Highs and lows

Officer Cadet Todd Ledwith blogs from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst about his most recent experiences of Officer Training.

Officer Cadet Ledwith

Officer Cadet Ledwith

The highs and lows of the training here at Sandhurst were in evidence for me once again this week. During the first attempt at a platoon attack I was in charge of a section, which comprised eight men. During the attack I moved too quickly, resulting in me becoming a simulated casualty.  Immediately my section was without a commander.  Needless to say, I will not be making the same mistake again. By contrast to this low, myself and two other cadets from my platoon were told that we were one step closer to being able to represent the Junior intake of Old College against the Intermediate and Senior intakes of New College in the boxing event taking place this term. That, and England beating Australia 35-18, has been a highpoint.

Amongst the events of this week, the stand-out moment for most was our Alamein Company Dinner Night. After instructional lectures on the subject, this provided us with the experience of a formal Army function in our best dress, or ‘Blues’. Such events are firmly ensconced in tradition and each of the Regiments and Corps have their own long-standing methods of conducting such occasions. The proceedings are tied together by hosting assignments in which cadets are responsible for accompanying guests, in this case the senior Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers of our Company.

The food, drink and in particular, the music, was all excellent. The latter was provided for us by the Minden Band of the Queen’s Division who played a selection of traditional and popular pieces during the meal and a medley of different Regimental marches afterwards. Conversation flowed well around all the tables and afterwards in the bar, everyone from cadets to senior Officers entered fully into the spirit of the event. The next day proved to be one of few raised voices and many occasions of cadets having to stand up during lectures to stay alert.

On a later review of the evening we discussed the importance of the way in which we create and uphold the ‘family’ spirit of the Army. We also discussed how the formality and etiquette of the events provide the structure in which people may enjoy themselves.  We also analysed how the Army’s Core Values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others provided the moral framework upon which we base our actions.

This week we took time to remember those who gave their lives in service to the nation in all previous and subsequent conflicts. For us this act of remembrance was marked by two minutes’ silence on Thursday and a parade and chapel service on Remembrance Sunday. We will remember them.