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Richard Cawthorne joined the Gurkha Transport Regiment in 1969, having spent the previous three years with 28 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade in Malaysia where he first came into contact with the Gurkha soldier, and served with 28 Squadron in Hong Kong. He was posted to the British Gurkha Transit Camp, Calcutta in 1972, which included an emergency tour at the British Gurkha Depot in Dharan, Nepal. He returned to Hong Kong in 1979 to command 28 Squadron at the height of anti-illegal immigrant operations.
His tours in India and Nepal had kindled a keen interest in the history of Gurkhas in British service, which eventually led to him being invited to be a Trustee of The Gurkha Museum and subsequently its Chairman. He has written a number of articles on Gurkha service to the Crown including a short history of The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment.