Parade will move to the left by 90 minutes...

Well, it was never going to rain on this parade, which was brought forward by an hour and a half on the instruction of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst’s Commandant to protect those taking part from the day’s higher temperatures. The Officer Cadets of Commissioning Course 213 were on the parade square in front of the magnificent Old College for 0930hrs instead of the traditional timing of 1100hrs.

“The journey that awaits you is challenging as well as exciting. The demands of professional military service will be much higher as you grow in service. You need to equip yourselves with the lofty attributes of leadership, with a clear sense of purpose, to gain respect and trust of your subordinates." GENERAL QAMAR JAVED BAJWA, PAKISTAN’S CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF

In all, 208 Officer Cadets commissioned from the Sovereign’s Parade held on Friday 12th August with 41 International Cadets from 27 nations who will return to take up positions in their respective armies. Reflecting the Academy’s global influence, those international cadets came from as far afield as the United States, Albania and even Ukraine.

For this Sovereign’s Parade, it was Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa who represented Her Majesty as the parade’s inspecting officer. Among those on parade he passed by during his inspection were Officer Cadets, Muhammad Abdullah Babar Malik and Mujtaba Ahmed Malik both of whom were from the Pakistan Army and had the honour of being selected to be put through Sandhurst’s commissioning course. 

In his address to the Academy the General praised those before him and drawing on his years of experience as a leader and offered these words:  “The journey that awaits you is challenging as well as exciting. The demands of professional military service will be much higher as you grow in service. 

"You need to equip yourselves with the lofty attributes of leadership, with a clear sense of purpose, to gain respect and trust of your subordinates. It is only through development of unwavering trust and confidence that you will instil esprit-de-corps in your under command, which will hold you together in times of crisis.”   

"It sets the pace and changes the image for females that come after me. It will give them some encouragement to see that even as females we can achieve things that other males can achieve and we have the power and resilience to do whatever we set our minds to.” DANIELLA RAYESS, OFFICER CADET

Commissioning Course 213’s Sovereign’s Parade will live long in the memory for two individuals for whom the day represented a first and last. For Officer Cadet Daniella Rayess, she was the first female from Lebanon to graduate from the academy with a commission.

With a beaming smile and bursting with pride, Daniella explained her own position and joy at being the first Lebanese woman to commission from Sandhurst, "It sets the pace and changes the image for females that come after me. It will give them some encouragement to see that even as females we can achieve things that other males can achieve and we have the power and resilience to do whatever we set our minds to.” 

However; for the Academy’s Commandant, Major General Duncan Capps CBE the parade had an added personal poignancy for it would be his last as Commandant and his final duty as a soldier as he retired from service following the parade.

His last act to guide the inspecting officer, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, up those famous steps and into Old College, the same journey he took back in 1986 to the tune Old Lang Syne as he commissioned into what was then the Royal Corps of Transport and a career journey that would span some 36 years.