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How The Gurkha Recruits Fared In Their First Major Test

After nearly three months of training, Gurkha recruits in Catterick have successfully 'passed off the square' - a parade assessing their...

Gurkha Company

After nearly three months of training, Gurkha recruits in Catterick have successfully 'passed off the square' - a parade assessing their overall performance.

For the past 11 weeks, Gurkha training riflemen have been confined to the barracks, except for their one culture lesson outside it.

The tests marked an important moment in their calendar as it now means they will be allowed out alone for the first time. 

On week 11 for the Gurkha recruits, they had to take part in their first test.

They were examined on four elements, which included: personal turnout, platoon drill, close quarter combat and an individual drill tests.

Training Rifleman Amit Rai said in the morning everyone was asking "Is my dress alright? Is my badge alright? Is my drill alright?"

He added: "In the individual drill we have to focus on our movements - everything has to be correct."

When asked what would happen if any recruits failed the test, Captain Bhim Shreesh said: "We're hoping they won't fail but if they fail the assessment we will reassess them."

"We have no records of anyone failing."

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Gurkha Company

The platoon drills have to be perfectly synchronised and timing is everything when it comes to this part of the test.

Training Rifleman Bibek Gurung said: "we cannot make any mistakes" when speaking about the platoon drill.

Training Rifleman Dularaj Rai added: "Timing is the most important part of it - if the timing is out there is no chance of making the drill perfect."

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During the assessment, the Gurkha Company had a special judge in charge of the close quarter combat.

In 1996, Sergeant Rast Rai wrote the manual on Kukri moves - which every Gurkha has to follow.

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Whilst watching the recruits he explained the reasons behind the moves: "They're changing their hands from left to right, that's because if your right hand is injured, you can use your left and if your left hand is injured, you can use your right."

On the recruits final cry, he added: "That's it the enemy has been killed."

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The Kukri is no longer the Gurkha's primary weapons, but it holds huge significance to them. 

All of the 271 recruits received their own real Kukri - marking an important milestone in their journey. 

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