Page 100 - The Chapka 2016
P. 100

  Iarrived at Sandhurst off the back of a busy nine month tour on Op HERRICK 19 as Squadron Second-in-Command of the Warthog Group. With the imminent amalgamation of the two Regiments and the glut of would-be Royal Lancer Captains, I was invited to throw my hat into the ring for a job at ERE. The Old College Adjutant post was guaranteed to be high on the posting preference list of every Captain for who the horrors of Sandhurst were now a faded memory. Every officer in the British Army could remember the entertaining Dinner Night etiquette lesson he received from the Old College Adjutant. Surely teach- ing Officer Cadets not to lick their fish knives was a gig anyone could be good at?
As fortune had it, I was the lucky one chosen to return to the place that many would prefer to forget about. Initially I had trouble adjusting to the environment where six years earlier I hadn’t been allowed go anywhere near the grass, had been forced to wear quite inappropriately short shorts for PT and where day- by-slowly-passing-day the fate of my very existence had lain pre- cariously at my Colour Sergeant’s feet.
However, I soon realised that the wonderful Academy was actu- ally a place of extreme enjoyment for everyone other than an Of- ficer Cadet, whose enjoyment should be crushed at every oppor- tunity. As I swam in Lower Lake during one of the hazy summer evenings I looked back at the splendid vista of Old College and soaked in what a privilege it was to work at such a historic place. The excellent gang of Captains who would become my dear friends over the next two years splashed in the gay knowledge that the Academy Sergeant Major was actually a very nice bloke, but we would guard this secret closely from the Officer Cadets.
Being surrounded by Footguards I quickly smartened up my rather shabby drill and remembered how to wear twisties in my trousers. The splendid ‘Adjutantal’ attire of riding boots and breeches looked particularly good when combined with my rusty old bicycle complete with wicker basket. My life started to be run by the day and week of the term (0800hrs Tuesday of Week 5 – Old College Adjutant lecture on Military Discipline in Woolwich Hall) and one could set one’s watch by the punctuality of the wonderfully run Academy. I would often field complaints from Senior Officers living in Chapel Square that the Colour Sergeants weren’t abiding by the curfew that decreed no shout- ing or drill was to take place before 0700hrs. Life at the Acad- emy was early, smart and often involved angry shouting Colour Sergeants.
Through fate alone the New College Adjutant was Captain James Howlin of the Coldstream Guards, who had deployed on HER- RICK 19 as part of the 9th/12th Lancer’s Brigade Reconnaissance Force , so he was already a good friend. He did a much better
Something strangely Blackadder about that pose
job at terrifying the Cadets than I did and he managed to punish my younger brother, who passed through as a Cadet during my tenure many more times than I did.
The Academy went through a significant period of change dur- ing my tenure. A new curriculum brought the Academy into line with ‘Contingency’ and the introduction of mixed sex platoons were two of the more significant changes. Neither were without teething problems but both were a positive step in the right di- rection. It was a pleasure to see the Academy moving forward with the times whilst continuing to deliver outstanding leader- ship training to robust and intelligent young Officer Cadets.
My greatest pleasure as the Old College Adjutant was to pay par- ticular attention to the welfare of the Overseas Cadets and to act as The Royal Lancer’s Regimental Representative, being one of many who advise the Colonel of the Regiment on the selection of potential Royal Lancer Officers. The quality of the first cohorts of Royal Lancer Officers commissioning from Sandhurst were, without doubt, the finest amongst the RAC and gave me an enor- mous sense of pride in our work.
I had the enviable task of riding the Adjutant’s Charger on pa- rade and up the Old College Steps for all the Short Commission- ing Courses. I also managed to ride on the Sovereign’s Parade when my little brother Commissioned on my last day as the Old College Adjutant. It was an enormous privilege to fly The Royal Lancer’s motto in a place where such formative impressions are made and to have had the opportunity to shape the young Offic- ers of the future.
  Smarter, more handsome and probably better
Why does he still have more hair than me?

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