Major Sir Andrew Forbes Bt

Andrew Forbes who died on 8th March 2023 aged 77 was a popular seconded officer from The Gordon Highlanders who in January 1973 joined the 1st Battalion in Cassino Lines in Hong Kong.   He became an Associate Member of the Sirmoor Club since he served with the Regiment .

Sir Andrew Iain Ochoncar Forbes of Corse Bt was born on 28th November 1945.  He came from a distinguished line of Gordon Highlander forebears.  His grandfather Lt Col James Ochonca Forbes DL commanded the 3rd (Militia) Battalion Gordon Highlanders and his father Lt Col Patrick Forbes OBE DL also commanded the regiment for an operational tour in Cyprus during the EOKA campaign.

He was educated at Trinity College ,Glenalmond and  RMA Sandhurst and was gazetted in December 1965 to a Regular Commission in The Gordon Highlanders.  After completing the Platoon Commanders Course at Hythe he went up to Oxford to read Russian and French at St Catherine’s College.  In 1969 he joined his Regiment and served in BAOR, completed a UN Tour in Cyprus and in 1972 an operational tour in Armagh, Northern Ireland .

In January 1973 Andrew was seconded to the 1st Battalion 2nd Goorkhas and from April 1973 was Regimental Signals Officer.  He accompanied the battalion on its move to Brunei in January 1974 and from October 1974 until his departure in February 1975 he was OC A Company.  On completion of his secondment Andrew was appointed Adjutant of the Gordon Highlanders in Fort George and in 1976 deployed for his second Northern Ireland operational tour to Palace Barracks, Belfast.  His final appointment before leaving the Army in April 1978 was as OC HQ Company The Scottish Infantry Depot Glencorse, near Penicuik.

Andrew then completed a MBA at Cranfield School of Management and became a director of an Investment Relations Consultancy firm in Edinburgh.  In July 1984 he married Miss Jane Dunbar-Nasmith who tragically predeceased him in September 2005. 

Throughout his life Andrew maintained a love of piping and he was a member of The Royal Scottish Piping Society for many years.  He was a perfectionist who insisted upon the highest of standards both during his military career and in civilian life.  In 2000 he inherited the Baronetcy of Forbes of Craigievar in the County of Aberdeen and of Corse, which had been established in 1630, from his third cousin Sir John Alexander Cumnock Forbes of Craigievar, the 12th Baronet.

Sir Andrew’s funeral took place at St Thomas’s Episcopal Church, Aboyne.  He is survived  by his daughters Anna and Isobel and sons James (who has inherited the baronetcy) and David.  His cousin Lord Sempill commented that ‘the eulogy painted a picture of an old fashioned gentleman, an eloquent communicator and wonderful father.’

JRH 27 October 2023


Major David Shaw 

Jungle Warfare Instructor at both Johor Bahru and Tutong 

David Shaw died on 19 October 2023 in the Philippines.  He was born on 4 January 1944 and educated at Bradfield College and Gloucester Technical College.  He attended Mons Officer Cadet School , and was gazetted to a Short Service Commission in the 2nd Goorkhas and on 25 January 1966 he joined the 2nd Battalion in Slim Barracks , Singapore . He served with the Battalion on its last operational tour in Borneo as a Company Officer with C Company based in Katibas 3rd Division , and is remembered for having a baby macaque monkey which became something of a menace   .He later became Assistant Adjutant , Intelligence Officer and moved with the Battalion to Brunei where he became MTO . In February 1971 until June 1972  he commanded D Company which found the Guards for both the Queen’s Birthday Parade and Sultan’s Birthday Parade in 1971 before the Battalion moved to Hong Kong .

As part of the exchange system between battalions , in December 1972 ,David was transferred to the 1st Battalion in Cassino Camp , Hong Kong to command B Company until December 1973 . During this time he took B Company to Australia for five weeks on Exercise Reindeer .In February 1974 David was appointed Tactics Instructor at the Jungle Warfare School in Johor Bahru until August 1975 when he moved to Brunei as Assistant Chief Instructor of the Training Team based at Tutong ,and from November 1975 he became Chief Instructor until May 1976 .

In September 1976 he returned to the 1st Battalion in Burma Lines , Hong Kong and took over B Company again as well as acting as Battalion Amalgamation Officer until December 1978 .During which time he took B Company to Fiji on Exercise Coconut Grove . In January 1979 to December 1980 he commanded the Recruit Company at the Training Depot Brigade of Gurkhas in Hong Kong.In March 1980 on the occasion of the Visit of the Colonel in Chief to the Regiment in Hong Kong , David was responsible for the Jungle Warfare stand where he persuaded HRH Prince Charles to taste curried snake ! From Hong Kong , David returned to Brunei where he was initially appointed as Chief Instructor and later as Commander of the Training Team Brunei at Tutong from January 1981 until October 1983 .After which in February 1984 he took early retirement and went to live in the Philippines where he worked as a freelance security consultant which he described in an article published in The Sirmooree in 1999 as ‘ the training of private armies ..which might involve meetings with either a bowl of noodles or a bottle of Dom Perignon ‘. For a couple of years he also ran a small hotel in Manila .

David married Miss Carolyn Girling in October 1969 and they had two sons Nicholas and Rupert . The marriage was dissolved in 1982 .

JRH, 27 November 2023

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Rose

Commandant 2nd Battalion May 1974 – September 1976

 Hugh Rose had a distinguished military pedigree ; his grandfather was Colonel Hugh Rose ( who served in the 2nd Goorkhas in 1881 and later with 3GR ) , and two of his uncles who served in 3GR and 4GR respectively .Going further back , the extended Rose family had been in India for more than five generations . He was born on 24 December 1933 , son of Aster Rose Esq and educated at Eastbourne College .He enlisted in The Royal Sussex Regiment and was sent to Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School and then to RMA Sandhurst from where he was gazetted to the 7th Gurkha Rifles .He joined their 2nd Battalion in September 1955 and despite only being a Lieutenant commanded A Company on operations during the Malayan Emergency . He was briefly a temporary ADC to Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer .

Hugh later served at the Training Depot Brigade of Gurkhas , Sungei Patani and in 1961 was appointed Staff Captain HQ 99 Gurkha Infantry Brigade , Johor Bahru  . He rejoined the 2nd Battalion in 1963 as OC D Company which he commanded on operations in Borneo . He then qualified for Staff College from where he was appointed DAA & QMG ( Ops ) HQ 1st Division in BAOR and in 1969 he returned to 2/7GR in Hong Kong and served as a rifle company commander in the amalgamated 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles,

In 1971 he was a company commander at RMA Sandhurst and in 1973 was appointed Commandant of the Training Centre Brigade of Gurkhas , Hong Kong .

On 21 May 1974 Hugh transferred to the 2nd Goorkhas to command the 2nd Battalion for what was to be the first occasion that the Regiment had ever served in the United Kingdom . The commitments for any UK based Gurkha battalion in those days were relentless and included Public Duties , Bisley , firefighting etc as well as provision of demonstration troops at RMAS and Brecon . The Battalion was dispersed , but the 2nd Battalion was fortunate to have carried out battalion group exercises in the vast training area of Alberta , Canada over successive summers . In August 1976 as part of an adventurous training exercise Hugh accompanied by Geoff Ashley as the Bn 2IC  and the Gurkha Major – Maj( QGO ) Jiwanbahadur Rana MVO , were taken to a remote lake in the Rockies by courtesy of a Canadian Army helicopter to fish for cutthroat trout where the party was disturbed by bears . By all accounts the total catch was most impressive , although the Commandant’s sleeping bag was removed by a bear !

It cannot have been easy for Hugh coming from the khalo paltan to accept that the Sirmoor Club would naturally wish to welcome the 2nd Battalion to the United Kingdom .It was on his watch that in November 1975 HM The Queen inspected the Queen’s Truncheon at Buckingham Palace which was followed by lunch at St James’s Palace Officers’ Mess ; and later in September 1976 he oversaw the arrangements for a ceremonial parade and Sounding of Retreat at Church Crookham of the handover of Colonel of the Regiment from Brigadier Pat Kent to General Sir ‘Dwin Bramall .

And yet Hugh Rose recorded in the Digest of Service ‘ His great sadness at leaving the battalion which had welcomed him , an ‘ outsider ‘ ,and done so much for him ‘.

 After his tenure as Commandant 2nd Battalion in September 1976 , he was appointed AAG Brigade of Gurkhas until January 1979 when he became GSO1 Ops /Plans ( Overseas ) at HQ UK Land Forces until April 1981 .He was then  Chief Instructor Small Arms Wing , School of Infantry ,Hythe and his final appointment was Commandant Devon & Cornwall Training Areas . He retired in December 1988 .

Hugh married Miss Shirley Weber in 1959 and they had a son Bruce and a daughter Julie .  Hugh and Shirley later divorced and in September 1988 he married Miss Sue Young who survives him.  William Shuttlewood, Richard Venning and Charles Ward represented the Sirmoor Club at the cremation.

JRH, 27 November 2023

Major Lyangsong Lepcha

Major Lyangsong Lepcha, a clerk in the 2nd Battalion and latterly Gurkha Major of 28 Army Education Centre in Hong Kong, passed away on 14th November 2023.  He was very highly regarded by many British Officers whose Gurkhali skills he nurtured on the language qualification course.  He also did a great deal, as hereditary chief of the Lepcha clan, to promote minority interests, on one occasion going to Delhi to brief Sonja Gandhi on the issues.  Our condolences go to his family.

Obituary from the Telegraph of India:

Lepcha leader Lyangsong Tamsang passes away at 80 in Kalimpong

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 15.11.23, 05:44 AM

Lyangsong Tamsang, the chairman of Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board and a tall leader of the Lepcha community, died at Kalimpong on Tuesday afternoon. He was 80.

Family sources said that the leader suffered a cardiac arrest and died on his way to the hospital from his Bongbusty residence in Kalimpong at around 5.30pm.

Lyangsong Tamsang, the chairman of Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board and a tall leader of the Lepcha community, died at Kalimpong on Tuesday afternoon. He was 80.

Family sources said that the leader suffered a cardiac arrest and died on his way to the hospital from his Bongbusty residence in Kalimpong at around 5.30pm.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee posted a message on X: “I am deeply saddened by the demise of Lyangsong Tamsang, Chairman of the Lepcha Board in our hills.”

Tamsang had also served in the British Army. After his stint with the British army, Tamsang took up the cause of the Lepcha community.

As president of the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association, Tamsang revived memories of Lepcha king Pano Gaeboo Achyok by celebrating his birth anniversary at Damsang fort in Kalimpong.

Tamsang also spearheaded the movement for a development board for the community.

Mamata, who shared cordial relations with Tamsang, granted the community a development board — the first of its kind for the Lepcha community — in 2012 and appointed Tamsang as the chairman.

“His death is a great loss to me, the Lepcha people of the hills, and for all our communities. He was very close to me and gave me their highest honour as well as translated my books in their language. A good man and a great public worker and leader, he leaves me in mourning,” wrote Mamata in X.