The culmination of 44 weeks of dedication, perseverance and intensive training came to a climactic finale for 243 officer cadets as they marched on to the Old College parade square at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
This was, of course, the Sovereign’s Parade, one of the most prestigious dates in the academy’s calendar and for its Senior Division bringing a close to their time at Sandhurst as they commission into their chosen regiments and corps.
There is one priceless skill that Sandhurst gives you and that is leadership." Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Representing Her Majesty the Queen on this occasion was Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was escorted throughout by the Academy’s Commandant, Major General Duncan Capps CBE. The Prime Minister inspected the ranks of the Senior Division stopping to chat with several of the officer cadets.
In a time-honoured tradition, the officer cadets will have to wait a little longer to officially hold The Queen’s Commission, for it is at the stroke of midnight that they will at last, be able to call themselves British Army officers.
Addressing the parade, the Prime Minister said, “I am here on behalf of the government and the whole country to thank you. There is one priceless skill that Sandhurst gives you and that is leadership. The ability to inspire, improvise, to rally, to constantly put yourself in the shoes of others and to help bring out the best in them. Not to make them believe that you can do anything but that they can do anything. It’s fantastic that today there are soldiers from 22 other countries from Sierra Leone to the United States and I wish you the very best in your careers and I hope that you will look back fondly on your time here.”
It’s fantastic that today there are soldiers from 22 other countries from Sierra Leone to the United States and I wish you the very best in your careers" Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Following his speech Prime Minister Johnson then had the pleasure of presenting the four major awards: the highly coveted Sword of Honour went to Senior Under Officer Velocity Airey who is to commission into the Royal Lancers. This is for the Cadet who is considered by the Commandant to be the best of their intake. The International Sword was presented to Officer Cadet Hilscher of the German Army who was considered by the Commandant to be the best international cadet of the intake. The Queen’s medal, for the best overall results in military, academic and practical studies went to Officer Cadet Babbs and the International Award, again for the best military, academic and practical studies, but this time by an international cadet was awarded to Officer Cadet McKibben of the United States
Underpinning its position as a global centre of excellence for leadership training there were 42 cadets from 22 countries around the world including: Ukraine, Sierra Leone and the United States. They return to take up their commissions in their respective countries’ armies knowing they will have received some of the best military leadership training available.