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69 Gurkha Field Squadron

The cadre of 69 Gurkha Field Squadron was first formed up in December 1961, under Major FA Cronk RE as the first Officer Commanding, in Rowcroft Lines, Kluang, South Malaya (now Malaysia).  On 22nd September 1962 the unit was re-designated as 69 Gurkha Independent Field Squadron.  Soon after the Squadron was sent to Brunei to support 1st Battallon 2nd Gurkha Rifles at the outbreak of the Brunei Rebellion and Indonesian Confrontation.  It continued to bounce between operations in Malaysia and Borneo until it moved to Hong Kong and was disbanded on 17th August 1968, as part of a wider Brigade of Gurkhas reductions. 

In the late 1970’s there was a severe manpower shortage in the British Army, and the Squadron was reformed on 1st March 1981 under Major Bill Chesshyre as Officer Commanding and Captain QGO Sunar Gurung MVO BEM as Gurkha Captain.  Soon after reformation, the Squadron departed immediately for the UK and by 1st September 1981, 69 Gurkha Independent Field Squadron was settled in Kitchener Barracks, Chatham by 1st January 1982.  The reinforcement programme between the Regiment in Hong Kong and the Squadron in the UK was now established. 

On 29th July 1982, 69 Gurkha Independent Field Squadron deployed to the Falkland Islands as the part of rehabilitation force after the Argentinian Surrender.  This was the first Falklands tour of many for the Squadron.  Over the next 10 years the Squadron conducted a variety of tasks in different roles all over the world.

From April 1993, the Squadron came under command of 36 Engineer Regiment at Maidstone and lost its independence, becoming 69 Gurkha Field Squadron.  The following year saw another move and in October 1994, the Squadron moved from Kitchener Barracks to Invicta Park Barracks, Maidstone.  The 1990’s were eventful for the Squadron, deploying to Bosnia, on Operation RESOLUTE in March 1996, and to Kosovo, on Operation AGRICOLA in 1999.

69 Gurkha Field Squadron deployed to Afghanistan in three different roles on three separate occasions as part of Operation HERRICK.  The first was a Combat Support role on Operation HERRICK 7 from September 2007 to March 2008.  The second was in a construction role (Operation BAM) on Operation HERRICK 12 from May 2010 to September 2010.

On 1st February 2011, the Squadron re-rolled to 69 Gurkha Field Squadron (Search), as part of a wider change from a General Support Engineer Regiment to Specialist High Risk Search Regiment.  This was then followed by their final Afghanistan tour on Operation HERRICK 17 (September 2012 to March 2013) as part of the EOD and Search Task Force. 

Despite the Squadron’s commitment in Afghanistan they have also accomplished many overseas projects and exercises, significantly Exercise SAILFISH in Belize in 2006, Exercise WARPAINT in Canada in 2009/10 and Exercise NORTHERN QUEST in Kenya in 2011.

On 1st October 2013, the Squadron re-rolled back to 69 Gurkha Field Squadron as 36 Engineer Regiment re-rolled from Search Regiment to a Force Support Regiment.  It then deployed to Canada again on Exercise WARPAINT in early 2014.  2015 saw the Squadron deploy back to the Falkland Islands on Exercise KELP FIRE and Project ANEMOI completing major construction work.  This was followed rapidly by a deployment to Nepal after the devastating Earthquakes of April & May on Operation LAYLAND to conduct Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief work.  In 2016 the Squadron deployed elements to support 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in Kenya on Exercise ASKARI STORM and the Gurkha Welfare Scheme in Nepal on Operation MARMAT 3 & 4. 

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