UK to form new Gurkha battalion in 2019

3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles
The Royal Gurkha Rifles in Helmand, Afghanistan | Image credit: Sgt Ian Forsyth. UK MoD. Crown Copyright. Used under OGL (Open Government License).

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced 11 March that the 3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles will be established as a Specialised Infantry Battalion, with recruiting to begin in 2019.

The 3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles will join other members of the Specialist Infantry Group, which will complete plans to establish up to five Specialised Infantry Battalions which was set out in the 2015 Defence Review.

Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said, “The Gurkhas have built an outstanding reputation for their skill and bravery as soldiers through centuries of service and sacrifice. They bring unique expertise and perspective to the United Kingdom and British Army which makes them an ideal choice to form a third battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles as a Specialised Infantry Battalion.”

Colonel of the Royal Gurkha Rifles Major General Gez Strickland DSO MBE said, “The Royal Gurkha Rifles is delighted to be able to support the Army by creating a third battalion. The specialised infantry role is exciting and challenging and we look forward to learning new skills and making new partnerships around the world as we begin the new task. We are enormously proud of the Army’s confidence in our ability to take this on.”