Monday 18 May 2009

Tales from the Academy – not your usual cadet!

The RMA is a great training ground for life. Young people with a wide variety of experiences from many different countries, cultures and backgrounds live, learn and train together in the Surrey academy and its surrounding acres of countryside.

Some cadets have great personal wealth while others come from more modest homes but upbringing is unimportant. Their shared Sandhurst experiences will give them a common bond throughout their lives. Occasionally there will be a cadet whose position in life has been exalted from the day of his birth and whose demeanour proclaims it daily. One such cadet, an overseas gentleman from an influential and important family, arrived at the Academy in a Mercedes limousine at a time when most cadets, if they had cars at all, were driving bone-shakers with no shock absorbers. He was also accompanied by a remarkable entourage of servants.

This cadet had been attended by servants throughout his short life (most joined the RMA at the age of eighteen) and he was accustomed to being dressed by them. Undoubtedly they also did all his 'bulling' – spit, polish, shine. One day on parade an eagle-eyed Warrant Officer noticed that the young man's anklets were upside down; he was given a loud and thorough dressing-down which must have been quite alarming for him. Later on, the hapless servant who had unwittingly dressed his master incorrectly was given a beating. I doubt he repeated the error.

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