By Major Richard Penny, CCF Contingent Commander and Housemaster of Boyne House
The Headmaster, Dr Alex Peterken, and I were invited to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as guests of the Commandant, Major General Paul Nanson CBE, in recognition of Cheltenham College’s role as one of the leading providers of Officer Cadets to the Academy over the previous three years. After a briefing from the Assistant Commandant we watched the incredible spectacle of the Commandant’s Parade, which is the final dress rehearsal before the Sovereign’s Parade. This is where the Senior Division march up the steps of Old College, followed by the Adjutant on horseback, to begin their career of service and leadership.
After the parade, the Headmaster and I were joined by Rishi Ahluwalia (2010, Leconfield) of the Light Dragoons, and Will Charlesworth (2012, Boyne House) of the Household Cavalry Regiment, for lunch and an insight into the world of resilience, endurance, closed weekends, Sunday Chapel and sport (rugby for Will, British Army Polo for Rishi). There were many similarities in both ethos and outlook between the Academy and College, which recently provided eight young officers to a single tour of operations in Afghanistan.
The military link at College remains very strong, in terms of the success and variety of the CCF, our recent award of the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Award and not least through the 40 or more Armed Forces families that make up the College boarding community. The Officer Cadets were fantastic ambassadors for both the British Army and for College, and we look forward to seeing them explaining the Sandhurst experience and the life of a young officer at a future College or CCF talk.