A schoolgirl’s dream to join the Army and one day become an officer was fulfilled in style and ceremony when she became the first woman from Sierra Leone to commission from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
Officer Cadet Luckey Morson from Freetown has just completed 44 weeks of intensive officer training at the world-famous academy and will return home to take up her position in the Sierra Leone Army as a Second Lieutenant.
“We have so many different nationalities and cultures here. I have learned to respect everyone’s own opinions and uphold the British Army’s values and standards. They have not only guided me through Sandhurst but will also guide my lifestyle from now on; this has been a transformational year for me." Second Lieutenant Luckey Morson
It was a chance meeting with soldiers who attended the funeral service of her best friend’s father that sowed the seed that would eventually see Luckey marching up the grand steps of Old College to the tune of Auld Lang Syne to become a commissioned army officer. “I have always admired people in uniform because it shows a lot of respect and they carry themselves with such dignity.
At the funeral some soldiers walked in and I had goose bumps. I noticed there were no women and I thought I wanted to be just like them, it awakened a sense of belonging for me.”
However, Mum was never going to let her join before her daughter had gone through university and so, in Luckey’s own words “I dropped my pen the moment I finished the last exam of my law degree and went to get the forms to sign up.”
One of 43 international cadets from 22 countries chosen by their armies to attend commissioning course No 203, Luckey landed the opportunity to represent her country at Sandhurst through a tough and extended selection procedure. It was over several weeks which eventually came down to Luckey beating off two men to claim top spot and a ticket to the United Kingdom. She put it down to her passionate belief of inspiring other women to join the Army.
“The purpose of all our military professionalism should never be war, but peace and friendship and so it is fantastic that today there are soldiers from 22 other countries from Sierra Leone to the US and I wish you the very best in your careers.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Luckey freely admitted to being a little daunted when she first arrived at the academy. She had watched online videos and was only too well aware of the training schedule that lay ahead; as the weeks progressed so too did her confidence.
"The first five weeks are hard, we all know about Ironing Board Sunday (day one where officer cadets arrive clutching their ironing boards) and then there is the first exercise attack and parading on the square; after that it really made me believe I could get through it.”
Speaking of her experience over the 44 weeks at Sandhurst Luckey explained that it had surpassed all her expectations, “We have so many different nationalities and cultures here. I have learned to respect everyone’s own opinions and uphold the British Army’s values and standards. They have not only steered me through Sandhurst but will also guide my lifestyle from now on; this has been a transformational year for me.”
Of course, the climax to any young officer cadet’s time at Sandhurst must be their Sovereign’s Parade when they parade for the final time in front of the iconic backdrop of the Academy’s Old College and inspected the Sovereign’s representative, and for Luckey it was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
During his inspection he paused to chat with Luckey and even mentioned her homeland in his address. “The purpose of all our military professionalism should never be war, but peace and friendship and so it is fantastic that today there are soldiers from 22 other countries from Sierra Leone to the US and I wish you the very best in your careers.”
Also there to watch Luckey pass out at the Sovereign’s Parade was her sister Cherry who had driven down from Scotland and shortly after the parade embraced each other before making the all-important, if not a little emotionally fueled, Facetime call to Mum back home in Freetown where she had been fervently watching the day’s events unfold via the livestream.
Luckey will now return home to take up her position in the Sierra Leone Army with many fond memories of her time spent at Sandhurst. Summing up she said, “I would like to say a very big thank you to the Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the British High Commission and the Royal Military Academy for giving me this opportunity. I will use all I have learnt to inspire people to be better.”