The units of the Brigade of Gurkhas are integral elements of the fighting component of the British Army. Combining renowned combat skills with the ability to forge relationships with local people, Gurkhas have proved to be invaluable in all modern-day conflicts. They played a vital role in both Iraq and Afghanistan – where Brigade units served on over 30 tours with considerable distinction. Indeed, on return from his tour in Afghanistan having served alongside the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, HRH Prince Harry said that there was “no safer place” than by the side of a Gurkha.
The Brigade consists of the following units:
The Royal Gurkha Rifles – Currently, the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1RGR) is serving in Brunei, where they are the Army’s jungle warfare experts and conduct defence engagement tasks in South East Asia. The 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2RGR) is based in Shorncliffe, Kent. Last year it provided support to the flooding in the UK and security at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. They are the UK’s Standby Battalion.
The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers – Based in Maidstone, Kent, QGE have for many years been providing the Counter IED Search capability in Afghanistan. They have recently had squadrons providing support in Canada and Nepal and now have troops deployed in the Falkland Islands and Jordan.
The Queen’s Gurkha Signals – QGS now operate the latest communication systems; many are held at high readiness to support Headquarter deployments. They have troops currently deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan and in Sierra Leone. They are currently stationed at Nuneaton, York, Stafford and Blandford.
The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment – Stationed in Aldershot, QOGLR is now a Theatre Logistic Regiment. A team is currently in Sierra Leone supporting efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic.
In addition to these four main Regiments there are two smaller cap badges:
The Gurkha Staff and Personnel Support Company (GSPS) comprising specialists in personnel support and administration.
The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas comprising around 40 musicians. It remains one of the largest and most popular bands in the British Army.
The remainder of the Brigade consists of:
Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas – HQBG is based at Sandhurst in Camberley. It is a small headquarters with no units under command but has a representational function to advise and guide all aspects of the recruitment and employment of Gurkhas in the Army. It also helps coordinate welfare support to retired Gurkhas living in the UK.
Headquarters British Gurkhas Nepal – HQBGN is responsible for Gurkha recruit selection procedure prior to recruits arriving in the UK for training. The Headquarters also works closely with The Gurkha Welfare Scheme which is the field arm of The Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Gurkha Training Company – part of The Infantry Training Centre at Catterick in Yorkshire. This company trains all Gurkha recruits who have successfully passed selection in Nepal.
Gurkha Company (Sittang) – based at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Camberley.
Gurkha Wing (Mandalay) – based at The Infantry Battle School, Brecon in Wales.