Traditions were both maintained and changed as officer cadets formally completed their training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
At a parade today with a format radically changed to reflect the coronavirus restrictions, 170 officer cadets from the United Kingdom and 16 officer cadets from overseas countries marked the end of a year’s intensive training.
The Commissioning Parade – renamed from the Sovereign’s Parade as there was no representative of Her Majesty The Queen in attendance saw close drill in No.1 uniform swapped for the cadets standing two metres apart and dressed in combats.
In an eerie atmosphere the officer cadets conducted their parade in immaculate fashion before the empty grandstands. Ordinarily they would have been filled with the proudest of parents and loved ones, but today it was before a mere handful of the Royal Military Academy’s staff.
In time honoured tradition, the parade concluded with the commissioning officer cadets marching off the parade square, up the steps and through the grand entrance to Old College – but they were not followed by the Academy Adjutant riding a horse.
While families were unable to attend, the event was filmed by an Army news team to enable them to watch it later.
During the parade awards were presented to the top performing cadets;
- Sword of Honour (considered by the Commandant to be the best cadet of the intake) – Senior Under Officer Elizabeth Godwin commissioning into The Household Cavalry Regiment.
- International Sword (considered by the Commandant to be the best international cadet of the intake) – Officer Cadet Abdul Alim Fayeq from Afghanistan.
- Queen’s Medal (for the best overall results in military, academic and practical studies) – Junior Under Officer Oliver Bremridge, commissioning into the Royal Anglian Regiment.
- International Award (for the international cadet with the best overall results in military, academic and practical studies) – Officer Cadet Anton Sovenko from Ukraine.
The cadets of Commissioning Course 192 are the first cohort of officers to commission whilst wearing combat dress since the Second World War. The parade has only been changed twice before – a cancellation in February 1952 due to the death of King George VI and it was moved indoors in December 1981 due to heavy snow.
The United Kingdom officer cadets will be officially commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the British Army at midnight on the 4th April and those from overseas will return to their countries’ armies.