More than 300 Gurkha Recruits have passed out this week at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick after nine months of training.
Now fully fledged riflemen of the British Army, the troops have not only learnt soldiering skills but also a new language and culture, as well as adjusted to life thousands of miles away from their families.
The troops were inspected by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.
The Gurkha riflemen will now join their new regiments but not before a trip home to Nepal for the first time since the start of their training.
Gurkhas are traditionally recruited from the hill people of Nepal, who trace their roots right back to an 8th century Hindu warrior, Guru Gorakhnath.
Gurkhas have been serving the British Crown for over 200 years and have been an integral part of the British Army since 1947 when they transferred from the Indian Army.
Known for their incredible bravery, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw is quoted as having once said:
“If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or a Gurkha.”
Between them, Gurkha regiments have received 26 Victoria Crosses, the highest military decoration awarded for “valour in the face of the enemy.”
They still carry their traditional 18-inch kukri knife, a weapon which they say if drawn in battle has to “taste blood,” either of the enemy or of its owner, before being resheathed.
The Gurka selection process is one of the toughest in the world with 10,000 applicants vying for around 400 places. Tests include the infamous Doko Race which involves a three-mile uphill run carrying 35kg (77lb) of sand and rocks in a basket strapped to the back.
In 2009 all retired Gurkhas won the right to live in the UK.
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