Visit to 1/9 GR

Special Commemoration Service

The Himalayan Club was formed in the room of the Chief of Army Staff on 17th February 1928 and the Chief of the Army Staffs of India are Patrons of the Club. Nawang was a life member of the club and had spend his few days of the army at the Almora Cantonment on the Alexandra Ridge, now the the First Battalion, The Ninth Gorkha Rifles (1/9 Gorkha Rifles), the sister regiment of the Third Gorkha Rifles, was stationed at this cantonment. To celebrate 75th Year of the Club, a special visit to Almora Cantonnment in Kumaun was organised along with a visit to the hills. The club requested the Gorkha to organise a special memorial service on this momentous occasion and to remember Nawang. Lt. Nawang Kapadia’s name remains enshired on the memorial at this cantonment. (more on Army Memorials). When I (Harish Kapadia) telephoned 1/9 GR, their 2nd-in-charge (2IC) Lt. Col. George immediately agreed to this. ” Sir, you are all welcome at this home of Gorkhas. We will conduct the ceremony as if Nawang was one of our own.”.

True to his word the party was most warmly welcomed as we arrived on a sunny bright morning of February 22, 2003. “Welcome Sir, but I wish you had come on a happier occasion”. After a brief exchange of greetings and in full view of Trishul and other high peaks a special memorial service at the ‘Army Memorial’ at Almora was conducted befitting the occasion. All stood to attention as the buglers sounded the “Last Post”, followed by “Revilles (Call to arms)” . The bugles vibrated in the serene pine forest and solem occasion was continued in an impressive ceremony by laying of wreaths by the various attendees.

I dare say that everyone was moved, particularly, the foreign guests from Japan and Europe were deeply touched by affection shown by the army for their soldiers.

Wreaths were laid at the memorial on behalf of :

The Himalayan Club (Ms.Vineeta and Divyesh Muni, Hon. Secretary of the HC),
UIAA (The World Mountaineering
Federation, (Ms Loreto and Mr Ian MacNaught-Davis, President of UIAA),
Japanese Alpine Club (Mr T. Nakamura and Mr Hiroshi Sakai),
Kapadia family (Ms.Geeta and Harish Kapadia),
Mumbai Section (Ms. Reetu and Sanjay Khatau (Hon. Local Secretary, Mumbai)
On behalf of all others present (Bob Pettigrew (Hon. Local Secretary, London and Mohan Mariwala).