Mixed Gurkha Squadrons

As the Corps is about to form another Gurkha Sqn, how do you feel about the Gurkha Sqns now being completely mixed.

Does this work? Do the Brits receive well written CRs? Is there any discrimination?

I am not sure if I am being racists here or imperialist but I have a problem with young soldiers being under the direct command of Gurkha JNCOs and SNCOs.
No thank God, but I know a man who is. Also have a young soldier just come from the current Ghurkha Sqn and was quite shocked to learn it was totally mixed.

Your comments I have to say have intrigued me.

Firstly as far as I am aware British Soldiers have always served alongside Gurkha soldiers in QGS Sqns. There is nothing new on that score. I would welcome any comment on this by anyone who has served with QGS.

Secondly why do you suspect that a British soldier would get any less of a deal from a Gurkha SNCO or JNCO than his Gurkha counterpart?

Thirdly don't we employ British Officers in QGS to do things like write reports? (Again any advice from a QGS soldier or officer would be beneficial in clearing up this issue).

Finally from my own part I have always been of the opinion that Gurkha soldiers are by en large professional, proud and pleased to be serving in the British Army. I would love the opportunity to command Gurkhas at any level. But why would you summise that a Gurkha JNCO or SNCO would be any worse at discrimating against either soldiers from his own racial background (but different caste) or british soldiers than a british SNCO/JNCO faced with commanding a mixed troop of gurkha and british soldiers? Clearly your own prejudices suggest that you have no faith in Gurkha JNCOs or SNCOs and therefore by default would probably discriminate against them. Do you also discriminate against those british soldiers with ginger hair or with a weight problem? Where do you stand with Fijian/Commonwealth SNCOs or JNCOs?

Like yourself I do not know that much about the Ghurkhas, apart from what I have heard from those serving with them, a little time working with a few and my Grandfather who fought with them in India pre-world war 2.

Firstly I am not sure if there has always been mixed Ghurkha units. I believe that originally only the officers were British.

I have also been told that they now have Ghurkha officers in command and that only certain posts are held by British SNCOs and Officers – TOT, YofS etc.

Those Ghurkhas that I have worked with, on the most part have been professional and good soldiers and tradesmen. Note ‘on the most part’ as they also have their fair share of shirkers and layabouts.

The point I was trying to make was that if your OC was a Ghurkha, whilst his command of the English language might be very good, is it good enough for report writing. Bearing in mind that CRs rise or fall on the standard of the written word, (and yes I know not all British Officers can write with crayons let alone write a decent CR) would this not put the soldier at a distinct disadvantage over his brethren.

I was not trying to suggest that any Ghurkha would discriminate against the soldier. The caste system has its own problems which I believe we are now seeing with some of the commonwealth troops – but that is another string.

I hope I am not too discriminative, I dislike Arabs and hate the French but am quite happy to serve with any other nations…even the US (for short periods of time that is).

I do have a problem with overweight soldiers though….unless it is a medical problem. I have often found that they can not pass both BPFAs and CFTs and that to me is a base line all should be able to achieve physically. I would like to think that this is professionalism rather than discriminative.
Apologies, I missed a point I needed to raise.

When I raised the question 'Is there any discrimination?' I was enquiring if it were at all possible a Ghurkha SNCO might feel inclined to discriminate against a British soldier over a Ghurkha soldier. The unit is a Ghurkha unit and I presume that whilst the British soldier would be posted on in two or three years, the Ghurkha soldier is staying for the majority of his career. Therefore it most be difficult for the Ghurkha SNCOs and Officers to write up a British soldier over one of their own if they are of both the same standard.

I am hoping that someone with experience might come into what could be quite a good debate.

I would like to know if Gurkha soldiers are boarded seperately from British Soldiers? I cannot remember ever seeing a Gurung on a promotion list. If so this perceived problem shouldn't really exist.
Firstly Ghurka promotions are boarded completely separately from Brits in answer to one Q that dropped out from above.

Secondly I don't think that RSD is being to paranoid in suggesting that serving with a QGS Sqn as a Brit can affect your career depending on how you handle it.

I have seen excellent SNCOs (Brit) overlooked for promotion whilst serving with QGS, but by and large this was due to their own inability or reluctance to either tolerate, understand or try to integrate themselves in the unique politics and culture that the job demands.

The Nepalese caste system is complicated enough and mixing it with a military rank structure produces a sometimes confusing hierarchy.

On the other side of the coin, most Brits who serve with QGS immerse themselves totally, are reluctant to leave, serve second and third tours and receive strong CRs as a result. In part this was reward for displaying the patience and pragmatism that the job sometimes demands.

In my two tours with Units who had QGS I found them to be outstanding and those who were eternally slagging them off did so through ignorance or jealousy of their professionalism and awesome work ethic.

Jai QGS!
Thanks SG.

Still seems a little strange even in this day and age of enlightenment, that we as a Nation are immersing our own soldiers into a unit of non-British soldiers who’s culture and belief are so different from ours - that is apart from the willingness to take on all comers and love of a good ruck.

Could understand Officers and Seniors being merged in to give them a point of integration with our forces. Still not sure why juniors are merged. They are still a separate force within our Army.

I would have thought that they would have been better off being non mixed.

That is (before anyone bites my head off) not withstanding the fact that they are good for our army and I am still not trying to be discriminative (to the Ghurkhas that is, forget the Arabs and French I am defo non PC when it comes to those Nations).

Are the Ghurkha Engineers merged the same way now or are they run the old way with just a few Brit Officers and SNCOs?
From all the personnel that I have spoken to who have served with a QGS sub-unit, the only negative comments have come from pers who are of a racist bent and are not happy when things have to be done in a different way from their norm!
QG SIGNALS squadrons have always been mixed. In Hong Kong they had British, Gurkha and Chinese soldiers of all ranks although the majority were Gurkhas. There was always a need for Brit soldiers to cover crypto etc - Gurkha vetting was always slightly problematic for obvious reasons.

Most of the "Corps units" including QGE are mixed to some degree. It was only the infantry battalions who had British Officers and Gurkhas soldiers although I think that there was always the odd Pay Corps NCO who was a Brit. Of course, the Corps units were not formed until the 1950s in Malaya by which time the Inf units had been around for 150 years or so.

I don't believe that Gurkha soldiers are any better, or worse, than British soldiers but those who have worked and fought alongside them over the last 200 years will nearly all tell you that the Gurkha and Brit seem to get on extremely well and make a fine team. I thinks its because the things that Brits are weak at the Gurkhas do well and vice versa.

I don't think that a Brit soldier who is written on by a Gurkha officer/SNCO is likely to do any better or worse than anyone else. There is almost inevitably a Brit somewhere in the chain (and certainly the Sqn Comd) who can correct any English errors and, as said above, the fact that an individual can work well in a foreign culture probably speaks volumes. I seem to recall that most people who have served with the black button brigade have done alright!!!
Right, oh. The reason that Gurkha Sqns are mixed is not a deliberate policy but one that is necessary. 250 requires a large number of crypto trained soldiers so it has Brits to fulfill these roles. Also, there are no Gurkha instl techs, TSSs etc so Brits have to fill these slots. 246 and 248 (trunk Sqns), who don't have this need, only employ a few Brits. 248 is getting some Brits for now as it will take a while to grow the Sqn to its full strength.

Relating to the abilties of Gurkhas to manage Brits, Tps commanded by a Gurkha have a Brit SSgt and vice versa so there is always a balance. Gurkhas are very aware that they may not fully understand the Brit system and always take advice. The reports will always go through the OC anyway, who is always a Brit. My own experience is that, while cultural differences can cause tensions from time to time, they don't represent a cause of day to day strife.

The idea that serving with Gurkhas or the Gurkha caste system (much misconstrued) could affect a Brit SNCOs career is risible. The OC and CO will write CRs with no direct Gurkha influence and all boards are entirely separate.
Only problems I had whilst serving in a mixed sqn was the grasp of english the lower ranks had, especially over voice, trying to get links in etc. Apart from that we had a Gurkha Tp OC who was superb as well as our Sqn Foz. Other than that there were no other real difference from a "Normal!?!" Sqn
Redshaggydog said:
Still seems a little strange even in this day and age of enlightenment, that we as a Nation are immersing our own soldiers into a unit of non-British soldiers who�s culture and belief are so different from ours
How does that seem strange in this age of enlightenment, seems very enlightened to me!

Having spoke to people who have served in mixed squadrons they all seem to have good opinions of them. Yes they have some interesting and unique stories to tell but all in all most of the soldiers i've spoke to have had a good time and come out with good reports at the end of it. I'd think as there is an obvious difference between the majority of the squadron and the british soldiers, it would be much easier to stand out and get noticed.
my first posting was to 250qgs at blandford, yes before it was the school .i was one of the first "brit" relay ops and im proud to say it was the BEST unit i have since served with. we were a minority(about 25 brits all ranks) and had to adapt to there way of doing things , we wore there cap badge , belt and buttons on our twos. also speaking to other members of 30sigs since. many have commented to how" close" the brit troops were ,our cameraderie towards each other . . having served in 250 and have first hand knowledge in there customs , festivals and tried many times to speak there language ,i can say maybe there should be more gurkha sqns in the corps. so more "brits"get what was to me a unique chance in army life!
Purely as a matter of semantics - In the British Army it is spelt Gurkha and in the Indian Army it is spelt Gorkha. The term originates from the village of Gorkha in West Nepal. Having said that 2GR (no longer with us) called themselves Goorkhas!
Jai Sixth!
Not read all of the posts here so appologises if I cover old ground! All Gurkha Signal Squadrons have Brit Sqn Commanders.. to that end for those who are Cpl and below he/ she will write your part two on your CR. For those Sgt and above they write your part one.

In my experience having worked with both 250 and 248 if there is a Brit siggie or JNCO in the troop there will be a Brit SNCO or Tp commander. I have never known a Brit solider to have a CR written by a Gurkha. The Gurkhas however are reported on both by Brits and Gurkhas.

At 30 ther were several Gurkhas in the non-Gurkha Sqns.. the same I believe now goes for 21 and 2 Sigs. And why not, at least the majority of them are happy to be here unlike a lot of disgruntled personnel. However the caveat on that, as usual, is that there are still some pr:mad:ks.
Bow_Man said:
Thirdly don't we employ British Officers in QGS to do things like write reports?
As well as the Sqn OCs (as already mentioned by others), I believe that the Ops Offrs of the three Gurkha Sig Sqns are also Brits, although the Sqn 2ICs are all Gurkhas. Remember that all the Regts have grading boards as well, so we can ensure that someone in a Gurkha Sqn is neither at an unfair advantage nor disadvantage. I know what the guys in my tradegroup are like, regardless of whom they work alongside - pretty standard management responsibility really. A reason why the majority of the ops teams are Brits are because those trade groups (YofS, FofS, Supvr IS) are hardly teeming with Gurkhas.

The guys I know who have served in 246 and 250 have thought it was great - very professional.
just a quick input into this, i also served with 248 gss and i had my last c.r written by a gurkha! there was no problems, infact it has just got me promoted, so no complaints!

i found the only real problem to be the cultural diffrence, and mainly from the brit side of life. i did enjoy all the events put on by 248, they make a mean curry and enjoy more than a few pints!

anyhow in my opinion the mixed troops and sqns work well, most of whom disagree are saying it due to racial undertones.
Re all of the above on the benefits of serving with Gurkhas. Have done two tours with them and had a great time. If you like curry, beer and sport then this is definitely a Regiment to serve with.

Sqns are well served with Brit Officers and don't forget that OCs and COs (SNCO and above) will write part 2 and they are Brit as well. If anything this is a chance for Brits to shine as they are few in number and hence stand out more.

If you are posted to 246, 248 or 250 you are lucky.


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