3rd November 2020

An introduction from our new Chairman: Lieutenant General Richard Wardlaw OBE

On 2 November 2020 Lieutenant General Richard Wardlaw OBE became the Chairman of The Gurkha Welfare Trust, taking over from Lieutenant General Sir Nick Pope, KCB, CBE.

The following is the transcript of a letter sent from the new Chairman to the Trust Director, Al Howard on the same date outlining his enthusiasm for the task ahead and paying tribute to the work that has come before him:


Dear Al,

It is with great pleasure that I reach out to introduce myself as the new Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas. As you know very well, I started my service in Hong Kong in 1993 with The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers and have had the privilege of commanding and serving alongside Gurkha soldiers and officers for much of my career. Latterly, I have been privileged to be the Colonel of The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, so I am fully aware of the importance and esteem in which the position of Colonel Commandant is held.

As the baton is passed, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to my predecessor Lt Gen Sir Nick Pope for his extraordinary commitment to the Brigade and the direction he has provided since taking over in 2016. His dedication to the role has been self-evident and the benefits of such commitment felt by all personnel. In his dual roles of Colonel Commandant and Chair of the Gurkha Welfare Trust he has spearheaded a number of positive, tangible enhancements for both our serving soldiers and our veterans.

It has been another challenging year for all in Defence and I am fully cognizant of the unique challenges the Brigade has faced, from supporting the Nation in its management of the Covid-19 pandemic at home, to helping those who have been stranded and separated from their families around the world. Throughout, all have continued to deliver their primary outputs and have done so with cheerfulness and a very positive attitude. Despite these challenges the Brigade continues to overcome and persevere – a tradition of the Gurkhas that I intend to embody and continue as the new Colonel Commandant.

A defining feature of Gurkha service is the extraordinary commitment our soldiers provide in the service of our Nation.  For many, this is a life-long relationship which continues as veterans, long after they have retired from the Army.  It is for this reason that I am clear we should all place the greatest importance on through life support for our Gurkha community.  As Colonel Commandant and Chairman of The Gurkha Welfare Trust I am uniquely well placed to lead this ambition and look forward to serving you all in this vital endeavour.

I am especially keen to pay an early visit to the Trust HQ and, once Covid-19 restrictions allow, the field teams in Nepal.  We’ve lots to attend to and the small matter of the findings of the Strategic Review to address!  The future of the Brigade is extremely bright, and even in these trying times I look forward to meeting soon.

Jai Gurkha!




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