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Gurkhas: Ex-servicemen

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate how many Gurkhas who retired from the armed forces before 1997 have since died; and if he will make a statement. (284164)

Insufficient information is held to enable a reliable estimate to be made of the number of Gurkhas who retired from the armed forces before 1997 and who have now passed away. Many generations of Gurkhas have served with great distinction in the UK armed forces, since they were first permitted to volunteer for British military service in the 1815 peace treaty that ended the Anglo-Nepalese war of 1814-15. Between 1948, when the Brigade of Gurkhas was formed as part of the British Army and 1 July 1997, when the Brigade became UK based, it is estimated that some 37,100 Gurkhas served in and were discharged from the Brigade. We also estimate that from those years there remain 34,700 Gurkhas and Gurkha widows, who are in receipt of a Gurkha pension.