On Monday 22nd September, The Princess Royal was on hand at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to unveil a brand new memorial that will honour the bravery of Gurkha soldiers.
Princess Anne travelled to the Arboretum site at Alrewas, near Lichfield to unveil the ceremonial stone monument, which will be known as a Chautara, and which bears the regimental badges of every Gurkha unit since 1815.
Retired Gurkha Officer, Hombahadur Gurung, had this to say about the memorial, “It is a great honour for all the Gurkhas, myself and all my comrades. The years of service are a matter of great pride for me. I hope it continues into the future.” Mr Gurung served in the Gulf War with 2 Gurkha Rifles.
Among the guests at the memorial service were around 400 former and serving soldiers from the current Brigade of Gurkhas. Guests listened as tributes poured in for the fallen, who were described as “the most wonderfully brave and kind people.”
The Gurkhas are soldiers from the South Asian country of Nepal and have military units in the Nepalese, British and Indian Army. They have seen action in a number of places and conflicts, from Gallipoli in the First World War to recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ceremony on Monday was a prelude to a series of other events scheduled to take place next year in order to celebrate the second centenary of the Gurkha service to Great Britain.
A spokesman for the Brigade of Gurkhas was full of praise for Princess Anne’s attendance at the National Memorial Arboretum, “To have The Princess Royal to officially open the Chautara is a fantastic display of respect to the Gurkhas allegiance to the British crown.”
The visit to Staffordshire came after a weekend of Princess Anne attending a number of events at the Gatcombe Horse Trials.