As special as Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend was for the nation, it was made that little bit more so for the Gurkha soldiers of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles as they were presented with their Platinum Jubilee commemorative medals.
The medals parade was held in glorious sunshine on the square at the Gurkhas’ base, Sir John Moore Barracks in Shorncliffe, with VIP guests, the commander of 6 (UK) Division, Major General Gerald Strickland and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Sir Hugh Robertson who presented the medals along the ranks.
The medal, which is made of nickel silver, features the image of Her Majesty, the Royal Crest and the Latin inscription ‘Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina Fid Def’ which translates to ‘Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith’.
“This will be my first jubilee medal I have received and I feel so proud, honoured and privileged to be here and be presented with this medal.” Corporal Bharat Magar, 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles
Each Gurkha soldier who had completed the qualifying period of five full calendar years of service in the British Army by 6th February this year, received the medal. As well as the Armed Forces, the nation’s front-line emergency services along with HM Prison staff will also receive the same medal.
For Corporal Bharat Magar (28) of the 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles, it was a proud day as he marched onto the square and had his medal pinned onto his chest by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Sir Hugh Robertson. Bharat who has served 11 years with the battalion said, “This will be my first jubilee medal I have received and I feel so proud, honoured and privileged to be here and be presented with this medal.”
The awarding of medals to mark Royal Jubilees began in 1887 with the presentation of a medal commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria. Today you will see members of the Armed Forces proudly wearing medals from Her Majesty’s previous jubilees; her Golden (50th) in 2002 and Diamond (60th) in 2012. The Platinum medal marking seventy years of HM Queen’s remarkable reign, will remain unique throughout all our lifetimes as it will be highly unlikely we will ever see a future British monarch achieve such a feat.