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  • Writer's picturePeter Miller

Beau's Band of Brothers


'Band of Brothers' is a well known and respected TV series that covered the story of a troupe of American soldiers and their journey from America through to Germany, via the fields of England, the beaches of Normandy and the forests of the Ardennes during WW II. It's a well used phrase, and commonly associated with all military service personnel across the world.


So who is Beau, or should I say who was Beau? A good question and the reason for this blog. My wife, Julia, works at a care home in Cheltenham. She mentioned that one of the residents, Beau, was a Gurkha with the Royal Signals long before he retired. She knew I had worked with the Royal Signals and had a lot of time and respect for the noble soldiers from Nepal. I was saddened to hear from Julia, that Beau had passed away over Christmas in 2022. She was moved to say that as he had no surviving relatives in the UK, and that the staff, and his previous neighbours, would probably be the only people at his funeral. She said the staff really wanted to mark his passing properly, as he was so well liked and a real gentleman to them all.


Touched by this story I decided to see if there were any representatives from the local nepalese community who might have known him or would be interested in marking his passing. As a keen Gloucester Rugby fan, my friends and I would regularly frequent a local nepalese curry house, called the Nepalese Chef. So after a game, I took the opportunity to ask to speak to the restaurant manager, Kashi, to start up a conversation about Beau.


After a few phone calls it became apparent that Beau's identity couldn't be traced in the Gurkha archives. Curious. The manager said that Beau's real surname was of Indian heritage, not Nepalese. So was Beau a Gurkha after all ?


At this point I turned to an ex-Signals work colleague, Rob, who I still had contact with through Facebook. He pointed me in the direction of Tracey at the Royal Signals Association. Yet again Beau's identity couldn't be verified, but she kindly sent out a Royal Signals coffin drape, and pointed me in the direction of the Royal Signals Association Facebook group, who in turn pointed my to the Queens Gurkha Signals Facebook group. Here I asked if anyone knew of Beau, and finally I got a response!


A few of the group knew him, and fondly remembered him with respect and thanks for all the help he had given them. They were sad to hear of his passing and revealed that whilst he had served with the Gurkhas, he was not Nepalese, but was on secondment from the Royal Signals and was indeed of Indian heritage.


So I returned to the Royal Signals Association Facebook group and asked the same question. Again a few of the group remembered him in a similar fashion, one prestigious member crediting Beau as the main reason he passed his exams. I posted the funeral details and said all would be welcome.


At this point Beau's Band of Brothers assembled ! Aside from the people who knew him directly, around a dozen fellow signallers indicated they would like to pay their respects to a fellow service man at the funeral. A gentleman named Frank even offered to play the bag pipes! In the end Beau had a fine send off. A guard of honour standing to attention to welcome the hearse. His coffin draped in the Royal Signals flag, with his honorary Kukri balanced on top. Led into the funeral parlour by a standard bearer from the British Royal Legion, with Frank coaxing the bags pipes into action, loud and clear for all to hear.



Beau's coffin with Royal Signals drape and kukri


So thorough was our search for Beau we found out he has spent time at GCHQ, and they too turned up to say goodbye.


I wonder what Beau would have made of it all? A gentleman I never met, but was proud to honour, for his service to his adopted country.


It also made me think how this journey could have been so much easier if he had been minded to keep a few notes on his life's journey and some pertinent contact details. Things that our App Locket is designed to do, and share.

If you run a Care Home or a Service Association, feel free to drop me a line to discuss.

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