Gurkhas

'It's A Very Cold Place': New Gurkha Recruits Arrive In UK

Four hundred and thirty-two new faces are being welcomed to Catterick Garrison for the first time.

The largest intake of Gurkha recruits since 1985 has arrived from Nepal to begin their new lives at Catterick Garrison.

Part of a brigade that continues to grow, the 432 recruits were immediately faced with strong UK winds, many leaving behind their families for the first time.

The record-class of 2020 is an increase on last year's record number of 400 trained at Catterick.

"I'm here in the UK to be a real Gurkha, as I have dreamed," Training Rifleman Prassand Rai said.

Training Rifleman Rupash Tamang said: "It's a very cold place compared to Nepal, however, I like this."

Many of the 432 shared details of their first time on a plane, while Rupash reflected on what he'd left behind.

"My parents [are farmers], they keep the buffalo," Training Rifleman Tamang

"My father and mother also dream to see me as a British Army man," he said, planning to send money back home.

WO2 Sajan Limbu, Sergeant Major Gurkha Company, said life as a Gurkha could be "life-changing".

"They join the British Gurkhas and then they get more job opportunities... can look after the families back in Nepal," he said.

Instructors joined many recruits on the flight back, having played a part in the selection process in Nepal.

Padre David Anderson, Senior Chaplain at Infantry Training Centre, was thrilled to be invited to welcome the new recruits.

"Of course, there are some Christians amongst that Gurkha community as well as Hindus and Buddhists," he said.

"It's more than just religious support, it is ongoing human needs support.

"We all need each other, we're all as one team and we're here to support them through thick and thin - to get them to the end of this course."

Nine months of hard training lies ahead for those hoping to leave as fully-fledged Gurkhas.

Want to see how the Gurkha class of 2019 got on during their training? Click here to watch our documentary about the selection process.