Kent

Prince presents medals to Kent-based Gurkha soldiers

The Prince of Wales presents Afghanistan Service Medals to Gurkhas in Folkestone
Image caption The Prince of Wales presented Afghanistan Service Medals to Gurkhas at Sir John Moore Barracks

The Prince of Wales has presented campaign medals to a battalion of Kent-based Gurkha soldiers following their six-month deployment in Afghanistan.

As Colonel in Chief, Prince Charles met troops from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) at Sir John Moore Barracks in Folkestone.

The battalion completed its tour of duty working with Afghan National Security Forces in November.

It lost four of its members in Afghanistan in July and October.

Major James Joshua Bowman, Lt Neal Turkington and Cpl Arjun Purja Pun were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier on 13 July, and Rifleman Suraj Gurung was killed in an explosion while on patrol in Nahr-e Saraj on 2 October.

'Unwavering willpower'

Addressing the men, the Prince said they had endured "yet another gruelling tour" in Afghanistan but had left the country a better place.

He highlighted the courage of injured soldiers who are now recovering.

Image caption The battalion lost four of its members in Afghanistan in July and October

He said: "I know only too well that at the end of the day it is your unwavering willpower and determination to get on with your lives that sees you through.

"You are without doubt a shining inspiration to us all and we can only wish you the speediest of recoveries."

Addressing the families of soldiers who died during the tour, he said: "You have shown enormous inner strength and courage, and this is the time when we can express our deepest sympathy for all that you suffer and endure on behalf of your loved ones."

He also said it came as no surprise to learn of the "numerous acts of extraordinary courage" carried out by the soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Prince of Wales also awarded Sgt Bikash Gurung, 33, with the Prince of Wales Kukri, which is given each year to the senior non-commissioned officer who has done the most to enhance the reputation of the regiment.

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