THE ASSOCIATION

History

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The Association was formed by officers who had left the Regiment on its transfer from the Indian Army to the British Army in 1948.

The first Committee meeting was in 1949 and from then the record of Committee members is one of unstinting and generous service. It would be invidious to list too many names. Suffice to say that the roll of Chairmen from the first, Bunny Strahan, to the present day, reads like a list of the most distinguished of the Regiment.

However, special mention must be made of Geoffrey Bruce and Gil Hickey who each served more than ten years in the chair. Another special mention from the roll of Honorary Secretaries must be made of Ronald Gibbs, known to all as ‘Gibbos’, for so many years a source and mentor of Regimental history and lore. Also, the contributions of many wartime officers who followed in the footsteps of Roy Pavey and Don Florey merit special acknowledgement. In more recent years, Tich Harvey’s commitment will not be forgotten. He was Secretary for 10 years, Chairman for five and the Regimental Trustee for the Gurkha Museum for 30 years.

The objects of the Association were clearly stated at its inauguration. They were to:
  • keep alive the companionship formed after many years service together in the Regiment;
  • keep in touch with the Regiment (both Battalions were almost always overseas)
 
Since the demise of the Regiment in 1994, the emphasis has of course largely moved to the first of these objectives which the Association has achieved supremely well. Today the Association maintains contact with the Royal Gurkha Rifles Association. One measure of the Association’s success is its membership: 134 ‘subscribers’ in 1949 and more than 250 members by 2004. In 1998, membership was widened to include Associate Members and in 2010 Full Membership was opened to all ranks who have served in the Regiment.
 
The activities undertaken by the Association show a record of which it can be truly proud. They include:
  • organising annual and extraordinary reunions;
  • production of the Journal;
  • sponsoring the Book of Remembrance in Winchester Cathedral;
  • production of Parts II and III of the Regimental History;
  • administration, in the early days, of the War Memorial Fund;
  • co-ordination of Cuttack Legion lunches;
  • help to widows and families of ex-members;
  • through the Regimental Trust, support to local overseas branches of the Association in Nepal and Darjeeling.
 
The Association has organised and hosted many notable reunions. Among others, in 1984 it was honoured at its Reunion Luncheon at the Grocers’ Hall by the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. In 1989, it entertained the Regiment itself at Church Crookham on the occasion of its departure from the United Kingdom. In 1992, in conjunction with the Regiment it was host to Her Majesty the Queen and His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei at the Tower of London for the 175th Anniversary Celebration of the Regiment. In 1998, the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Association was marked by a celebratory reunion held at St James’s Palace which was honoured by the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.