A celebration of the Gurkha soldier

On Tuesday 9th June, the Royal Hospital Chelsea provided the spectacular backdrop for our celebrations marking 200 years of loyal Gurkha service to the Crown.

The GWT fundraising event was attended by various members of the Royal Family in recognition of all the Gurkhas have done for Britain.

HM The Queen was accompanied by HRH Prince Philip, while HRH Prince Charles – Patron of the GWT and Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Gurkha Rifles – and Prince Harry, who served with a Gurkha battalion in Afghanistan, also attended. The Sultan of Brunei was among the other dignitaries to join us for the event.

A chance to remember

It was also an opportunity to pause and remember all those who tragically lost their lives in the Nepal earthquakes in 2015.

All funds raised at the Pageant went towards our work providing vital support to impoverished Gurkha veterans and their communities, enabling the Trust to respond to the urgent need to rebuild following the earthquakes.

As the sun set, hundreds of serving and ex-service members of the Brigade of Gurkhas and their families took part in the performance.

Actress and GWT Vice Patron Joanna Lumley and historian Dan Snow narrated the story of the Gurkha soldier whilst battle re-enactments, cultural displays and musical performances by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas entertained a sell-out audience.

"No safer place" than with the Gurkhas

For two centuries, Gurkha soldiers have served alongside British forces in every major conflict. From the Indian Mutiny of 1857 to the two World Wars, where the Gurkhas suffered over 40,000 casualties, they've formed a fearsome reputation for bravery and loyalty.

A total of 13 Victoria Crosses – the highest award for valour – have been awarded to Gurkha soldiers since the First World War and they continue to serve with distinction. On return from his tour in Afghanistan, where he served alongside The Royal Gurkha Rifles, Prince Harry said that there was “no safer place” than by the side of a Gurkha.

In his message for the Pageant programme, the Prince of Wales said: “It is a great honour to be Patron of The Gurkha Welfare Trust and I send my warmest good wishes, in this very special year, to all members of the Gurkha Family."

Providing the support our veterans deserve

General Sir Peter Wall, Chairman of the GWT, said: “We’re honoured to welcome such distinguished guests to this evening’s celebration, where we are not only commemorating 200 years of exemplary service but also raising funds for an important cause.

"The Gurkha Welfare Trust is the Brigade of Gurkhas’ charity partner. It provides the support our Gurkha veterans richly deserve once their military service is complete.

"That support must be relevant to the changing needs of our Gurkha ex-servicemen, their dependants and their communities in Nepal.”

Images from the Pageant

You can download a selection of images from our event photographers below:

Credit: Johnny Fenn Photographer

Credit: Tom Falkenburg Photography

Our earthquake response

Find out more about how we're helping Gurkha veterans, their families and communities to rebuild their lives following the disaster in 2015.

Gurkha 200 commemorative book

A fantastic visual account of the Gurkhas' rich 200-year history was released in 2015.

Visit the Gurkha Museum's website to buy a copy, with all royalties donated to the GWT.