It’s back to business for Officer Cadet Todd Ledwith as he begins the Intermediate term at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where is undergoing officer training. Here’s his latest blog.
A new year begins and so does a new term at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sunday 9 January saw a steady stream of cadets from Commissioning Course 103 filing into their new accommodation in New College, ready to tackle the pivotal 14 weeks of the Intermediate term. Personally I found that Christmas leave had hurtled past. The time spent with family and friends was broken by my attendance at my adventurous training course, which as a result of the weather was one of only a few to be conducted.
After moving my kit into my new room (same furniture) and unpacking I set about executing my new detail as storeman, tidying and taking an inventory of the platoon stores.
The lack of early mornings or loaded marches (Christmas shopping not included!) that characterised leave were soon sorely missed. Nevertheless it was good to be back with the platoon and on the next stage of the course. Monday launched us straight back into the training programme with lessons on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats and our third personal fitness assessment (PFA). During the latter it became clear that the recess had taken its toll on individual fitness.
Tuesday was spent at Shrivenham Defence Academy, where we undertook a day of lectures on the latest battlefield technology. This included lessons on armour, small arms, engineering vehicles, anti-aircraft measures and body armour. The next evening saw us deploy to the local training area, Barossa, for Exercise ROYAL RETURN. It was a ‘shake out’ exercise designed to refresh our skills in living in the field, reconnaissance patrolling and advancing to contact. As ever the pace was frantic with little sleep. It was however a good way to get back into the swing of the course after the break.
We have also received lessons on the correct way to dig a 4-man battle trench and construct barbed wire defences. This is all in preparation for Exercise FIRST ENCOUNTER which begins later this month. What we cannot prepare for is the fatigue of digging the trenches; by all accounts days spent without sleep whilst digging is an efficient way to reveal a person’s true nature.
Sunday’s Chapel Service was our first chance to see the new Junior intake as a whole and witness what was so often quipped about ourselves; the ‘shock of capture’ look. Although, by way of comparison, the first week of my Junior term provided more scope for sleeping than this week, the first of my Intermediate term at Sandhurst.