A YOUNG Gurkha who missed his own passing-out parade because of a sporting injury has finally become a fully-fledged soldier.
Khop Jung Gurung has become the first Gurkha to complete his military training with a British battalion in over a decade.
And in a ceremony today (Friday, February 14) at Helles Barracks, Catterick Garrison, he proudly stood shoulder-to-shoulder with 31 other members of the Rifles 8 platoon of the 1st Infantry Battalion for their passing-out parade.
The 20-year-old was one of almost 10,000 Nepalese who applied to join the British Army – and one of only 127 who was actually successful.
He began his training at Catterick under Gurkha company commander Major Rupert Anderson after flying from his home in Nepal in January last year.
But before he was able to complete his training he injured his ankle and then had to undergo physio and rehabilitation therapy.
“I was supposed to pass out last year,” he said.
“But I hurt my ankle in August whilst playing basketball and so then had to finish the last few weeks of the training with a different platoon.”
He finally completed his basic training under British platoon commander Captain Tom Hamblin and joined with the British recruits for a passing-out celebration, which the Army described as a "unique and rare occurrence."
Capt Hamblin said: “It is the first opportunity that the platoon have had to meet and work with a Gurkha soldier – who are very well regarded.
“It went very well and I think Khop Jung really started to feel at home by the end of it.”
The newly-qualified Gurkha said: “The ceremony was very different to the Gurkha parade. British parades are much quicker than Gurkha ones, which last about three hours as the platoons pass out as a whole company and each person has to show and present their traditional Nepalese knife.”
Though his family lives in Nepal and could not make the service, Rifleman Gurung said that they were very proud of him. He added: “I am very happy – I somehow did it and now it’s done.”