Thursday 18th April 2024

Old Stamfordian Impact in Nepal

Written by Johnny Fenn (OS 86)
Nestled in the geographic centre of Nepal is the town of Pokhara. Not only the town that symbolises the start of many of the trekking routes into the Himalayas, but it’s also the home of Headquarters British Gurkhas Pokhara. HQBGP stands as a beacon of aspiration for those who dream of wearing the distinguished uniform and carrying the feared kukri knife of a Gurkha in the British Army. This is where ambition meets opportunity, where the rigorous selection and training process transforms hopeful recruits into members of an elite brotherhood with an important and impressive history.

The Headquarters camp in Pokhara not only cares for the young recruits, there's also a poignant reflection on the past. The Gurkha Welfare Trust operates within the same walls, extending a caring hand to the vulnerable old soldiers who served valiantly but left without a pension. Their twilight years now dignified, thanks to the trust's unwavering support, ensuring these veterans are not forgotten.

The threads of fate weave an intriguing narrative at British Gurkhas Pokhara, where leadership is a tale of two Old Stamfordians. Major David Carter (OS 10) commands the side of the camp that looks after recruiting, and Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Fenn (OS 86), is at the helm of The Gurkha Welfare Trust. But that’s It’s also the case that they both hail from the neighbouring villages of Yarwell and Nassington, respectively. They are both products of Exeter House, and now their paths converge in the foothills of the Himalayas.

It's a small-world story that adds a fascinating layer to the military precision of the camp. They had no idea each other was from the same school, same house, and almost the same village until they met in Nepal in late 2023. As neighbours once again, Carter and Fenn reminisce about their Stamford days, their shared history adding a personal touch to their mission. It's a remarkable twist of fate that these two men from neighbouring villages now stand shoulder to shoulder, steering the future of the Gurkhas and caring for those who have already served. Their leadership at British Gurkhas Pokhara is one of those unexpected reunions life can bring.


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