19 Mar 2019

New Gurkha battalion to begin recruiting this year

A new specialised infantry Gurkha battalion will be established and begin recruiting later this year.

The new Gurkha battalion will complete plans set out in the 2015 Defence Review to establish five new specialised infantries. The 3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles will focus on providing training and specialised services.

The new units will help provide Gurkhas with career opportunities such as promotion and the chance of a full 24-year army career in the Brigade of Gurkhas. Alongside the new battalion, the government is increasing support for existing Gurkhas, like the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, and establishing engineer and signal squadrons.

Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: “The Gurkhas have built an outstanding reputation for their skill and bravery as soldiers through centuries of service and sacrifice.”

“They bring unique expertise and perspective to the United Kingdom and British Army which makes them an ideal choice to form a third battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles as a Specialised Infantry Battalion.”

Gurkhas have a 100% pass rate through basic training and have often demonstrated high aptitude. Their skills with languages have proved valuable in forging ties with the UK’s global partners.

Colonel of the Royal Gurkha Rifles Major General Jez Strickland DSO MBE praised the Army for its confidence in the battalion. He explained that it would be used to create new skills and forge new ties with international organisations.

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