HM Sultan Brunei Visits Gurkha Tuker Lines Seria

Great royal welcome
on: March 15, 2017

| Azaraimy HH & Daniel Lim |

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces visited the First Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles at Tuker Lines, Seria, yesterday.

The visit marked the end of the battalion’s four-year posting to Brunei and gave its troops an opportunity to thank His Majesty for the excellent four years they have had in the Sultanate.

The First Battalion will be replaced by the Second Battalion in July 2017.

His Majesty arrived at the Brunei Garrison Officers’ Mess via helicopter and upon landing, the monarch was greeted by Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih bin Abdullah, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, and Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Crowe, Commanding Officer of the British Forces Brunei.

Major Shuresh Thapa MVO welcomed His Majesty in the traditional Gurkha way by placing a garland of regimental colours over His Majesty’s shoulders.

The monarch was then escorted into the Officers’ Mess and welcomed by a guard of honour formed up in the garden of the mess overlooking the South China Sea which was commanded by Captain Ganesh Kumar Gurung.

Following this, His Majesty consented to commission three Warrant Officers as Captain. They are Warrant Officer Class 1, Regimental Sergeant Major Bahadur Buddha Magar, Warrant Officer Class 2 Bel Bahadur Gurung and Warrant Officer Class 2 Simon Macey.

The monarch was then briefed in the dining room by the Commanding Officer for the battalion’s training, operations and activities for the last four years since His Majesty’s last visit in 2013.

His Majesty then watched a capability demonstration of a company raid operation conducted by members of the battalion’s rifle companies and weapon platoons including the Reconnaissance Platoon, Snipers, Mortar Platoon, Machine Gun Platoon and Anti-Tank Platoon.

His Majesty witnessed the operation unfold on the ground and the troops move onto the beach and out into the sea in rigid inflatable boats provided by the Garrison Boat Section.

The ruler was also briefed on the all-terrain quad bike and had the opportunity to test-drive it on the beach.

His Majesty then moved to the Chit Chat Community Centre where a combined performance by the first and third battalions of the Royal Gurkha Rifles and Royal Brunei Armed Forces Pipes and Drums Team welcomed the monarch.

His Majesty was also greeted by five young girls in traditional Nepali dress, who welcomed the monarch in traditional Nepali ritual known as ‘Pancha Kanya’, a mythological act in which the five young girls represent five goddesses. According to Nepali belief, each goddess represents the core values truth, right conduct, love, peace and non-violence.

During the event, the girls introduced themselves to His Majesty and offered their welcome.

The Sultan then moved into the community centre and mingled with the staff and pupils from Hornbill School and also viewed a display of children’s art before watching the Hornbill African Drumming Team perform a beginner’s counting rhythm routine for His Majesty.

Following this, His Majesty met with members of the Army Welfare Service team who briefed the monarch on their roles and activities and explained the function and purpose of the Chit Chat Community Centre.

His Majesty was then invited to see a display of traditional Gurkha cooking where the monarch took time to mingle with the families of the battalion members and have the opportunity to sample some of the Gurkha delicacies.

His Majesty then watched a short cultural programme including traditional Nepali dances performed by the family members of the troopers.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Crowe thanked His Majesty for his continued support to the regiment and made a presentation to mark the end of the battalion’s tenure in Brunei. It was a large piece of marble carved and gilded with the Royal Gurkha Rifles’ Cap Badge as well as an inscription of its regimental motto underneath in Malay which reads – ‘It is better to die than be a coward’.

His Majesty then received three cheers from all ranks in the British Forces Brunei before the monarch boarded a vehicle to the Medicina Lines helicopter base, from where he departed for Bandar Seri Begawan by the royal flight.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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