The Chief of the General Staff was the Inspecting Officer as 432 newly selected Gurkhas were on parade, for the first time after only a few days of drill training.
According to a British Army news release, the young Gurkhas had only found out last week that they were successful in joining the British Army, following several area-based selection events across Nepal.
“This year over 12,000 applicants applied from across Nepal to become a Gurkha in the British Army, many from remote villages. Also in attendance as principal guests were; H.E. British Ambassador to Nepal, a Major General from the Nepalese Army, the Nepalese Armed Police Force Inspector General, Dignitaries, British Gurkha staff, and over 1700 family members and friends of the new Gurkhas. All of these came together to wish the new recruits all the best at the start of their exciting new journey.
During the parade the new recruits stepped forward and took the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen by saluting her image and touching a table where her photograph stands, whilst senior Army Officers, including the Chief of the General Staff, represented her behind the table and acknowledged the act by each of the new Gurkhas. In his speech to the parade and guests, General Sir Mark Carleton Smith thanked the young men and their families for making the choice to join the British Army. He recognised their choice was a life changing decision for both the individuals and family members”
Gurkhas and their families took time to congratulate the men and thank the families for allowing their offspring to take this chance in the British Army.
This was also a sad time for many as they will likely not see each other for nine months whilst the new recruits undergo training in Catterick, according to the news release.
This increased quantity of selected Gurkhas for the Intake 2020 is part of a wider Army plan to grow the number of Gurkhas and Gurkha units across the British Army.