The Prince of Wales today thanked Gurkha soldiers for taking care of Prince Harry during his time in Afghanistan.
His Royal Highness met about 200 soldiers, their wives and children from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles as they trained on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire ahead of deploying to Afghanistan from next month.
As Colonel-in-Chief, The Prince spoke to several soldiers who worked alongside Prince Harry when he was in Helmand in early 2008.
The Prince was presented with a garland of the battalion’s colours – red, green and black, which he wore throughout the visit over his combats.
Gurkha soldiers also danced, clapped and sang to the beat of a drum playing a traditional folk song from Nepal while The Prince toured the hangar.
Competition is fierce in Nepal to join the British Army with up to 1,000 applicants for each of about 200 places offered every year.
They carry up to 100 lbs in communication gear, weapons and body armour and their motto is ‘It’s better to die than be a coward’.
Gurkhas took part in a mission to destroy a Taliban haul of explosives, they blew up enough homemade explosives to kill a hundred British soldiers.
A controlled blast in the Afghan desert destroyed more than 800kg of explosives in an operation which involved the 2nd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), and British troops from the specialist Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Taskforce.
The bombs were destroyed alongside 60 detonators, anti-personnel mines, and other explosives-related material which had been seized in a series of operations in the Lashkar Gar area.
Navy Petty Officer Gareth Buffrey said: “Disposing of this amount of HME (homemade explosives) is not easy – there are obvious risks involved and it can be dangerous. But this day’s success was down to the enthusiasm of the AUP, their willingness to learn and the support of the Gurkhas.”
Early on Saturday morning, they loaded up their vehicles with the explosives and other material and drove 4km out of the district centre to begin their mission.
The Afghans were shown by the Gurkhas how to prepare it so that it could be destroyed in a safe and controlled way, the explosion produced a plume of smoke 60ft into the air.
The two battalions of the Royal Gurkha Rifles have served with distinction in Afghanistan since the start of operations.