Many of these soldiers had served in the Second World War, however they had not served the 15 years needed to qualify for an army pension. Unlike the British 'Tommy' who could rely on the Welfare State in old age, the Nepalese Gurkha had no such safety net.
Recognising our debt of honour to these great men, the Trust was established. It started buying farms and teaching retired soldiers how to work their land to provide enough food to support their families.
In an arrangement that endures to this day, the Trust's administrative costs are largely met by a grant in aid funding from the Ministry of Defence.
Today, The Gurkha Welfare Trust supports Gurkhas through welfare pensions given to those who do not qualify for an army pension. It also provides a first class medical scheme, hardship grants, emergency aid, community projects, and education grants to the dependants of retired Gurkhas.
The work is undertaken through a network of 20 Area Welfare Centres, each run by an Area Welfare Officer who is a retired Nepalese Gurkha Officer. Every day, Gurkhas come to these centres with their health and welfare needs, and every quarter, a steady stream of Gurkhas walk anything up to two or three days to claim their pensions.
The programme costs £27,000 each day and every penny raised makes a difference. An average primary medical treatment costs just £2.60, for example.
In the future, with more Gurkhas settling in the UK, the Trust will face new welfare challenges, and will repay our debt of honour owed to the brave Nepalese Gurkha, whether in Nepal or the UK.