On the 18 February 2020 the Attestation for 432 newly selected Gurkhas took place in Pokhara, Nepal. The Chief of the General Staff (Head of the British Army) was the Inspecting Officer as the 432 newly selected Gurkhas were on parade, for the first time after only a few days of drill training.
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 accross 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.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB CBE ADC Gen (Chief of the General Staff) inspected the front line of the 432 Gurkhas with the Ambassador, Nepalese Army Major General and APF Inspector General, the Deputy Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas and Gurkha hero Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) JP Cross OBE inspecting the other four lines of Gurkhas. It made for an impressive sight.
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
The General spoke about their Nepalese forebears who had taken a similar path and supported the British Army, in War and operations around the world and how the Gurkhas deliver excellence and bravery at all levels. He told them they could be proud of making it this far and that they had great careers ahead of them in the British Army, their journey had just began.
After the parade all the guests gathered for lunch and for the families it was time to say goodbye to their sons before they commenced their journey to the UK from Wednesday. The General and other senior guests took time to speak to all in a more intimate setting over lunch
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.
The Gurkhas walked their parents to the front gate and then said their goodbyes for what will be many months before they can return to Nepal to visit their families again. 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.