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'I joined the British Army for family honour’

Joining the British Army has made Signaller Manoj Chan’s community proud and helped him support his family.

Moving from Nepal in 2019, inspired by his grandfather’s service in Indian Army with 9 Gurkha Rifles, Manoj had just completed a BSc in Physics at Prithivi Narayan Campus, Pokhara, Nepal.

Wanting to travel and use his technical expertise, he initially wanted to work in IT in Australia. However, the visa process proved too complicated and, having always had an interest in the British Army and its relationship with Nepal, he decided to apply.

The British Army is a very well-respected profession in Nepal." Signaller Manoj Chan,
1 Signal Regiment

Manoj, aged 25, said: “The appeal of the British Army was twofold. Firstly, it provided an opportunity to travel which is something I always wanted to do. Secondly, I joined for family honour."

“The British Army is a very well-respected profession in Nepal, and I knew if I joined, I would make my community proud and could help support my family."

“Many of my friends are in the Indian Army and Singapore Police but I am the first person in my village to join the British Army.”

Serving with Andover-based 1 Signal Regiment, 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron as a network engineer, Manoj works with different communications equipment such as Bowman, Falcon, and Reacher, delivering, using, and maintaining communications networks to soldiers in camp, on exercise and on operations.

He has spent the last six months in Poland on Operation Cabrit, the UK deployment in Eastern Europe where British troops lead a multinational Battlegroup as part of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).

The former Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School pupil said: “‘I have been lucky enough to have contributed to a few operations and overseas exercises with the British Army. I am currently serving on Op Cabrit in Poland and have been out here since April."

“Prior to coming out to Poland in 2022, I worked on Project Convergence in California for two months. This was a full communications exercise between the UK, US and Australian Armies which proved that all the communications systems between the nations worked."

“Earlier in my career I deployed on Op Temperer to Royal Midlands hospital in Stoke-on-Trent for two months to help NHS with Covid. I have really enjoyed being involved in such a diverse array of military activity. The contrast between jobs has been phenomenal and makes every day interesting.”

I am so grateful that the British Army has helped bring the best out of me.”

Manoj’s personal development has been the most surprising element to him of life in service. He said: “I have amazed myself with how much I have gradually developed over my time with the British Army. From a fresh-faced recruit to now, I am almost an entirely different person."

“I have changed a lot physically and mentally, and my confidence has grown enormously. My family always comment on it every time they see me. I am so grateful that the British Army has helped bring the best out of me.”

Sporting opportunities add enjoyment and variety to the military side of his career.

It brings me no end of happiness..."

Manoj said: “I have played a lot of football with the Army. I absolutely love playing with my Gurkha team from 246 Signals. It brings me no end of happiness when we play together."

“I also play quite a lot of table tennis and volleyball, have learned to ski, and travelled to France to ski on an exciting adventure training package, all with the Army."

“Aside from the obvious military skills, I have acquired Ski Foundation Level One Instructor and Mountain Bike Level Two Instructor qualifications. I have learned to become a lot more physically fit while also enhanced my knowledge of communications equipment."

“More personally, I am a lot more outgoing, presentable and confident than I used to be.”

I just want to carry on enjoying growing."

Manoj’s ambition is to carry on enjoying Army life. He added: “I’m not thinking about life outside the Army, I just want to carry on enjoying growing."

“In the medium term I want to become a Physical Training Instructor while getting better at my trade and enhancing my knowledge. Longer term, I would like to become a Yeoman of Signals (a supervisor) and become a renowned communications specialist.”

Manoj recently became top student on a Potential Non-Commissioned Officer Course with The Royal Lancers on Op Cabrit, an achievement of which he is “hugely proud”.

Other highlights, he says, have been working with different nations, learning new skills, meeting new people, and travelling to new places.

Manoj added: “Being away from home is hard, I only go home once a year for a month. I had never left Nepal before I started training, and it certainly took an adjustment to get used to being away from my family and living in the UK."

“Training at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick was also especially challenging, particularly the fitness activities and field exercises. I found out there that I needed to improve my fitness.”

Looking forward there is much to get excited about. Manoj said: “I have a really busy time ahead. I am getting married this year and am bringing my wife to UK in March."

“I will also be deploying on another Project Convergence in Texas. I will also be doing Cambrian Patrol, Trail Walker, and the Warsaw Marathon in the next 12 months.”

The British Army is recruiting right now to fill 10,000 jobs across the UK with more than 200 roles to choose from, covering everything from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and support roles. If you’re aged 16 to 50, and if you want to find out more about a career in the Army, click here.

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