Army

The New Gurkhas Filling Out The British Army

The Gurkha class of 2017 have arrived for training at Catterick, and for once it wasn't raining.This year's intake has been increased from...

The Gurkha class of 2017 have arrived for training at Catterick, and for once it wasn't raining.

This year's intake has been increased from 230 to 270 in line with a 25 percent rise in the number of Gurkha troops over the coming years. 

Things are off to a good start as their new Officer Commanding, Major Ed Withey, seems only too pleased with this year’s intake:

"They look fantastic in my eyes – in terms of the empirical data of them passing selection, they've done an extremely good job".

Maj Withey said that as well as having one recruit who set the record for the doko race, a hill racing challenge recruits must pass in Nepal before being sent to train the UK, the increasing availability of the internet has made it easier for recruits to self-select.

This means that those coming in to train are more likely to be aware of what the British Army is looking for.

Still, that hasn't stopped many of them feeling a little disoriented once they arrive in the UK.

Training Rifleman Abhay Gurung has been noticing all the leafless trees, something he never saw in Nepal, as well as expensive cars.

Finding it all a bit surreal, Abhay said he keeps asking himself "Am I (really) in England?"

Ahead of the recruits lies nine months of training, including culture and language lessons, drills with the famous Kukri knife, as well as basic soldiering.

More: '25% More Gurkhas For The British Army'