOR’ VEHICLE REGISTERED NUMBER PLATE ‘KE0 2GRG’ – NEW YEAR’S AUCTION
Are you after a bespoke self-indulgent New Year’s present suitable for any Sirmoori?
Andrew Johnston recently purchased a personalised ‘Sirmoor’ Vehicle Registration Number ‘KE0 2GRG’ for £250.00 and has offered this for auction to any discerning Sirmoori. If you are interested, please send your ‘sealed’ bid to the Hon Sec by close of play Monday 2 January 2022. Please submit your bids as follows:
- By post to Major N D Wylie Carrick, St Michaels, Shepton Beauchamp, Ilminster, Somerset TA190LP or by e-mail to honsec@2ndGoorkhas.com. (E-mails will be treated in the strictest confidence).
- 2 Jan 22. Closing date.
- 3 Jan 22. All bids will be ‘opened’ on Tuesday 3 January 2022. The successful bidder will be notified by midday and notification published on the website.
- Additional Costs. Arrangements for collection by the successful bidder to be made with the Hon Sec. Additional costs to cover any P&P will apply.
GURKHA PENSION SCHEME: CONSULTATION ON IMPLEMENTING THE 7TH CENTRAL PAY COMMISSION
The consultation outcome of the Gurkha Pension Scheme Consultation Implementing the Indian 7th Central Pay Commission Response has been posted on the Government website the 7 CPC Consultation Response (click to view).
The following questions and answers have been provided by the Gurkha Brigade Association:
19 Nov 21
PETITIONS DEBATE ON GURKHA PENSIONS – 22 NOV 21
HQBG have been advised at short notice that there will be a Parliamentary Debate in the House on Mon 22 Nov on Gurkha Pensions at around 1800 hrs. Min DPV will lead for the Govt.
HQBG has supported the briefing packs to the Min DPV, and is consulting further with Col Comdt and Dep Col Comdt, as regards further guidance to the Govt.
We intend to provide further advice to RAs as soon as possible, along with details of on line access to the debate.
The debate can be watched live on https://www.parliamentlive.tv/
Note: The Parliamentary Debate was precipitated by the signing of a Petition generated by one of the Gurkha Veteran’s Grievance (GVG) groups. The petition was signed by 106K people and the Parliamentary Rules state that if a petition is signed by more than 100K people, it MUST be debated in Parliament.
12 Oct 21
DEATH OF MAJOR KAJIMAN GURUNG 2/2GR
The following message has been received from the Chairman of the Sirmoor Sathies, Captain Raju Gurung:
I am deeply saddened to inform you all that Major Kajiman Gurung (Aged 77) ex 2/2 GR passed away peacefully at St. Helier Hospital Mordan in the early morning of 9 Oct 2021 in UK. The 2GR Sirmoor Sathis-UK members would like to express our deepest condolences to his bereaved wife and children and his 5 brothers. All of them are Ex 2GR members. They are:
- Capt Ajiman Gurung – Ex 1/2GR
- Cpl Krishnaman Gurung – Ex 1/2GR
- WO2 Lachhuman Gurung – Ex 2/2GR
- WO2 Indraman Gurung – Ex 1/2GR
- LCpl Hiraman Gurung – Ex 2/2GR
Major Kajiman Gurung
The Chairman of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, Colonel WF Shuttlewood OBE, has also expressed condolences to Major Kajiman’s family on behalf of all members.
8 Oct 21
DEATH OF KIT MAUNSELL MC – 6 OCTOBER 2021
Members will be saddened to learn of the death of Kit Maunsell MC on 6 October 2021. A copy of the notice in the Daily Telegraph is copied below:
MAUNSELL.—Kit, MC, died peacefully at home on his 82nd birthday, 6th October 2021. Much loved husband of Caroline, proud and loving father of Venetia, Chloe and Skye and his six grandchildren. Service of Thanksgiving on 18th October at 2 p.m. at St Michael’s Church, Blewbury, OX11 9QH. Family flowers only, donations if desired to The Gurkha Welfare Trust, Cancer Research and The Oxford Heart Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
For further details of Kit’s action in Borneo where he and Lt(QGO) Ranjit Rai were awarded their MCs and Rambahadur Limbu earned his VC, please click on the link for Battle for Bau/Gunong Tepoi.
“GURKHAS IN THE CITY’ – EVENING RECEPTION AT THE LONDON SCOTTISH DRILL HALL – THURSDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2021
Your attention is drawn to the “Gurkhas in the City” event in London on Thursday 4th November. Piers Lawson from Gurkha Welfare Trust is I encouraging as many former officers, both Nepali and British, of all former and existing units to attend this event. The more that attend, the greater the enjoyment and the greater the promotion of the work of the Trust and the current activities of the serving Brigade. For further details and to register for the event please click on the link to “Gurkhas in the City”
GBA DINNER – 11 NOVEMBER 21
1. General. The GBA dinner will take place on the 11th Nov 21 in the Pall Mall Room at the Army and Navy Club commencing at 1930 hrs. Dinner will be preceded by a joint HQBG, GWT and Gurkha Museum briefing in the Drawing Room commencing at 1815 hrs.
2. Dress. Dinner jacket with miniatures.
1800 hrs GBA Guests arrive.
Drinks in the “Smoking Room
1815 hrs – HQBG, GWT and Gurkha Museum presentations commence.
1925 hrs – Dinner “Wng O” and Piper in position at “Smoking Room”.
1930 hrs – Dinner Call and Piper leads guests to the Pall Mall room.
1940 hrs – Grace followed by dinner.
2100 hrs – Chairman GBA proposes toasts. Guest are to remain standing until the final toast has been completed.
2105 hrs – Pipers will play a medley of tunes (approx. 3 mins) at the end of which he will take a quaich of whiskey with the President GBA
2130 hrs – Chairman GBA’s speech
2300 hrs – Disperse.
3. Menu. To follow – a vegetarian option will be available.
4. Cost. The cost of dinner, including wine (1/2 bottle per person) and port is £65/per person. Individuals may purchase additional drinks should they wish to do so. Dinner payment should be made by cheque (payable to GBA Trust) or by BACS to:
Bank: Holt’s Farnborough
Sort Code: 16-19-26
Accn No: 10048753
5. Guests. A number of guests have been invited, including the two QGOOs.
6. Hosts. The Bde Sec will nominate hosts once guests confirm their attendance.
7. Late Charges. The Army and Navy Club room hire charges for the GBA dinner is up to 2300 hrs. Individuals wishing to remain longer are asked to move to the bar or provide the Banquet Manager with their name so that they can be billed individually.
If you plan to attend this event, can you email Maj Mani Rai MBE the GBA Sec once you have made your payment, his email address is: Mani.Rai121@mod.gov.uk
5 Oct 21
REMEMBRANCE SERVICE – NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM – 13 NOV 21
Please click on the link for the Instruction for the Remembrance Service at the Gurkha Chautara at the NMA in Staffordshire on 13 Nov 21. Members who live in the Midlands are encouraged to attend. If you are planning to attend please inform the Brigade Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org CC’d to Don Macaulay (email@example.com).
DEATH OF GBA HON CHAPLAIN REV PETER CLEMETT – 9 SEPTEMBER 2021.
Many will remember The Rev Peter Clemett (GBA Hon Chaplain) who died on 9 September 2021. The notice published in the Daily Telegraph is copied below:
Clemett. The Reverend Peter Thomas died peacefully at home on 9th September 2021, aged 87. Funeral at St Margaret’s Church, Wellow, (Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 6DR,) on Thursday 14th October at 2 p.m. Enquiries: A.H. Cheater Funeral Directors. Tel: 01794 513 393.
Should you wish to attend please contact the Brigade Secretary.
Angus Forbes RGR has agreed to coordinate a list of keen cricket players amongst the RGRRA and 2GR, 6GR, 7GR & 10 GR RAs with a view to them:
1. Being placed on standby to play for (plug gaps in) the serving Gurkha Bde XI from 2022 season onwards – if match dates and location suit and there are vacancies. This team is already active and drawing upon players from across the serving Bde of Gurkhas.
2. And/or helping to form a team to take on the RGR UK Bn.
If you are interested, please contact Angus Forbes direct by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mobile 00 44 7447 474497
THE ARANIKO HIGHWAY CONUNDRUM – by Sam Cowan on his article for The Record
On May 29, 2019, there was an opening ceremony to declare open a new Friendship Bridge constructed by China. Three hundred metres south of it, on the road to Kathmandu, lies the bridge over the Liping khola. In the article is an image of it taken on June 18, 2021 but we know from an earlier reference that it was in this state on June 6, 2021. Since at least that date there has been no cross border vehicular traffic. Given its location and the nature of the damage, there is no easy way of repairing or bypassing it. A recent report spoke about it being out of action for the rest of the year. Such a report is hard to assess since there has been very little comment or reporting on this serious and significant event in the media.
My new article in The Record covers the history of this crossing and tries to give a tentative answer to the question posed in the sub heading of the title. I have been able to use some excellent photos from my friend Dr Galen Murton and I have also found and shared some interesting video clips, mainly from Chinese sources. I rate most of them as essential viewing. The small bazaar which stands between the two bridges was heavily damaged by two unrelated but highly destructive events in 2015 and 2016. I cover those in detail. In addition to the geographical and geological challenges posed by the setting of this crossing, and the changing weather patterns which, as we have all seen, are most extreme in high mountainous areas, lies the conundrum referred to in the title. At the heart of that are two strong and seemingly irreconcilable views that Nepal and China have on the future of this crossing. I give a lot of evidence to support that statement.
All of the above and more are covered in the article. The photos are excellent, the video clips revealing and the detail in the text should be of great interest to many. To read more click on the link at The Araniko Highway Conundrum
2 Oct 21
HONORARY LIEUTENANT (GCO) CHANDRABAHADUR PUN MVO
Honorary Lieutenant (GCO) Chandrabahadur Pun MVO, Gurkha Major of the 2nd Battalion from 1985-1988, died of Covid-19 at Mediciti Hospital earlier this morning where he had been admitted on 20th September. WO2 Lachhuman Gurung will represent the Sirmoor Rifles Association at the cremation at Pashupati. The Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal, Captain Bharat Singh Thapa Chhetri, has extended the condolences of all 2nd Goorkhas to his family.
Honorary Lieutenant (GCO) Chandrabahadur Pun MVO
1 Oct 21
LETTER FROM PRESIDENT SRA TO CHAIRMAN SIRMOOR SATHIES
Please see below a letter sent by the President of the Sirmoor Rifles Association to the Chairman of the Sirmoor Sathies:
27 Sep 21
UNVEILING OF ALDERSHOT STATUE TO HAVILDAR KULBIR THAPA MAGAR VC
Please see below the letter from the Chairman of the Sirmoor Sathies about the unveiling of this statue on Saturday 25th September and photographs of the event:
14 Sep 21
SIRMOOR CLUB NEPAL: DELHI DAY CEREMONY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2021
(Report by Captain Hikmat Gurung, Event Coordinator)
Given that the COVID-19 virus was as active as ever and that there should be no crowding, SCN held a small gathering on 14th September 2021 in front of the Lal Gate at the Gurkha Memorial Museum (GMM) at Pokhara to commemorate Delhi Day. There were only 17 of us (their names are listed below).
At 1000 hours on a beautiful dry and hot day, the event began by the past Gurkha Major 2/2GR (1982-85) Major Dilbahadur Gurung MVO reading the 1857 Delhi Day battle in Roman Gurkhali. When it was over, the Last Post bugle call was played on the laptop while everyone saluted. This was followed by a one-minute silence to remember members of the regiment who fought and died 164 years ago. The Reveille bugle call followed while the regimental flag was raised.
Major Dilbahadur Gurung then marched towards the Lal Gate and stood to attention in front of the exact replica of the Queen’s Truncheon that was made in Kathmandu and presented to the GMM by the 2GR Trust over 20 years ago. He presented a specially made Regimental Khada on the Truncheon while Capt Hikmat Gurung the event Coordinator laid a flower garland. Major Yambahadur Gurung BEM, SCN Advisor respected the Truncheon next and laid a wreath at the museum Gurkha statue next to it. Thereafter remaining veterans approached and paid their respect to the Queen’s Truncheon.
After a group photo, everyone gathered in the museum car park area for tea/coffee and snacks. As always, meeting old comrades and exchanging past memories was lively but also sad when it was found that well known veterans were no more. As our generations reduce in number gradually, we never know next year if we will see each other again. Whatever the future holds, it was a good gathering updating each other with news of comrades. We pray and hope the following year the virus will not be around to stop more members from attending.
Those who attended were :
Maj Yambahadur Gurung BEM
Maj Dilbahadur Gurung MVO
Capt Ganesh Gurung
Capt Indrabahadur Gurung
Capt Kumbahadur Gurung
Capt Dammarbahadur Gurung
Capt Hikmatbahadur Gurung
Hon Lt (QGO) Uddimbahadur Gurung
WO2 Kabiraj Gurung
WO2 Premprasad Gurung
WO2 Dhalbahadur Thapa
CSgt Jagatbahadur Pun
CSgt Lilprasad Gurung
CSgt Lokman Gurung
Cpl Dilbahadur Gurung
Cpl Budhi Gurung and
LCpl Asman Pun.
Photos of the event:
Maj Dilbahadur Gurung MVO Reading the Delhi Day History
Capt Hikmatbahadur Gurung paying his respects to the Nishani Mai
Jai Sirmoor Rifles!
8 Aug 21
NEPAL COVID SITREP – 4 Aug 21
The following HQBG SITREP has been received from the Brigade Secretary:
Please note the following comments:
- The number of active Covid cases (up by 3,220) continues to rise, as does the deaths (Up by 164) since last week. The recovery rate has dropped to 94% (previously 94.4%) and fewer people (down by 800) are being tested.
- FCDO have published a list of 19 countries<https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-begins-donating-millions-of-covid-19-vaccines-overseas> who are to receive Covid vaccines through bilateral agreements between UK and the recipient countries. Nepal is NOT on the list of countries to receive Covid vaccines. A Ministerial Submission has been drafted asking that Nepal be put on the next tranche of recipients of Covid vaccines.
- President GBA has written once again to the Prime Minister (see attached), asking for Nepal to be included in the next tranche of bilateral agreements for the supply of vaccines. He also wrote to the Times and Telegraph along similar lines. Only the Telegraph (3 Aug 21) published his letter, albeit an edited version.
- Countries that pledged to supply Covid 19 vaccines to Nepal have started to deliver vaccines to Nepal and more are in the pipeline. Nepal continues to spend a considerable amount in procuring Covid related equipment and consumable, despite donations continue to arrive on a daily basis.
- Nepal has reported new Kappa mutant of COVID-19 Delta variant. It is said that it is more fatal than the mutants detected before and are likely to infect people of all age groups. The Nepali Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) has urged all people to take extra precautions and follow health safety standards to avoid possible infection of this virus.
1 Aug 21
BILATERAL VACCINE SUPPORT TO NEPAL
From: Lt Gen Sir David Bill (President GBA)
Subject: Bilateral Vaccine Support to Nepal
Date: 30 July 2021 at 12:07:04 BST
Many of your will be aware that I wrote a letter (Hon Sec Comment: Scroll down to the notice dated 16 Jun 21) to the Prime Minister more than 4 weeks ago on 15th June on behalf of the Gurkha Brigade Association asking that Nepal – given the particular UK debt of honour to Nepal and our duty of care to our Gurkha veterans – be given special consideration for the the bilateral supply of Covid vaccine support. You may also know that Lord Mark Lancaster of Kimbolton and our Colonel Commandant, Lt Gen Richard Warlaw, have been helping the Government with expert advice as to how best to address this requirement. We have thus far been waiting patiently for a response to our letter without even an acknowledgement.
You, like us, will no doubt have been surprised if not dumbfounded to see the recent FCDO press release of 28th July stating that bilateral Covid vaccine donations are to be made to Indonesia, Kenya, Jamaica and others but no mention of any vaccine support to Nepal. We have waited in vain for any explanation of the rationale behind what seems to be a clear and callous oversight in denying our friends in Nepal the support that Prime Minister Oli alongside many others requested several weeks ago.
We have loyally waited for the Government to react to the many requests being made to support Nepal. Our patience has run out and it is now time for us to use every lever to apply pressure on this discourteous Government to do the right thing by our friends in Nepal. We have today launched a petition, which having received the minimum required signatures is now being checked by the petitions system before being authorised for release. We shall send you details once available.
But in the meantime may I ask you to pass on this message as widely as you can such that we use every effort to spread the word that Nepal needs vaccines now and that we must put increasing pressure on this Government to act.
Salaams as ever,
Lieutenant General Sir David Bill KCB
President, Gurkha Brigade Association
After note: Gen David has resubmitted his letter ‘The case for bilateral vaccine support to Nepal’ to; the Times; Sunday Times; Telegraph; and Sunday Telegraph for publication hopefully in the near future. Members are encouraged to write to their MP supporting Covid Support to Nepal.
NEPAL COVID SITREP – 28 July 2021
The following HQBG SITREP has been received from the Brigade Secretary:
TV NEWS ITEM – 27 JULY 2021
You may have seen Debi Edward’s (ITV Asia Correspondent) report on the Governments position on Covid Support to Gurkhas in Nepal.
The GWT went to great lengths to provide accurate details about its work in Nepal in the hope that it would influence the reporter’s predetermined negative attitude towards the UK Govt’s lack of provision of Covid vaccine for Gurkha veterans and Nepal. Whilst not attempting to curb members right to voice their opinion, the HQBG Lines to Take (LTT) are as follows:
1. Death Rates: The Covid death rates observed in our Gurkha veteran community are tragic, both in UK and Nepal. The statistics are in part a reflection of the demographic of the group. The death rate amongst Gurkha veterans is no higher than those of the same age brackets.
2. Duty of Care:
- The GWT are providing the best care they can, given the travel restrictions and their duty of care to their staff.
- There were no special arrangements for Covid vaccination for members of the British Army or veterans in UK; all were treated in exactly the same way as the British public i.e. the vaccination programme was based on age and vulnerability, less those small number who were working clinically, in direct support of the NHS, for whom special arrangements were made.
3. Provision of Covid vaccines to Nepal:
- Companies producing Covid vaccines in UK and worldwide are “controlled” by their respective Govts. Only Govts are allowed to authorise the release for sale/donation of Covid vaccines by the manufacturing companies. The rationale behind this is to stop the cost of the vaccines spiralling upwards and to ensure that they are sent to where they are needed most, rather than to those who can afford to pay the asking price.
- The FCDO have stated that the UK Govt allocated £548M towards the provision of Covid vaccines to COVAX. Nepal has received 1.8M vaccines (not all from UK) via COVAX, more are in the pipeline.
- At the recent G7 conference it was agreed that bilateral agreements to supply Covid vaccines were permissible. The practical detail of this policy is being worked through at the highest levels of government. Based on this policy decision, President GBA, in his letter to the PM of 15 June 21 recommended that a “bilateral agreement” be set up between UK and Nepal to supply vaccines. This has also been asked of the government in the House of Lords by Dep Col Comdt BG.
THE NOT FORGOTTEN – CONCERT 21 Aug 21
The Not Forgotten was unable to celebrate their Centenary in 2020 because of the restrictions and wishes to celebrate our Centenary in style by holding a spectacular fundraising event at Danny House, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex during the evening of Saturday 21st August.
Tickets are available through the Eventbrite link on the attached poster. Any veteran purchasing tickets can receive a £5 discount per ticket by using the code VETERAN.
For details please see the attached poster NF Centenary Proms on 21 Aug 21.
CENOTAPH PARADE – 14 NOV 21 – REPLY BY 13 AUG
RBL have once again changed the method of applying for tickets! HQBG no longer has the option of bulk loading attendees for tickets. HQBG will continue to coordinate the names of those who wish to attend this years Cenotaph Parade on 14 November 2021 by sending out a link for individuals to self-register.
Please let me know if you are planning to attend by sending me you full name and e-mail address by 13 Aug 21. You will be sent a link by e-mail to self register.
10 Jul 21
MAJOR GENERAL STRICKLAND APPOINTED TO COMMAND 6(UK)DIVISION
Major General Gez Strickland DSO MBE, late 6GR and now Colonel RGR, has been appointed to command 6(UK)Division in September 2021. The Division prepares and generates the Army’s Information Manoeuvre and Unconventional Warfare forces for both constant competition and warfighting, as well as conducting operations below the threshold of armed conflict in the virtual and physical dimensions. It provides British Army capabilities in intelligence, counter-intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and unconventional warfare. It has a structure of four specialist brigades.
The Chairman of the Gurkha Brigade Association has sent him the following message:
‘On behalf of our President Lt Gen Sir David Bill and all our Members of the GBA, please accept our most hearty congratulations on your appointment as GOC 6th (UK) Division in September. Your Regiment, our Brigade of Gurkhas, and all those who have served under your command and enjoyed your good friendship, will be delighted for you, and of course Cathy too who has been by your side all the way through your distinguished career. Salaams, ra jai hos Hazur !’
5 Jul 21
LADY BETTY KADOORIE
Sirmooris will be sad to hear of the death of Lady Betty Kadoorie, wife of Sir Michael Kadoorie, a generous benefactor to the people of Nepal and the Brigade of Gurkhas. Lady Kadoorie strongly supported his efforts and, like him, had visited Nepal on many occasions to help identify opportunities to help those in need. She died on 20th June 2021 in Houston, Texas, while undergoing heart surgery that was not successful. Senior officers of the serving Brigade and the Gurkha Brigade Association have sent letters of condolence.
Lady Kadoorie with her husband, Sir Michael.
24 Jun 21
CANCELLATION OF SRA DELHI DAY 164TH REUNION ON 11 SEPTEMBER 2021
At the 2GR Sirmoor Sathis-UK’s AGM meeting held on 20 Jun 21, the decision was taken to cancel the 164th Delhi Day celebrations, planned for Saturday, 11 September 2021. The next Delhi Day Re-union will be held on 10/17 September 2022 (date tbc).
NEPAL COVID SITREP – 24 June 21
The following HQBG SITREP has been received from the Brigade Secretary:
21 Jun 21
NAMING OF GWR TRAIN AFTER TULBAHADUR PUN VC ON 23 JUNE
Due to Covid those not invited are encouraged not to attend however a live broadcast will appear on the GWR Facebook page which can be found here https://www.facebook.com/gwruk. The broadcast will start at around 1020 with a holding screen until we cut live to Paddington around 1025. A recording of the ceremony will be stored on the facebook page and available to be watched after the event.
EX PIPE MAJOR SGT KRISHNA KUMAR RAI – DO YOU REQUIRE A FORMER RGR PIPE MAJOR TO PLAY AT EVENTS
Ex 2 RGR Pipe Major, Sgt Krishna Kumar Rai is available to provide music at funerals and many others occasions such as Wedding, any reception, dinner or birthday party for members of the GBA. For further details please click on his advertisement.
NEPAL COVID SITREP – 17 June 21
The following HQBG SITREP has been received from the Brigade Secretary:
16 June 2021
PRESIDENT GBA LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER – COVID NEPAL SUPPORT
Please see below Lt Gen Sir David Bill’s letter, as President of the Gurkha Brigade Association, to the Prime Minister. The letter asks the PM to direct that necessary steps are taken to set up a bilateral agreement for the donation of Covid vaccines to Nepal.
A copy of the letter has been sent to:
FM Chapple (via Chair 2GR) Lord Richards Gen Sir Sam Cowan Gen Sir Peter Wall Lt Gen Sir Philip Trousdell Lt Gen Sir Peter Duffell Lt Gen Sir Nick Pope Lt Gen Peter Pearson CEO GWT - Mr Al Howard Chairman GM Trust - Mr Martin Brooks Director GM - Dr Daren Bowyer Sec of State - Rt Hon Ben Wallace Foreign Sec - Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP CGS - General Sir Mark Carlton-Smith Col Comdt - Lt Gen Richard Wardlaw Deputy Col Comdt - Lord Lancaster
23 JUNE 2021 – NAMING OF GWR TRAIN – ‘TULBAHADUR PUN VC’
GWR have brought the timings forward by 30 minutes to allow the train to stick to its schedule. If anyone wishes to attend they may do so. Social distancing guidelines should be observed. For details please click on the GBA Admin Instruction.
15 June 2021
GURKHA MUSEUM EVENTS IN JUNE/JULY
Please click on the link for full details of the Gurkha Museum Events.
Following the success of Christopher Bullock’s ‘Op Hell Fire’ all Sirmoories will be interested in listening to the following on-line presentations shown below. These talks are FREE but the Museum asks for a donation to be made for the Museum.
- Op Hell Fire – If you you were not able to listen to Christopher Bullock’s fascinating account of Op Hell Fire in Borneo – you can catch up by clicking of the Op Hell Fire link.
- 29 June 2021 – High Risks at Black Four Zero at 7 pm. Listen to Bruce Jackman’s experiences of Jungle Operations in the Borneo ‘Confrontation’. The live link to his talk on 29 Jun 21 at 7 pm is here.
- 13 July 2021 – ‘Who are the Gurkhas’ at 7 pm. Listen to Major General Craig Lawrence CBE speak on 200 years of bravery and loyal service to the British Crown.
PETITION – UK SHOULD SHARE COVID VACCINE WITH NEPAL
Sirmoories are encouraged to sign the petition “Boris Johnson Prime Minister: UK should share Covid vaccine with Nepal”. This petition is supported by the Britain Nepal Society. The goal is to reach a very modest 500 signatures – surely we can do better than that! We need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here: http://chng.it/qhvgXYxWb4
KHABARHUB INTERVIEW WITH BRITISH AMBASSADOR IN NEPAL
Members concerned about the current situation in Nepal will be interested to read the interview given bt the British Ambassador to Nepal to Kharbahub. This article whilst not focusing on the pandemic does addresses some of the concerns and the wider role that UK is playing in Nepal. Please click on the following link to the Khabarhub interview with British Ambassador in Nepal
28 May 2021
UK MEDICAL TEAM HEAD TO NEPAL
Please follow the link to read a brief article and video about the deployment of UK Medical Team to Nepal.
24 May 2021
RGR WATCH PROJECT
Details on how to order the watch can be found on the enclosed document.
The cost of this bespoke watch is £475.00 with a black rubber strap or £600.00 with a gunmetal grey strap. Elliot Brown will donate £45 of each sale to the ‘RGR Regimental Trust’.
If you have any questions concerning the watch, please contact Maj ‘Dingo’ ‘O’Connor, Bn 2IC, 2 RGR. His email address is email@example.com
GBA/HQBG COVID SITREP as at 21 MAY 21
The following HQBG SITREP has been received from the Brigade Secretary:
The Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has announced that a UK Medical and Advisory Team is to be deployed to Nepal next week. No further details in response to Nepal’s requests for support have been announced. FCDO have had talks with Nepali Foreign Minister and Nepali Ambassador in the UK to further identify requirements; multiple avenues continue to be explored to inform and assist with the national decision making process.
Pol: Dep Col Comdt tabled an urgent question in the House of Lords on 19 May.
- Pressure brought by several Lords for a special effort for Nepal, notably from Lord Sheikh and the Earl of Sandwich who both sit on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Nepal.
- Lord Ahmad (Minister for South Asia & Commonwealth) had spoken to the Nepali Foreign Minister on 18 May and was in dialogue with the Nepali Ambassador in the UK.
- UN Resident Coordinator Situation Report No. 36 as at 14 May 21 identifies the Needs, Response and Challenges to Nepal’s situation.
(A 10-minutes video of the debate can be seen at http://www.branngo.org.uk/covid-19-in-nepal/ no login required; scroll to the bottom of the page to see the video – Webmaster).
Change Org petition to FSec launched with lots of high profile signatories: Joanna Lumley, Michael Palin, scientists, academics, Everest climbers, Gurkha veterans, including Capt Rambahadur Limbu VC, two former Col Comdts and other friends of Nepal, join the call for urgent medical aid.– Petition – Send Oxygen to Nepal
- Planning for draw-down of non-essential staff and dependents asap. Core staff will remain in place to continue developmental work.
- Facing increased pressure from the Govt of Nepal and interested parties in the UK to provide greater support.
- FCDO and the MOD in joint discussion on the next steps.
- Lord Ahmad announced in the House of Lords the UK military support team expects to be in Nepal to offer help early next week.
- Col Comdt and HQBG are engaging with senior leaders in Army HQ.
- CGS’ office have engaged with DA Kathmandu.
- Ongoing planning in MOD:
- The worsening COVID situation in Nepal has led to concurrent activity by FCDO and Defence – to generate maximum support.
- The planned MOD/FCDO discussion provides an opportunity to reassess the humanitarian situation and further support options.
- Def Support are on standby to facilitate movements as required.
- Army HQ staff are reviewing options to provide wider support to Nepal in line with the FCDO intent.
- Army has a prioritised list to withdraw all non-essential and at-risk service personnel/dependants to UK. Total c150 pax (including those on leave). HQBG has established a team to provide support on arrival.
23 May 2021
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS TO FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN CHAPPLE
The President of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, Brigadier Ian Rigden, has sent the following birthday greetings to Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, former Colonel of the Regiment, on the occasion of his 90th birthday:
20 May 2021
GURKHA MUSEUM LECTURE 8TH JUNE 2021 – ‘OPERATION HELLFIRE’
The Gurkha Museum is doing a zoom presentation by Brigadier Christopher Bullock OBE MC on ‘Operation Hellfire’ during Confrontation on Tuesday 8th June at 1800 hours. It will be followed by a Q&A session hosted by Museum Director Dr Daren Bowyer. The trailer for the talk is up on the museum web site now. Visit the website at https://thegurkhamuseum.co.uk for further details and to register for the event.
18 May 2021
CHAIRMAN’S LETTER BRITAIN NEPAL SOCIETY
– WRITE TO YOUR MP ABOUT THE COVID CRISIS IN NEPAL!
Andy Sparkes, the Chairman of the Britain-Nepal Society, has sent the letter below to BNS members but Sirmooris may also wish to consider acting on its contents. Click here to download the draft letter he refers to that you can personalise and send to your MP. If you don’t know who your MP is or their address, click here where you can look him/her up.
Dear Members and Friends of Nepal,
As you will know, Nepal has been hit grievously by a second wave of COVID-19. It has spread out from Kathmandu- where already all hospital beds are full and oxygen is desperately short, to the villages where there is very little capacity to help victims at all. The country risks being overwhelmed. The Prime Minister, KP Oli, has appealed directly for British help- see this Guardian article: Nepal is being overwhelmed by Covid. We need help | KP Sharma Oli | The Guardian. Nepal’s Ambassador to the UK Lokdarshan Regmi has provided a detailed list of requirements and appealed to the UK for 2 million doses of vaccine.
Already the various other organisations representing friends of Nepal, Nepali expatriates, the British and Nepali Gurkha family are gearing up with petitions and calls for HMG to respond to this need. For our part, Nick Hinton as Chairman or BRANNGO and I have attended several online briefing meetings on the crisis and we have written to the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nepal, Virendra Sharma MP, who also monitors Uk aid spend in the Parliamentary International Development Committee, to ask him to mobilise Nepal’s friends in Parliament and remind HMG that our relationship with Nepal is special. Many developing countries are suffering with COVID. But only Nepal for 200 years has been supplying, and continues to supply, crack soldiers for our army. When Nepal, is in need, we should come to the rescue.
The text of the letter Nick and I have sent is available through the Hon Secretary. If you would like to make a difference, please write to your own MPs, drawing on this material and the KP Oli letter. Please do not just attach our letter to a one line covering letter to your MP. I know from experience in Whitehall that whilst that is better than nothing, it will not be as effective as a personal letter from you to the MP, with any points you personally wish to make. The MP will then forward the letter to the decision maker, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab the Foreign and Development Secretary, and Mr Raab’s department the FCDO will draft a reply to the MP for signature by Mr Raab or one of his Ministers. A personalised letter will make much more of an impact and is more likely to get a bespoke rather than a standard reply.
In addition, please do add your names to the various petitions now underway.
With your help we were able in a modest way to help with food aid and equipment for Nepal in its (relatively limited) first wave, through our COVID Relief Appeal which disbursed £30,000. That was a great effort for a Society of our size and we will consider what more we can do. But given the scale of this second wave what we can do financially is just a drop in the ocean. Where we can make most difference is in lobbying HMG. Please lend your voice to the cause.
18 May 2021
BRIGADE OF GURKHAS UPDATE ON RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NEPAL
The following update has been received from the Brigade Secretary. It has been approved by DA Kathmandu, Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, President Gurkha Brigade Association and Director Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Update on the COVID-19 situation in Nepal
- Nepal is experiencing a devastating second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic.
- It is having a devastating effect on the Nepali people, including Gurkha veterans, their families and the families of service personnel.
- The Government of Nepal (GoN), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Nepal, The Regimental Associations Nepal (RAN) and other organisations have made approaches to the UK asking for support for Nepal during this critical period.
The UK response
- The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Organisation (FCDO) is the UK lead department.
- In the MOD, Minister Armed Forces has been briefed based on input from British Gurkhas Nepal (BGN) and Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas (HQBG) in preparation for his discussions with FCDO ministers.
- Deputy Colonel Commandant (Brig Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton) has raised the issue verbally in the House of Lords and with those in Government in a position to inform the decision-making process.
- Colonel Commandant (Lieutenant General Richard Wardlaw OBE) has engaged with key leaders in MOD and Army HQ .
- Chief of the General Staff’s (CGS) outer office has been briefed by staff at HQBG and The Land Operations Centre on possible assistance options.
- The Gurkha Brigade Association (GBA) has counselled British and Gurkha senior veterans on progress and on how to most effectively make their important views known.
10 May 2021
SIRMOORI ELECTED AS COUNCILLOR
Sirmooris will be pleased to hear that Nem Bahadur Thapa (21165765 Rifleman, late 2nd Battalion), was elected Councillor for the Conservative & Unionist Party at CherryWood, Farnborough, in the Rushmoor Local Election on 6th May. He beat the Labour Candidate by 898 votes to 806. Our congratulations to him on this splendid achievement!
8 May 2021
GURKHA MUSEUM ARMCHAIR BATTLEFIELD TOUR – 24TH JUNE
The first of the ‘new style’ Armchair Battlefield Tours is on Thursday 24th June when we will be tramping the ground of the American Revolution/War of Independence with Gordon Corrigan as our tour guide. Bookings are all done through the Gurkha Museum website https://thegurkhamuseum.co.uk/whats-on/?events=lecture .
GBA ANNUAL GOLF DAY – 16 SEPTEMBER 2021
The GBA Annual Golf Competition will take place on Thursday 16th of Sep 21 at the Weybrook Park Golf Club, West course. The course has been fantastic all around year and 2 US Open Golf Champions and 1 winning Rider Cup Captain have played the course. Details to follow in due course.
GWT BREMONT WATCH
The GWT has partnered with the Bremont Watch Company to produce a stunning, limited edition GWT Bremont watch. Fifty of these watches will be produced. Ser No 1 will be donated to the Trust. Each watch costs £3,195.00 incl of VAT with 35% of the VAT exclusive price being donated to the Trust (if sold through GWT channels). 25% will be donated if Bremont sell the watch. The deposit on each watch is £1,000.00.
For further details see https://www.gwt.org.uk/news/gurkha-bremont-special-edition-watch/.
6 May 2021
ROYAL GURKHA RIFLES AT FUNERAL OF HRH PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH
Sirmooris may not have been aware that The Royal Gurkha Rifles was represented at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, on the strength of his connection with RGR’s antecedent Regiment the 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles. The Queen’s Truncheon was on parade. Major James Christy, Officer Commanding B (Sari Bair) Company 1RGR provided this account:
‘Saturday the 17th of April 2021 marks a day of sorrowful significance in The Royal Gurkha Rifles Regimental history. This was the ceremonial Royal funeral of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. A ‘special relationship detachment’ of nine Gurkhas from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles paraded with the Queen’s Truncheon alongside those Regiments and Corps to whom His Royal Highness was Colonel in Chief, to assist the nation in paying final respects to His Royal Highness and provide support to our Sovereign. This is the first time the Queen’s Truncheon has been paraded in such pageantry since HM Queen Elizabeth the Second’s coronation in 1953. Not for this reason alone, was the event significant in our Regiment’s history.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in every detail of the funeral arrangements before he passed away. Those units with whom he enjoyed a close relationship through Colonelcy or Patronage were to attend with their colours for the ceremony. 7th Gurkha Rifles was awarded the Royal title of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1959 in recognition of its outstanding operational record in Malaya and two world wars. The Regiment was to be styled “7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles”. It was for this antecedent connection that Royal Gurkha Rifles representatives attended HRH’s funeral; we were the only Regiment present without a direct connection to HRH.
Upon news of HRH’s passing on 9th April 2021, seven Gurkha soldiers and a Truncheon Jemadar from the 1st Battalion were activated, under the command of Major James Christy, and urgently fitted for number one uniforms in the Battalion tailors, in preparation for deployment to the Operation FORTH BRIDGE Joint Concentration Area at Pirbright Barracks. It was serendipitous that the Queen’s Truncheon was on its way back from Brunei when the dreadful news reached the Regiment. Fitting for the Truncheon’s funerary black drape took place immediately upon its receipt (the material sourced after some struggle late on Sunday from Dunelm in Canterbury and fitted at haste by Cpl Kumar Darji, perhaps his final tailoring for the Regiment prior to retirement).
The four days of drill practice at Pirbright, under the watchful eye of the London District Garrison Sergeant Major and Army Ceremonial School hurtled by in a flash. Royal Gurkha Rifles soldiers, unused to heavy drill, benefited from extra tuition from the Drill Sergeants until they were at a standard worthy of the Household Division. The sense of camaraderie amongst the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force was palpable. The British military pulls together in times of adversity. The unique situation was made more complex by the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. The quiet evenings in Pirbright Barracks were punctuated by occasional sing-song from Gurkha soldiers in the block as they whiled away the evenings polishing shoes until they appeared to be made from obsidian, and pressed cloth to a standard that would “send OC Saheb to the medical centre with razor cuts”!
It was during the first dress rehearsal at Windsor Castle on Thursday 15th of April 2021, that the magnitude of the occasion started to sink in. In the Windsor Castle Quadrangle, they would represent their Regiment, mere metres away from the chiefs of the Armed Forces, the Royal Family and HRH’s coffin. The pressure of performing to a high standard was heightened by the knowledge that they would be watched by millions of people live on UK and international television coverage of the event. Thankfully, they passed their inspection by the London District Garrison Sergeant Major with flying colours, and the manoeuvres they would perform in the Quadrangle were etched into their muscle memory.
The morning of Saturday 17th April 2021 saw the Gurkhas awaken as the sun rose over Pirbright barracks. As long lines of soldiers, sailors and airmen & women queued for breakfast, a tense and reflective atmosphere had descended over the camp, as nerves set in across all detachments. When asked how they were feeling, the Gurkhas offered determined smiles and a reassuring “we can do this Saheb”; brave but modest under pressure as always. The logistical effort to move over 700 military personnel to Windsor Castle from Pirbright was conducted by the Royal Logistic Corps without the slightest mistake; military precision at its finest.
Upon arrival at Windsor, the Gurkhas quietly descended the coach steps and made their way under direction of the Parade Marshal to their Assembly Area at the bottom of the Long Walk. As the heat of the day reached its zenith, the Gurkhas, alongside other special relationship units (the Queen’s Royal Hussars, The Grenadier Guards, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, The Rifles, the Intelligence Corps, and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; in order of precedence) stood at ease in 3 ranks, awaiting the order to begin their quick march up the Long Walk. The Queen’s Truncheon, highly polished and adorned with a simple black funerary drape below the Crown, glittered resplendently in the sun. Regimental Colours, Guidon and Truncheon also paraded in strict order of precedence according to the Army List, which helped to avoid any Ill-feeling by any Regiment. We were proud however to be the bearers of the oldest regimental colour on parade by some margin. Given that that Queen’s Truncheon originates with the Sirmoor Rifles, the RGR, 7 GR, and 2 GR were represented on parade.
Cometh the hour, cometh the Gurkha. Upon a bellowing right turn and quick march from the Parade Marshal, the special relationship detachments began to wind their way up the Long Walk led by the Band of the Grenadier Guards. Chests puffed out and arms shoulder high as the music stirred the souls of the detachment members. Breath became laboured and sweat began to run as the Long Walk became steeper. For the Gurkhas, Castle Hill was a mere mound compared to the hills of Nepal, and they marched with panache & style up the incline. As they entered King George IV gate, Guardsmen stationed outside snapped smartly into a present-arms to acknowledge the passing of the Colours. Through the archway, they were greeted by the grandeur of the Quadrangle, and a smart right wheel at the King Charles II statue led them into their final positions, ready to begin the ceremony. Television cameras swivelled urgently to capture the best angles of the parade unfolding before them. The Truncheon Jemedar, Captain Bhupendra Gaha, was proud to hear that the Queen’s Truncheon was acknowledged and discussed by the BBC commentator during this moment.
And so, the ceremonial Royal funeral for His Royal Highness began. Hours upon hours of hard work on the drill square had gone into this moment and the Gurkhas delivered as promised. The Gurkhas were fortunate to have been placed right in the centre of the parade (perhaps due to height but who knows?) and all other units took their spacings left and right of them. Not a flicker of idle movement from a Gurkha soldier was seen on television. More impressive considering Captain Bhupendra Gaha had to hold the Queen’s Truncheon at the lower, as the NCOs flanking the Truncheon had to present arms also, for 26 minutes. An impressive display of physical strength and personal discipline.
The orchestral drill movement of “lowering upon your arms”: rifles and swords slowly lowered over the count of 6 seconds, and culminating in the bowing of heads, was an emotive moment. Even more so as “I vow to thee my country”, “Jerusalem” and “Nimrod” were struck up by the massed bands of the Royal Marines, The Foot Guards, and the Royal Air Force. The atmosphere in the Quadrangle was emotionally charged. As the 12 minutes of music eventually drifted away upon the breeze, and present arms was called, the emotional tension amongst all military personnel & spectators rose to a crescendo. First at the sight of HRH’s coffin, being carried to the custom-made Land Rover that would bear HRH to Saint George’s Chapel. But secondly at the sight of HM The Queen in her vehicle joining the back of the procession, holding a courageous air of dignity and grace even in mourning.
The funerary procession began its slow march towards Saint George’s Chapel. As HM The Queen’s vehicle disappeared from view into Engine Court, the parade was ordered to stand at ease, and it was felt that as HRH The Duke of Edinburgh had passed from view, a defining era for Great Britain had passed with him, and the future seemed a little more uncertain that it had before.
The Gurkhas had delivered what they had promised during the parade. A high standard of drill, immaculate turnout and personal discipline throughout. No one could have asked for more from their duty that day. The Gurkhas who stood in the Quadrangle saw their attendance as the greatest honour, that they could pay their last respects to a senior member of royalty, who had never touched their lives directly, but whose presence could be felt in the professional fabric of the Regiment. Selfless service brings honour upon those that give it, and it was a privilege to give honour to HRH as he was laid to rest at Windsor.
God Save The Queen.’
30 April 2021
COVID-19 IN NEPAL
Sirmooris may be interested in the following exchange, and in particular the update on the Covid-19 situation in Nepal.
The Chairman of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, Colonel William Shuttlewood, sent the following message to the Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal, Captain Bharat Singh Chettri, on 29th April:
Here in UK we are being briefed by media on the COVID situation in India and its dreadful consequences for the country’s national health system. We are also being briefed on the consequences of the spread of the virus to neighbouring countries that include Nepal. There is footage of the stresses already in evidence on Nepal’s health system. It is reported that you are going into lockdown from tomorrow.
I just want you to know that you and all Sirmooris in Nepal are very much in our thoughts and our prayers and we hope that you will be able to weather this dreadful storm. I would be very grateful if you convey to the membership of the Sirmoor Club (Nepal) our salaams and our hope that you will come through this crisis to gather once again to remember life in the 2nd Goorkhas.
Do please keep in touch. Salaams.
The Chairman of SCN replied as follows:
Thank you for your email and also for your concern over the health of the Sirmooris in Nepal. I’ve called most of our branch chairmen and relayed your message to them. It seems there aren’t any veterans in the list of infected people. Some cities in the South bordering India are the most affected and the situation there is worsening by the day. Luckily we don’t have our veterans living there. Kathmandu is one of the 14 districts worst affected. People are so scared that over 150,000 left Kathmandu by road in the two days after the Govt announced a week’s lockdown starting from 0600 hrs 29th Apr to midnight on the 5th May. Suddenly they again announced the lockdown would be for 15 days yesterday morning. More would have left Kathmandu if they had said 15 days instead of a week’s lockdown on the 26th.
Kathmandu airport didn’t let 160 Indians arriving from India, mostly from Delhi, board the planes for third countries the other day. They were said to be in possession of fake PCR certificates.
There have been cases of more people being tested positive in Kathmandu lately. The figure is around 4800 daily. Although not as bad as in India hospitals are running out of bed and in a few days if they cannot manage more cylinders they will run out of oxygen also. God only knows what will happen. Death figure is going up daily, it was 35 the other day. 14 died in the last 8 hours – that was yesterday. The carriers are the Nepalese returning from India, mostly in the far western region.
I am not being selfish but our veterans will have no problem unlike the local populace who think they know everything and do not listen to others.
Thank you again, Sir, and I also would like to say that you are all in our thoughts and prayers too. With the training we have got we should definitely be able to come through this crisis.
Salaams, and best wishes.
28 April 2021
SALE OF FIELD MARSHAL BRAMALL PRESENTATION ITEMS
Sirmooris may be interested to know that Field Marshal Bramall’s executors are selling off various items that were presented to him via the auction house Dix Noonan Webb. Please see their catalogue for the Medals and Militaria auction on 19 May 2021 on their website at www.dnw.co.uk.
24 April 2021
REPLY TO CONDOLENCE MESSAGE TO HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES
The following reply has been received from Clarence House to the message of condolence sent to HRH The Prince of Wales, former Colonel-in-Chief of the 2nd Goorkhas, on the death his father, Prince Philip:
12 April 2021
PRESENTATION OF MEDAL TO MAJOR DILBAHADUR GURUNG
As reported in October, Major Dilbahadur Gurung MVO, Ex 2/2 GR, was awarded ‘Prabal Janasewa Shree (Fourth Class) Medal’, the Nepal Civilian Award 2020, by the Government of Nepal for his contribution to Education Development in Nepal. The award ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19 but eventually took place at the Presidential Residence in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, on 9th April 2021 when the President of Nepal, Rt Hon Bidya Bhandari, presented medals to the recipients.
Major Dilbahadur Gurung MVO, Ex 2/2 GR, receiving the medal from Rt Hon Bidya Bhandari, President of Nepal, on 9th April 2021.
Major Dilbahadur Gurung proudly displaying the Award Certificate
The recipient showing off all his medals!
10 April 2021
CONDOLENCE MESSAGE TO HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES
The following message has been sent to HRH The Prince of Wales, former Colonel-in-Chief of the 2nd Goorkhas, on behalf of all members of the Sirmoor Rifles Association:
22 March 2021
CANCELLATION OF GBA MEMORIAL SERVICE AND LUNCH 5 JUNE 2021
The following message has been received from the Gurkha Brigade Association Secretary:
You will be disappointed to hear that GBA Memorial Service and Luncheon has become another Covid casualty. President GBA has agreed that the GBA Memorial Service and lunch planned for 5 June 21 is to be cancelled.
We investigated the possibility of postponing rather than cancelling the event, but given the current situation and the demographics of those attending, it was decided that in order to be socially responsible we should cancel the event rather than postponing it. We look forward to see you all in 2022.
20 March 2021
5/8GR 80TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN POKHARA
The 5th Battalion 8th Gorkha Rifles (Sirmoor Rifles), ex-Servicemen’s Association in Pokhara celebrated their 80th Raising Day on 15 March 2021.
Major Lachhimiparsad Gurung MVO BEM and Captain Ganesh Gurung represented the 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) on behalf of the Sirmoor Rifles Association and the Sirmoor Club Nepal.
Poster for the event.
Presentation of memento by senior Sirmoori, Havildar Kulbahadur Gurung 5/8 GR, who enlisted into 4/2 GR in 1941, flanked by Subedar Major/Honorary Captain Bhimbahadur Gurung (Chairman) and Subedar Major/Honorary Captain Lalprasad Gurung, the senior Subedar Major.
Another photo of the 2GR and 5/8GR officers and SNCO involved in the presentation.
Recently retired Subedar Major/Honorary Captain Krishna Bahadur Gurung, late 5/8 GR, posted the following photo and badges on his Facebook page, showing the strong connection that still exists between the 2nd Goorkhas and 5/8GR:
(Photo is of Honorary Major Tule Ale IDSM, Gurkha Major 2/2 GR, holding the Nishani Mai during an Attestation Parade in 1968).
Sirmooris may also be interested in the following picture of the PMC of the 5/8GR Officers’ Mess by their replica of the Nishani Mai, taken by Captain Karnabahadur Thapa when he and General Duffell visited 5/8GR in Hyderabad for their 75th Jubilee celebrations in 2017. The painting in the background is of Captain Kharkabahadur Ghale 1/2GR holding the (real!) Nishani Mai.
17 March 2021
KUKRI 2020 – CALLING NOTICE
Please note that the closing date for Kukri articles is 23 Apr 2021. For details click on the Kukri 2020 Calling Notice. Key points to note: Articles fonts must be “Calibri” size 10; Photos may be imbedded in the article, BUT must also be sent separately; Photos should be a minimum of 500 kb resolution. Completed articles are to be sent direct to the Brigade Secretary.
FRENCH TRAILER FILM ON THE HIMALAYAS
French Paraglider pilot who flies and walks the length of the Himalayas. Here’s a short Trailer on his film ‘Blutch’ on You Tube but the film can be watched on Amazon Prime. The segment in Nepal is charming and well off the beaten track. Film title
RESTORATION OF MILITARY MEDALS TO PERSONNEL DISCHARGED ON BASIS OF THEIR SEXUALITY
Veterans who were forfeited military medals for reasons related to their sexuality may now apply to the Medal Office for restorative action.
2GR SIRMOOR SATHIS-UK ANNUAL REPORT 2020 AND NEW APPOINTMENT LIST
164th Delhi Day Celebrations will be held on Saturday, 11 September 2021 at 1130hrs as follows:
- Area One. Empire Banqueting Hall in Aldershot, Post Code: GU11 1DJ
- Area Two. Nuneaton, N Warwickshire
- Area 3. York
Details to follow.
COVID INFORMATION SHEET (Devanagri)
This COVID Poster (Devanagri) may be useful to Gurkha families.
12 March 2021
BRIGADE OF GURKHAS UK BHELA 2021 – CANCELLED
After consideration of all factors and discussion with the President and Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas, the Gurkha Brigade Association has decided to cancel the UK Bhela this year. They have
based this on concern for public health, the demographic of our veteran community and their families, military force health protection and duty of care, the impact of the virus in the area local to Aldershot during the pandemic, and their collective responsibility.
12 March 2021
SIRMOOR CLUB NEPAL – TIGRIS/TAMANDU DAY CEREMONY IN POKHARA 6 MARCH 2021
With COVID-19 restrictions in mind, only a small number of Sirmoor Club Nepal members were able to gather and remember Tigris and Tamandu Day on Saturday 6 March. The ceremony was held in front of the Lal Gate at the Gurkha Memorial Museum in Pokhara. The following ten veterans were present:
- Major Yambahadur Gurung BEM
- Major Chandrabahadur Pun MVO
- Major Lachhimiparsad Gurung MVO BEM
- Major Hitman Gurung
- Captain Ganesh Gurung
- Captain Mekhbahadur Gurung
- Captain Dammarbahadur Gurung
- Captain Dudman Gurung
- Captain Hikmatbahadur Gurung
- Sgt Narbahadur Pun
The Tigris Day History was read by Captain Ganesh Gurung and the Tamandu Day history by Major Chandrabahadur Pun with much pride and josh.
Flowers were laid by Capt Dudman Gurung (Vice-Chairman Pokhara Branch).
Major Yambahadur Gurung also took the opportunity to pass on points from the Trustees Meeting held in the UK on 5th March.
Captain Ganesh Gurung reading the Tigris Day history.
Major Chandrabahadur Pun reading the Tamandu Day History
Major Yambahadur Gurung briefing attendees.
Senior Sirmoor Veterans
22 February 2021
GURKHA MUSEUM EXHIBITION – FIELD MARSHAL SLIM
The Gurkha Museum has set up an online exhibition about Field Marshal Bill Slim at https://thegurkhamuseum.co.uk/uncle-bill/. It is available until 5th March.
26 January 2021
PHOTOS OF CASSINO LINES
Colonel Christopher Lavender and his wife Griselda, who live in Hong Kong, reported that on 23rd January:
“We went on our one of our periodic visits to old hunting grounds in the NT yesterday – including driving through Cassino Lines, passed the Gurkha Cemetery (beautifully maintained by the CWGC) and through Tam Mei. If you enlarge the discreetly-taken photograph of the parade square you will see PLA troops in front of the cinema. Interestingly our car was disinfected by a huge machine (not unlike a snow-making machine) as we entered the camp. There is also a photograph of Battalion HQ with large Chinese slogans. Griselda is being released next week ! We then drove passed Gallipoli to Sha Tau Kok. The old Burma Lines site is unrecognisable – and now a huge housing estate with its own shops, bank branches etc. But good weather here as you can see by the last photograph looking down in Starling Inlet.”
22 December 2020
HONORARY DEGREES: MAJOR AND MRS DAVID THOMAS
Sirmooris will wish to join the President of the Sirmoor Rifles Association in congratulating Major and Mrs David Thomas on the award, to both of them, of Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Education by Coventry University. They were conferred in November in recognition of ‘a lifetime’s work in education which has let to the development of six world-leading schools in London [Thomas’ London Day Schools] and access to education for thousands of young people in Nepal [The Thomas’s Foundation/CAIRN Trust]’.
13 December 2020
ARMCHAIR BATTLEFIELD TOURS 2021
For the last eight years the Sirmoor Armchair Battlefield Tours have concentrated on campaigns and battles in which Gurkhas have fought, initially exclusively those in which 2nd Goorkhas took part. However, we have now completed all that are worth covering, so it is intended to widen the scope of these popular events to cover a range of campaigns and battles of a more general, but nonetheless fascinating, military interest.
Two Armchair Battlefield Tours are planned in 2021:
- Thu 15 Apr 21 – ’The American Revolution/War of Independence’. ‘A revolution? A rebellion? A civil war? A fight for liberty against an oppressive colonial power? Opportunism? A French ploy to obtain control of the West Indies? This talk will strip away the patriotic froth surrounding the events of 1775 – 1783 and examine the facts of the war, the personalities involved and the underlying causes of discontent.’
- Thu 9 Dec 21 – ‘The British Army in the Napoleonic Wars’. ‘The British Army, once described by a (French) critic as being ‘a mob of flogged criminals led by coffee house fops’ in fact developed during the Napoleonic Wars into a finely honed killing machine. It was the only professional, all volunteer army in Europe and this talk describes how it was recruited and trained, where its officers came from and how the purchase system worked’
The talks will be given by Major Gordon Corrigan MBE, who served in the 6th Gurkha Rifles and the Royal Gurkha Rifles. He is an acclaimed military historian who has published a number of books, and presented a number of TV series. He lectures widely, and conducts battlefield tours worldwide.
Details of each event and how to book tickets will be posted later. They will be publicised on the Gurkha Museum website and are therefore likely to attract wider audiences so Sirmooris are advised to move quickly if they wish to secure a ticket.
28 November 2020
OBITUARY: 21149075 SGT SHERJUNG GURUNG EX 1/2 GR
The following obituary message has been received from Captain Bharat Singh Thapa Chhetri, Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal:
In loving memory from the Godavari Alumni Association members
It is with deep regret that I inform you that Sherjung Gurung Dai (21149075 Sgt ex-1/2 GR) passed away in Mediciti Hospital, Lalitpur, on 10th November 2020 after a short illness. He was 79 years old. He lived in Godavari and so was not in regular touch with our veterans community.
Sherjung Dai was my barrack commander when I joined the Battalion in Queen’s Hill Camp (later Burma Lines) in Hong Kong in June 1964. Those of you who knew him or worked with him will remember him as a soft spoken and helpful person who was respected by all.
He left on pension prematurely as a Sergeant from Slim Barracks Singapore in 1970. After retiring from the Army he took up the job of Vice Principal of St Xavier’s School Godavari and continued in that role until 2016. He sadly lost his wife, Henrietta Bhauju, in 1991. He leaves behind a son, a daughter and four grand children.
Captain Karnabahadur Thapa, the Honorary Secretary of SCN and Pokhara Branch Chairman, has added the following information:
The following Gurkha Sirmooris were educated at St Xavier’s School:
Major Lalbahadur Gurung
Major Krishna Gurung BEM (Later transferred to QG Sigs)
Major Sankar Gurung
21160016 WO2 Narbahadur Gurung (Later transferred to QG Sigs)
21160379 WO2 Dilbahadur Ghale
21161546 WO2 Shriprasad Gurung
21161833 WO2 Prasad Thapa
21161231 CSgt Rameshbahadur Thakali
21159731 Sgt Chandrabahadur Pun
21162255 Sgt Yuktabahadur Gurung
21159963 Rfn Ram Gurung (Later transferred to 2/7 GR)
The present Vice Principal of St Xavier’s School is Mr Nanda Kumar Thapa, 1/2 GR bhanja.
14 November 2020
BBC INTERVIEW WITH LIEUTENANT COLONEL JOHN CROSS
Click here to view this 11th November 2020 interview on YouTube.
NEPALI TIMES ARTICLE ABOUT COLONEL JIMMY ROBERTS
An article in the Nepali Times about Colonel Jimmy Roberts is available here.
11 November 2020
MESSAGE TO ALL SIRMOORIS FROM BRIGADIER IAN RIGDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE SIRMOOR RIFLES ASSOCIATION, ON THE OCCASION OF REMEMBRANCE DAY 2020
Remembering all Gurkha soldiers everywhere, past and present, especially our own 2nd Goorkhas and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Also Remembering those they left behind, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives and children, and for those injured in mind and body in the service of our Nation. Greater love hath no man that he lay down his life for another … they will be forever in our hearts.
6 November 2020
SIRMOOR DICEBOARD COVID-19 FACEMASK
A facemask is available in Sirmoor diceboarding at https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/897167199/red-and-black-dicing-face-mask-covering. As at today’s date (6th November) it looks as if they are running short of this popular item, but hopefully they will restock soon.
5 November 2020
GURKHA MUSEUM FRIENDS E-NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2020
Please click here to download a copy of the Gurkha Museum Friends E-Newsletter for November 2020.
5 November 2020
GURKHA MUSEUM REMEMBRANCE EXHIBITION ONLINE
The Gurkha Museum has set up a very good online exhibition, ‘Unforgotten: A Commemoration of Gurkha Service and Sacrifice’, which can be seen at https://thegurkhamuseum.co.uk/autumn-exhibition/. It runs until 11 November.
Those of you who are not yet Friends of the Gurkha Museum may wish to consider joining and the SRA Committee would strongly encourage you to do so. Details are available on the exhibition webpage.
22 October 2020
NEPAL GOVERNMENT AWARD TO MAJOR DILBAHADUR GURUNG MVO
Major Dilbahadur Gurung, Gurkha Major of 2/2GR from October 1982 to November 1985, has been awarded the ‘Prabal Janasewa Shree (Fourth class) Medal’, Nepal Civilian Award 2020 by the Government of Nepal for his contribution to Education Development there. He was to have received the award from the Rt Hon Bidya Bhandari, President of Nepal, on Nepal New Year’s Day (13th April 2020) but sadly this had to be postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The President and Chairman of the Sirmoor Rifles Association and the Sirmoor Club, the Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal and the Chairman of the Sirmoor Sathies have all sent congratulations to Major Dilbahadur on behalf of SRA members worldwide.
17 October 2020
PRESENTATION OF PENSION SUPPLEMENT TO 2GR SECOND WORLD WAR WIDOWS
Captain Karnabahadur Thapa has kindly forwarded the photographs below of a presentation, on 15th October, of an additional one month’s pension to two 2GR Welfare Pensioner Widows residing in Residential Home in Kaski. The recipients were:
• Mrs Lalmaya Gurung, aged 82, the widow of IA31338 Rfn Krishnabahadur Gurung who served in the Regiment from 1943-1946.
• Mrs Sabitri Shrestha, aged 86, the widow of IA 31449 Rfn Surjabahadur Newar who served in the Regiment from 1943-1945.
16 October 2020
MANDIR IN BURMA LINES HONG KONG
Colonel Christopher Lavender has sent these photographs of the Mandir in what used to be Burma Lines in Hong Kong. The Mandir is a Grade 3 listed building (i.e. protected) but the barracks area is now a housing estate.
16 October 2020
APPOINTMENT OF MAJOR MANIKUMAR RAI AS DEPUTY LORD LIEUTENANT
The following message has been received from the Chairman of the Gurkha Brigade Association, Colonel David Hayes:
“We have received notification today from the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of Major (Retd) Manikumar Rai MBE as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire.
I am sure you would wish to join me in congratulating Mani on this fantastic honour and achievement – I believe this is a first for a Gurkha – and in Mani’s case a highly deserved accolade. ”
14 October 2020
ARMCHAIR BATTLEFIELD TOUR OF THE BURMA CAMPAIGN
Sampan Travel were planning a 2020 “Forgotten War Tour” through Burma with Dr Robert Lyman, but it had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. In its place, they are launching a virtual tour this month.
The Burma Campaign: A Virtual Tour with Dr Robert Lyman will take place over 7 days, starting 26th October. Guests will be invited to tune in online at 7pm each evening as Rob Lyman leads them through the Second World War in Burma from the Japanese invasion to the battles of Kohima & Imphal and the exploits of the Chindits. Sampan Travel wish to make the tour as intimate as possible and invite guests to message them in advance if there are specific aspects of the Campaign that they wish Rob to focus on e.g. the war records of an ancestor who fought in Burma. There will also be plenty of time to ask questions directly to Rob during the tour.
The cost of the tour is $99, 10% of which will be donated to charity and 100% of which is redeemable against any future booking you make on a non-virtual tour with Sampan Travel.
Registrants who are unable to join us live will be sent recordings of the previous day’s session each morning.
More info on the tour is here: https://www.sampantravel.com/journeys/the-burma-campaign/
14 September 2020
DELHI DAY GREETINGS
DAILY TELEGRAPH ANNOUNCEMENT
‘In memoriam their name liveth for evermore’
2ND KING EDWARD VII’S OWN GURKHA RIFLES.—(The Sirmoor Rifles). Delhi Day 14th September 2020. On this day, the surviving members of the Regiment remember with pride all those who gave their lives serving in our Regiment from 1815 to 1994. Online ref: 586663
SIRMOOR CLUB (NEPAL)
Dear President, Chairman and Trustee saheb haru and SC UK Members
On the occasion of 163rd Delhi Day I on behalf of all Sirmooris in Nepal, India, Brunei and Hong Kong send you Delhi Day Greetings.
Although due to COVID-19 no other branches will be observing, the Pokhara Branch will hold a brief ceremony to commemorate Delhi Day at the Gurkha Memorial Museum Pokhara in front of the Lal Gate on 14th September 2020. Under the Branch Chairman Captain Karnabahadur Thapa, a small group of about 8 Sirmoori veterans will gather keeping social distance wearing their Anniversary Medal. The Story of the Siege of Delhi by The Sirmoor Battalion in 1857 will be read by the senior Sirmooree present Major Yambahadur Gurung BEM. The Last Post bugle call will be played, wreath will be laid to remember the Delhi veterans and the replica of the Queen’s Truncheon will be given full respect by those present.
Jai Sirmoor !
BIOGRAPHY OF GENERAL RONNIE McALISTER
Rupert Litherland’s biography of General Ronnie McAlister, who served as Major General Brigade of Gurkhas, titled ‘A Modest Major General’ is now available on Amazon or through Waterstones. It follows Rupert’s biography on General ‘Bunny’ Burnett and is his second contribution to Brigade and 10GR history.
The reviews, so far are:
General Sir Garry Johnson, who served in 2/10GR with Ronnie McAlister, writes ‘I thought I knew ‘Ronnie Mac’, as he was known, but Rupert’s research and insights have revealed a great deal I did not know about Major General Ronnie McAlister’s life and achievements: both are of interest.‘
Gordon Corrigan, historian and ex-6GR writes: ‘Of particular value, not just to the Brigade but to military historians generally, is the account of the events on the Hong Kong border in 1967, when McAlister was in command of 1/10GR’. Litherland has gone to great lengths to uncover previously unpublished sources and interview leading participants, and he has produced the most accurate account to date, and which is unlikely to be surpassed’. A Modest Major general is a good read.’
SOLDIER IN THE SAND – LT GEN SIR SIMON MAYALL – TALK AT THE NAM
Members may be interested to see the following presentation ‘Soldier in the Sand’ by Lt Gen Sir Simon Mayall.
AWARD TO MAJ(Retd) SUDAH DEWAN BEM
Congratulations to Maj (Retd) Sudan Dewan BEM, who is working as a Safety & Security Supervisor at DELL HQ Scotland, Glasgow on being awarded a highly commended “Community Core Value Certificate” by the Securitas UK Security Company in recognition of his outstanding achievements and ongoing dedication to the community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Left to Right: Joseph McLoughlin (Regional Security Manager EMEA),
Sudan Dewan, Mark White (Senior Director, DELL Scotland).
14 September 2020
GURKHA BRIGADE ASSOCIATION EVENTS IN NOVEMBER 2020
The Chairman of the GBA has issued the following updates:
GBA Briefing and Dinner: I regret to announce that due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, the President GBA has decided that in the interest of our Members, the Pre-GBA dinner briefing and the GBA dinner is to be cancelled.
Field of Remembrance Service: At present The Royal British Legion intend to continue with the Field of Remembrance Service (FoRS), but at a much reduced level. As yet I have not been informed as to how many GBA Members will be issued with tickets. My intent is to have at least one member form each RA present, to enable us to continue with the Slim and Gurkha statues ceremonies.
AGM: Dependant on the attendance at the FoRS, the Chairman GBA’s intent was to hold the AGM at the Army and Navy Club as originally planned. This, however, has changed with the latest Govt announcement about size of household groups (6) that may meet. The GBA AGM will, therefore, be a virtual meeting via Skype/Zoom – details to follow.
Cenotaph Parade – 8 Nov 20: The Cenotaph Parade is to go ahead, but again at a much reduced level. Each “Association” will only be allowed a maximum of 8 marchers only. Again details to follow.
13 September 2020
DELHI DAY MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT & CHAIRMAN OF THE SIRMOOR RIFLES ASSOCIATION
GAVIN EDGERLEY-HARRIS, DIRECTOR GURKHA MUSEUM – (Gathering material for a farewell presentation)
Gavin Edgerley-Harris will stand down as Director The Gurkha Museum at the end of this month. His successor is Daren Bowyer and a Press Release announcing his appointment was published on the website at the end of July (see below).
A Kudoboard has been established to enable those who know Gavin to place photos, messages etc which will be converged into hard copy as a memento of his time as custodian of the Brigade’s heritage. This is where we can all place messages, photos and other media and this will converted into a permanent and hard copy memento for Gavin at the end of the month. You can post as many times as you want or add to your post. Photos will be particularly welcome.The Kudoboard can be accessed at: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/XAUguELP
The SRA Chairman has asked for this information to be put on the Noticeboard so that Sirmooreescan record their appreciation of the terrific work he has done on our behalf and wish him well in retirement.
13 September 2020
GENERAL SIR SAM COWAN – ENTERTAINING GURKHA VCs
Sirmooris may be interested in this article by General Sir Sam Cowan describing a visit to his house by 5 Gurkha VC winners in 1995 (click on the link to access it).
15 August 2020
OBITUARY: Indian Army No. 7514 Rfm Chamar Gurung Ex 2/2 GR
The late Rfm Chamar Gurung, 100 years old, at Field Marshal Lord Bramall’s Memorial Service at the Residential Home Kaski on 4th December 2019.
We regret to inform all that Rfm Chamar Gurung ex 2/2 GR, a Resident of Residential Home Kaski (RHK), passed away in Manipal Teaching Hospital, Pokhara, on 20 August 2020 from illnesses unrelated to COVID-19.
Born on 1st January 1921 in Singdi, Pashgaon VDC, Lamjung, Rfm Chamar Gurung joined the British Indian Army on 16 November 1940 and was discharged on 17 June 1946. He was Prisoner of War (PoW) in Singapore from 1942 to1945. He had been suffering from gallbladder cancer for a long time and was admitted to Manipal Teaching Hospital, Pokhara, on 7 Aug.
Coordinated by Lamjung Pokhara Samaj Rfm Chamar’s last rites were performed by his nephew and his daughter and son-in-law, and as per his wish was cremated at Ramghat, Pokhara on the same day, attended by other family relatives living in Pokhara. Sadly his only son, aged 75, who lives in his village in Singdi could not be present because he himself is suffering from spinal injury.
Date for his Arghun to be held in Lamjung is yet to be announced.
The President, Chairman and members of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, Chairmen of the Sirmoor Sathies UK and Sirmoor Club Nepal and all Sirmooris in the UK, Nepal, India, Brunei and Hong Kong offer their condolences to the late Rfm Chamar Gurung’s son and other members in the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.
Lt Gen Sir Peter Duffell meeting Rfm Chamar Gurung at the Residential Home in Kaski in 2015
A tribute to Rfm Chamar has also been posted on the GWT website here: https://www.gwt.org.uk/news/In-honour-of-Chamar-bahadur-gurung/
15 August 2020
GURKHA VCs IN BURMA – ARTICLE FROM DAILY TELEGRAPH 15 AUGUST 2020 BY LT GEN SIR PETER DUFFELL
You can download a copy (e.g. for printing) by clicking on the link below the article.
GBA VJ DAY COMMEMORATION IN LONDON 15 AUGUST 2020
Lt Gen Sir Peter Duffell represented the Sirmoor Rifles Association at the GBA VJ Commemoration event in London with representatives of the other Gurkha Regiments plus Gavin Edgerley-Harris (the curator of the Gurkha Museum), Major Mani Rai the Brigade Secretary and Hugo Slim, the grandson of Field Marshal Sir William Slim. The two Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers, a bugler and a piper were also present. Wreaths were laid at the Chindit memorial and Field Marshal Slim’s statue followed by a short remembrance ceremony at the Gurkha statue in Whitehall.
Please follow this link to see the images from the VJ Day 75 GBA London events and please click here to see the record, including a video of the event, posted by the Gurkha Brigade Association on their website.
NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM (NAM) PRESENTATIONS
The NAM gave a very good presentation on ‘The War in the Far East and in Modern Memory’. In the short time available the 4 speakers, historians from the 3 service museums and CWGC gave a well-balanced, holistic view. Replay is available at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/neverforgotten.
11 August 2020
DEHRADUN TO DELHI CHARITY RUN – 8 SEPTEMBER 2020
A (Delhi) Coy 1 RGR is conducting a charity run where a section is collectively running the distance from Dehradun to Delhi, approximately 250km, with 16kg weight in the webbing and daysack on 08 September 2020. The event is led by Cpl Kiransingh Pariyar to mark the 163rd Delhi Day celebration in order to commemorate our forefathers during the siege of Delhi in 1857.
For Further details please click on Dehradun to Delhi Charity Run.
Please support this great initiative from A (Delhi) Coy 1RGR. As of 11 Aug, 51% of their total has been raised so far – lets help them pick up the pace!
8 August 2020
GENERAL COWAN ARTICLES ABOUT NEPAL
General Sir Sam Cowan, former Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas, has published 3 articles about the Ranas which give new insights into the history of Nepal based on his own research:
6 August 2020
VJ 75 – BURMA CAMPAIGN FACT SHEET (Produced by the Gurkha Museum)
Sirmooris will be interested in reading the VJ Day (15 Aug)– Burma Campaign Fact Sheet produced by the Gurkha Museum.
OBITUARY: Capt Guptabahadur Gurung (2nd Bn 1961 – 92)
Capt Guptabahadur Gurung (2nd Bn 1961 – 92) – Obituary
5 August 2020
OBITUARIES: CAPTAIN (QGO) TEJBAHADUR GURUNG MM AND LIEUTENANT (QGO) SOMBAHADUR THAPA MM
Notification has been received from Nepal of the death of two brave and highly-respected Gurkha Officers of the Regiment:
483492 CAPTAIN (QGO) TEJBAHADUR GURUNG MM 1/2 GR
Born: 1932, Kolma, Syangja. Enlisted 9 October 1949. Retired 24 June 1977 after 28 years’ service. Medals: GSM 1923 with Clasp Malaya and Clasp Brunei; Military Medal; GSM 1962 with Clasp Borneo; Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
Captain Tejbahadur was awarded the Military Medal when a Corporal Section Commander for his leadership and bravery on 27/28 September 1963 during an operation at Long Jawi in Borneo. An account of the action can be found in the Borneo section of the campaign medals page here.
He sadly suffered a stroke in 2001 since when he became housebound because of paralysis. The paralysis got worse over the years to the extent that in the last 5 years or so he was almost totally incapacitated. He passed away in Fishtail Hospital Pokhara on Tuesday 28 July 2020 at the age of 88. He leaves behind his widow Mrs Krishna Kumari Gurung, 3 sons, 2 daughters, 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
The President, Chairman and members of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, the Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal, all members of Central Committee and all Sirmooris in Nepal, India, Brunei and Hong Kong offer their condolences to the late Captain Tejbahadur Saheb’s widow and all members of his bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.
484179 LIEUTENANT (QGO) SOMBAHADUR THAPA MM 1/2 GR
Born 1931 in Panlase Gaon, Horsangde W/No 3, Parbat. His father was Subedar Dambarbahadur Thapa 9 GR. Enlisted 6 October 1949. Commissioned 25 April 1967. Retired 30 April 1970. Medals: GSM with Clasp Malaya; GSM 1962 with Clasp Borneo & Clasp Brunei; Military Medal; Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
Lieutenant Sombahadur won his Military Medal for bravery as the Corporal Company Signaller for Captain F A Lea, Officer Commanding C Company, in the action in Tutong on 8/9 Dec 1962 during the Brunei Rebellion. Captain Lea won the Military Cross in the same operation. See an account of it in the campaign medals page here.
In retirement he was deeply involved in community work in his village and served as Gaon Panchayat Pradhan Pancha from 1987-91 (BS 2044-48).
He died peacefully at his home on 28 July 2019. He is survived by 3 wives (living) and many children and grand children.
The President, Chairman and members of the Sirmoor Rifles Association, the Chairman of the Sirmoor Club Nepal, all members of Central Committee and all Sirmooris in Nepal, India, Brunei and Hong Kong offer their condolences to the late Lieutenant Sombahadur Saheb’s widow and all members in the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.
The Commandant, Lieutenant Colonel E D Smith DSO, introducing the then Sergeant Sombahadur Thapa MM to The Right Honourable Denis Healey, Secretary of State for Defence, in Singapore 1965.
31 July 2020
COMMONWEALTH VETERANS VJ DAY FILM TRIBUTE BY GENERAL THE LORD RICHARDS OF HERSTMONCEUX GCB CBE DSO DL
From: Grand President The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League
Lord Richards invites you to view an 8 minute film tribute to World War II Commonwealth Veterans who fought under command of Admiral Mountbatten (later to be The Earl Mountbatten of Burma), Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command. The film has been produced by the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League to commemorate and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Commonwealth contribution to victory in the Far East in August 1945.
BBC BROADCAST – VJ DAY 75 – SAT 15 AUG 2020
The BBC is broadcasting a 90 minute programme on mark VJ75 on Saturday 15th August on BBC One at 20:00 hrs.
There are interviews filmed with the Chindits and others, as part of the televised celebration of VJ Day 75. One of the veterans of the Burma Campaign being interviewed is Subedar-Major (Honorary Captain) Kulbahadur Gurung MM, 3rd/6th Gurkha Rifles.
RBL VJ DAY 75 – SHARE YOUR STORIES OF VJ DAY
As we mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on 15th August this year, The Royal British Legion is encouraging members of the public to learn more about the Asia-Pacific conflict. We will be shining a spotlight on the previously untold stories of the British, Allied and Commonwealth forces and civilians who served and sacrificed in the Far East during the Second World War.
The Legion is looking to highlight the significant contribution and diversity of all those who served in the Far East including military personnel and civilians from across Europe, Africa, South and East Asia, North America and Australasia. We would like to hear from veterans, descendants and those impacted by this period of history who are interested in sharing their stories and memories.
Those who would like to find out more, and are happy to be contacted by the Legion’s PR Team, should contact the Legion by emailing PRTeam@britishlegion.org.uk<mailto:PRTeam@britishlegion.org.uk>
Please note the intention is for the stories contributed to be shared in public forums such as media outlets and social media channels, but owing to the number received we are unfortunately unable to guarantee every story can be shared.
The Remembrance Team
199 Borough High Street
London SE1 1AA
VJ DAY 15 AUG 2020 – EVENTS
Plans for VJ Day have yet to be confirmed, however current plans include:
- RBL. The RBL is organising a National Act of Remembrance at 1100hrs on Saturday 15 August and that the focus will be a wreath laying ceremony at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. Details have been sent to RBL Members.
- Chindit Memorial, Slim Statue and Gurkha Statues in London. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions only “principle officers” (CDS, ACDS and the 3 x service chiefs) will attend the events with no requirement for Gurkha service personnel or veterans to attend. Gurkha presence will be in the form of a Piper/Bugler at these events. Col William Shuttlewood (Chairmen SRA), Brig John Anderson (President 6 GRRA), Col Bob Couldrey (Chairman 7 GRRA) and Col Nigel Rowe (Chairman 10 GRRA) plan to lay wreaths at these locations after the ‘official’ wreaths have been laid. Individuals who wish to pay tribute at any of the memorials may do so, but only after the MoD event has taken place.
- HQBG/GBA. HQBG and GBA have no plans to organise separate VJ 75 services.
- SRA. There are tentative plans to attend a service in either Salisbury or Winchester Cathedral followed by a curry in a local Gurkha Restaurant. Details tbc.
- Local Events. Local VJ Day Celebrations will be coordinated by Local Government authorities, supported by RBL under local arrangements following Governments COVID Guidelines in force at the time.
VJ DAY COMMEMORATION IN SE ASIA
Arrangements made under local arrangements
- SINGAPORE: 12 Aug 20 – Kranji War Memorial and 12 Sep 20 – Singapore-led Commemorations (anniversary of the signing of the surrender in Singapore).
- MALAYASIA: 15 Aug 20: Royal Artillery led Commemoration in Sandakan, Sabah.
- THAILAND: 15 Aug 20: RBL Service of Remembrance, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
- MYANMAR: 15 Aug 20: RBL Service of Remembrance at Htaukkyan Cemetery, Yangon.
- INDIA: 15 Aug 20: RBL Service of Remembrance at Imphal.
- INDONESIA: 15 Feb 20: Australia led ceremony in Muntok and 11 Nov 20: Australia Ceremony at Ambon CWGC. [/expander_maker]
APPOINTMENTS: GURKHA MUSEUM – Daren Bowyer Appointed as Director of the Gurkha Museum on the Retirement of Gavin Edgerley-Harris
The Gurkha Museum is very pleased to announce the appointment of Daren Bowyer as the new Director of the Gurkha Museum effective from 1 October 2020 in succession to Gavin Edgerley-Harris who is retiring after twentyseven years at the Gurkha Museum, latterly as Director for the last seven years. For further details please read the New Director Press Release
All members will be sad to see Gavin go after so many years, but Martin and his Trustees are confident that he hands over a very “safe pair of hands” in Darren.
APPOINTMENTS: DEPUTY FIELD DIRECTOR GWT(N) – Lt Col(retd) Yam Bahadur Rana (late Queen’s Gurkha Signals
Interviews were successfully held to select a new Deputy Field Director to take over from Maj Hemchandra Rai MBE BEM. Lt Col(retd) Yam Bahadur Rana (late Queen’s Gurkha Signals) was selected and, subject to a medical, will be taking up the role in October 2020.
GURKHA BRIGADE ASSOCIATION ANNUAL GOLF DAY – THU 10 SEP 20
Please the attached instructions for the GBA Golf Competition from Major Dammar Shahi.
The attendance last year was good. You are requested to send your return to Major Dammar Shahi by 6th of Aug 20. Should you have any questions, he can be contacted on 07460 794797.
28 July 2020
REVISED CAMPAIGN MEDALS PAGE
Major John Harrop and Colonel Nick Hinton, with valuable support from Colonel Denis Wood, have compiled and posted a webpage of the 2nd Goorkhas campaign medals. As well as showing the medals themselves it contains short descriptions of the campaigns and some related photos and maps. More material will be added, but if you are looking for an accessible summary of the exciting bits of the Regiment’s history, please check it out.
6 June 2020
CENOTAPH PARADE 2020 – 8 NOVEMBER 2020
You will be aware that the “Calling Notice” for names to be submitted to The Royal British Legion normally comes out in June and we have a short period in which to submit names. So far I have had no indication of when the calling notice will be promulgated, or if indeed the event will take place.
If you are planning to march on 8 November 2020 with the GBA Contingent, it is essential that you submit ALL the details required as per the Cenotaph Return proforma. In summary, the following information is required:
First Name (this must be the name on photo ID)
Date of Birth (please use the format DD/MM/YYYY)
Place of Birth
First line of address
Military number (where applicable)
Criteria (see Category Box below)
Regtl Assn: 2GR SRA
|Category 1||Ex-Service Personnel holding a campaign medal|
|Category 2||Civilians deployed on operations in support of the Military
(Includes; Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Civil Servants)
|Category 3||Ex-Service Personnel with no campaign medal|
|Category 4||Bereaved Spouses (who died on operations)|
|Category 5||Veteran association representatives|
|Category 6||Military Charities and associated Civilian groups|
Applications. Please forward your details to the Hon Sec by Mon 22 Jun 20 in order for the Sirmoor return to be submitted to the Bde Sec by Fri 26 Jun 20.
CANCELLATION OF THE SIRMOOR CLUB ANNUAL REUNION – 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
The Sirmoor Club Reunion was programmed for 5 September 2020 at the Travellers Club. Regrettably due to the Coronavirus Pandemic the Sirmoor Club Committee has with reluctance cancelled the Sirmoor Club Annual Reunion 2020 at the Travellers Club, London.
CANCELLATION OF THE SIRMOOR SATHI ANNUAL DELHI DAY REUNION – 12 SEPTEMBER 2020
Regrettably due to the Coronavirus Pandemic the Sirmoor Sathi Committee has with reluctance cancelled the Sirmoor Sathis Annual ‘Delhi Day’ Reunion programmed for Saturday 12 September at the Empire Hall, Aldershot.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON GURKHA VETERANS
SITREPs on the impact of Covid-19 on our veterans in UK were sent out a few weeks ago. As a result, the Bde Sec has had a few enquiries from individuals asking how they can help.
The Bde Sec will need to discuss this with GWAC (Saisbury and Aldershot) to see if there is a possibility for a “one off” contribution to alleviate the hardship our veterans are going through. His intent is not to absolve RBL, ABF or the Government of their responsibilities but to provide a “sticking plaster” solution until they are able to get the help needed.
If you have anyone who is interested in assisting (financially, provisions or time) please ask them to get in touch with the Bde Sec at:
Major Mani K Rai MBE
Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas| Robertson House | Camberley | GU15 4NP