More than 200 Gurkha recruits marked the end of their military training with a pass off parade inspected by British Defence Minister, Dr Andrew Murrison.
Graduating as Riflemen from the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick Garrison, the recruits of Gurkha Company took part in a pride-filled ceremony on the parade square at Helles Barracks.
The Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, the Right Honourable Dr Andrew Murrison MP, watched as the 204 soldiers took part in the parade at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC), Catterick.
The parade marked the end of the recruits nine-month training programme that began in February in Nepal with a selection process to earn their place on the course.
The Trainee Riflemen have learnt soldiering skills, a new language and culture, as well as adjusting to life thousands of miles away from their families. They will now join their chosen regiment in the Brigade of Gurkhas.
Defence Minister Dr Andrew Murrison said the Gurkhas should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. Addressing the Gurkhas, he said: “You are in the foothills of a career in an increasingly uncertain world.”
“But remember you are joining a force for good in the world. You are joining a cadre that makes up nearly 5% of that force for good. And what a cadre it is. In recent times Gurkhas have served in Cyprus, Macedonia, Romania, Germany, Japan, Papa New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. You are a global force - part of the best army in the world".
Trainee Rifleman Anand Limbu is joining the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers and will now head to 3 Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment in Minley to complete his trade training.
He said “Every part of the training had its challenges, but it was interesting, and a lot of things were included. We gave our best and it was a very good course.”
Platoon Commander 6 Platoon, Sergeant Manoj Gurung, said: “I was involved at the start of the selection process in Nepal. Arriving in the UK the culture shock for the recruits is huge, and the training to mould the young men into Gurkha soldiers is rigorous.
“They will take part in a lot of parades in their Army careers, but their Pass Off Parade is probably the most important parade in their Army career. When I spoke to them, I told them to be very proud of who they are and most importantly what they have become.
“As an instructor I am enormously proud. There are no other words really to express it. We are all immensely proud of what they have become, and we wish them all the very best of luck as they leave here.”
The Gurkhas have been an integral part of the British Army for more than two hundred years. More than 200,000 Gurkhas fought in the two world wars. Their bravery is legendary. Twenty-six Victoria Crosses have been awarded to Gurkha Regiments and of which thirteen have been awarded to individual Gurkha, as well as many other bravery awards.
An illustration of the Gurkhas capability was at this year’s Cambrian Patrol – the internationally recognised patrols competition- where Gurkha teams took 11 of the 16 Gold medals awarded.
At the Defence Operational Shooting Competition, The Royal Gurkha Rifles provided the top two teams and 69 of the Army’s Top 100 Shots were Gurkhas.