44 Weeks

ALWAYS LEARNING. ALWAYS PROGRESSING. WITH HEART. WITH MIND.

This blog aims to provide insight, highlights and an exclusive ‘cadet’s-eye’ look into the training that helps to shape the future leaders of the British Army.

Josh is one of the bright-eyed Army recruits currently undergoing Officer training. Despite the 5am starts and fierce ironing standards (he is a self-confessed “ironing ninja”), he knows this is exactly where he wants be.

“I want to work for my country. By the time I get to 70, I want to feel like I’ve done something with myself,” he says. In the Army, he certainly will. With an Army bursary paying for his degree, Josh has gone from his “bog standard comprehensive school” to preparing for one of the most worthwhile and exciting roles around: British Army Officer. Although he describes it as “daunting”, he also says it’s “incredible” – and he’s learning more every day. There’s no doubt that life can be tough. But with the support of his fellow trainees – and a weekly chocolate fix, sent by his lovely Nan – Josh is well on the way to becoming a capable Army leader.

  • Week 44: The Last Hurrah 1 September, 2016 - The last week of Sandhurst, this is a full week of drill, so if I am going to try and drag this out into another weekly blog, it could be somewhat of an effort. So I shall just talk about the only day that matters… and then the worst morning of my life! Friday, the … Continue reading Week 44: The Last Hurrah
  • Week 43: One more week to go… 11 August, 2016 - After this week there is just one more to go. We are spending an increasing amount of time on the parade square. I am in the Colour party so I have the honour of protecting the Queen’s colours, which also means I have the job of never standing easy. This is exceptionally painful whilst carrying … Continue reading Week 43: One more week to go…
  • Week 42: What is Serving to Lead? 10 August, 2016 - Command Leadership and Management module five… Human Resources & Admin! OK, so the title does not sound as exciting or sexy as a helicopter lift into enemy territory but it is possibly, in fact it is definitely, the most important part of my job as a platoon commander. Ensuring that my soldiers are well looked … Continue reading Week 42: What is Serving to Lead?
  • Week 41: EndEx, Berets and Champagne! 10 August, 2016 - The final week of Exercise Dynamic Victory. Long insertion tabs with half the world on your back, night raids, fighting in cave systems, storming urban complexes, having tanks in your platoon orbit, attacking two towns, black hawk casualty evacuations and the ominous Bavarian summer! The exercise was too packed. We have heard that DV is … Continue reading Week 41: EndEx, Berets and Champagne!
  • Week 40: Ex Dynamic Victory 3 August, 2016 - Week forty is the first week of Exercise Dynamic Victory. This activity includes a firing package, RSOI and deployment into the final exercise of the commissioning course, all of which is held in Germany. The exercise is meant to somewhat relate to an operational deployment, as we fly with the Royal Air Force and then … Continue reading Week 40: Ex Dynamic Victory
  • Week 39: In the wake to Dynamic Victory 2 August, 2016 - Week thirty-nine, the week before Dynamic, all spare time is given to moulding our new berets which we will be presented in three weeks time on EndEx of Dynamic Victory. This week was also exam heavy, a CABS exam and also Dynamic Estimate. Dynamic Estimate is a four and a half hour exam in which … Continue reading Week 39: In the wake to Dynamic Victory
  • Week 38: GEARING UP FOR PHASE 2​ 1 August, 2016 - Week thirty-eight brings about more academics and more physical demands. We kept looking at integrated operations and counter insurgency; after a while at Sandhurst you gradually begin to realise that insurgency may not be our greatest threat, but it is most certainly our most consistent one! We also went onto the confidence course again and … Continue reading Week 38: GEARING UP FOR PHASE 2​
  • Week 37 : Exercise Templar’s Triumph 28 July, 2016 - Exercise Templar’s Triumph, previously known as Broadsword, more commonly known as the exercise where you can get your head kicked in and conversely kick someone else in! But, on a serious note, the exercise looks at stabilisation operations with a thinking enemy and civilian population who could remain neutral, but with one wrong step, could … Continue reading Week 37 : Exercise Templar’s Triumph
  • Week 36: Ex Agile Influence 21 July, 2016 - Training as an Army Officer is not all war and fitness, indeed these qualities are pivotal to that of an Army Officer, but communication is just as important, and week thirty-six works heavily on that. The week is orientated around Exercise Agile Influence and a step towards Exercise Templars Triumph. Exercise Agile Influence works on … Continue reading Week 36: Ex Agile Influence
  • Week 35: Still going Range Qual strong! 14 July, 2016 - Yes… The range qual is still going! Last push now and then all things going well, that range qual is mine! At the end of this week we also get a long weekend, maybe not so much a long weekend home as it starts friday afternoon and finishes sunday evening, so to many it is … Continue reading Week 35: Still going Range Qual strong!
  • Week 34: Range Quals… 6 July, 2016 - There is no way that I can physically make range quals sound fun. It is not. It is totally and utterly boring. If I am honest, I struggle at the best of times on a sunday evening to compile my thoughts on the week and to try and jazz them up. But, I must be … Continue reading Week 34: Range Quals…
  • Week 33: Churchill’s Challenge 30 June, 2016 - Churchill’s Challenge is a weeklong exercise, which explores the complexities of urban operations, most notably, peace keeping and stabilisation operations. We deal with a small amount of public order training too; for a third of this phase we are kitted up with riot gear, head to toe with batons, shields, body armour and more. But, for … Continue reading Week 33: Churchill’s Challenge
  • Week 32: Fear, Exhaustion & Pride 24 June, 2016 - Week 32, feels like we have been here forever now! The type of week that we have had is what many Officer Cadets class as the perfect week, a fine balanced mixture of physical exercises, fieldcraft, lectures and platoon lessons. We started the week with an Academy sunday, which is basically a church service that … Continue reading Week 32: Fear, Exhaustion & Pride
  • Week 31: The Business Side of Life 16 June, 2016 - Introduction to 77 Brigade Introduction to Human terrain and strike ops Bayonet Fighting First week back of senior term, fourteen weeks to push! I say that but my training will not be complete then, not by a long shot! But, I will most definitely be commissioned and out of Sandhurst! From what I have understood … Continue reading Week 31: The Business Side of Life
  • Week 30: Ex Calpe Cadet 9 June, 2016 - April 2016 saw five Officer Cadets venture to southern Spain to scale some world class rock faces and gain their rock climbing foundation qualification. For the majority of our party we had never climbed before starting the course, and two of the five were not the most comfortable with heights. Our course had started before … Continue reading Week 30: Ex Calpe Cadet
  • Week 29: The end is near… 2 June, 2016 - It’s the last week of intermediate term, a term of regimental selection boards, developing complexities and also, it is the term when we can really act like an Officer Cadet. The saying on the streets is that intermediate term is effectively the end of our development, of course we will still grow in our own … Continue reading Week 29: The end is near…
  • Week 28: We are out of here next week!!! 26 May, 2016 - But in the mean time week 28 is range week. An incredibly fun week by all accounts. We sit the ACMT (Annual Combat Marksmanship Test), we go onto the grenade range and we also deploy onto Exercise Martello’s Sharpshooter (ExMS). ExMS is a two day range package where we get to fire our weapons in … Continue reading Week 28: We are out of here next week!!!
  • Week 27: Finding a home in the Army 19 May, 2016 - Well it is regimental selection board week, and what we are all here for is to find out where our home will be. For those who are unaware of what RSB week is, as I was before coming, it is where the Army find a home for you in the future, whether it be the … Continue reading Week 27: Finding a home in the Army
  • WEEK 26: The Regimental Selection Board 12 May, 2016 - 26 weeks in and finally the learning curve is at a humane level! This week and the next are mostly geared up for regimental selection boards, which is essentially the most hellish part of Sandhurst as it is where you and the Army, but mostly the Army, determine where you are going to spend the … Continue reading WEEK 26: The Regimental Selection Board
  • WEEK 25: WILL WE EVER BE READY? 5 May, 2016 - Week 25 of the commissioning course brings about Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) Module 3. In human terms, this is all about leadership within a moral and ethical framework. I won’t linger on the various definitions and rhetoric of morality or ethics – this week is aimed at how we should conduct ourselves in times … Continue reading WEEK 25: WILL WE EVER BE READY?
  • WEEK 24: Barbours, Baguettes and Beaches 28 April, 2016 - Exercise Normandy Scholar, no rifles, no stag, just seventy officer cadets storming the beaches of Normandy and the drop zones of Merville with their TAMs and history books. Normandy scholar is an academic exercise, considering tactics in a historical context. We have been studying the Normandy campaign for the past few weeks by now. We’re … Continue reading WEEK 24: Barbours, Baguettes and Beaches
  • WEEK 23: “Digging in” 21 April, 2016 - Week 23. It’s awful. I will never say that about Sandhurst, but if I found something good about this week then there would seriously be something wrong with me. It is pure and utter hell. I hated every second and never want to relive it. Ok, maybe I would re-show it if I had to, … Continue reading WEEK 23: “Digging in”
  • WEEK 22: Birthday time! 14 April, 2016 - · Turned 22 on week 22 · Division Curry Night · Regimental Visits · Pistol Ranges Week 22, I turned 22. The last three birthdays I had were spent at uni, with the rugby lads on a bar crawl in fancy dress, then onto a club to dance the night away. My 21st birthday I … Continue reading WEEK 22: Birthday time!
  • WEEK 21: The Beginning of Defensive Operations 7 April, 2016 - · Defensive Dream · Defensive Actions TEWT · Ex Normandy Scholar Brief · Ranges Week 21 is the beginning of defensive operations. This marks the beginning of an entire new set of doctrine regarding defensive operations. At first glance many of us stupidly thought that the British Army has not been on the back foot … Continue reading WEEK 21: The Beginning of Defensive Operations
  • WEEK 20: Brecon Beacons – home of the Infantry Battle School 31 March, 2016 - God’s country? Then God must have a fine collection of Gortex and hot brews! The debate of which military is the finest is one that will continue forever. One of the main calculators to the efficiency of a force is its training environment. Brecon Beacons is home of the Infantry Battle School. Every infantry Soldier … Continue reading WEEK 20: Brecon Beacons – home of the Infantry Battle School
  • WEEK 19: Allenby’s Advance 24 March, 2016 - · DIA Exam · War gaming · Army Fitness Test · Prep for Allenby’s Advance Week nineteen is without a doubt the silence before the storm, which will be ALLENBY’s ADVANCE. The program is more orientated around pushing our minds than our bodies. Nevertheless we still had a minor thrashing with the physical training wing. … Continue reading WEEK 19: Allenby’s Advance
  • Week 18: A Series of Introductions 17 March, 2016 - With week eighteen comes a series of introductions, such as introduction to company level operations, ambushes and operating in built up areas (OBUA). Firstly, I shall say this, company level operations are something that blow my mind. Considering they are just platoon level ops but on a larger scale, the pressure seems to be so … Continue reading Week 18: A Series of Introductions
  • Week 17: Exercise Wolfe’s Crossing, Room Inspections and more! 10 March, 2016 - We carry along with the normal running day, things just become more complex. One thing I have noticed is that things that at times felt irrelevant are now all coming together. Our lectures with the academics now bear striking reality to the tactics we get taught by military personal. The psychology lessons we received in … Continue reading Week 17: Exercise Wolfe’s Crossing, Room Inspections and more!
  • Week 16: Intermediate Term 3 March, 2016 - It’s week sixteen, or week one of inters (Intermediate Term), and in comparison to week one Juniors, it bears no similarity. There is somewhat of a drag of getting back, after all, with three weeks leave many of us had become used to sleeping in until our first meal was lunch not breakfast! Nevertheless, there … Continue reading Week 16: Intermediate Term
  • Week Fifteen: There are 15 weeks? What!? 25 February, 2016 - Sandhurst is a 44 week program comprising of three 14 week terms. But this leaves 2 weeks to answer? Well, we go and do adventurous training at the end of Juniors and Inters. For my peers, this compromised of parachuting, skiing, kayaking, caving, hiking and more. I went Nordic Skiing in, you guessed it, Norway. … Continue reading Week Fifteen: There are 15 weeks? What!?
  • Week Fourteen: The Last Push for Temporary Freedom 18 February, 2016 - Well Junior term is nearly over, the change amongst the platoon over the last few months is evident. A more disciplined group who now can merge in with their senior counterparts. Week fourteen holds drill session after drill session and bulling parade after bulling parade; interspersed with our end of term fitness test and a steeple chase. I … Continue reading Week Fourteen: The Last Push for Temporary Freedom
  • Week Thirteen – A Hunter Spirit Emerges 11 February, 2016 - Rain is falling horizontally, the only light comes from the occasional parachute flare which lights up a cold and wet forest. An eight man Recce patrol moves slowly and silently into a form-up point where we will prepare for the next stage of our reconnaissance patrol. It is pivotal that we get eyes on the … Continue reading Week Thirteen – A Hunter Spirit Emerges
  • Week Ten 4 February, 2016 - This week has been a mind-blowing week. Our ‘academics’ have picked up even more and now we are balancing CABS, DIA and War Studies. This was also the first time we met our War Studies lecturers; my gosh, can they put the fear of God into you. The academics at Sandhurst are world-class, and this can … Continue reading Week Ten
  • Week Nine 28 January, 2016 - Week nine comes directly after an academy weekend. The importance of this is that on this weekend, the division is even greater between civvy life and our new lives – most definitely more so than week five. I would not say that there was an immediate urge to get back to Sandhurst, after all, not … Continue reading Week Nine
  • Week Eight 21 January, 2016 - When civilians hear ‘Exercise Long Reach’, the emotions that are brought forth are not nearly the same as any Army Officer. Long Reach is one of the exercises that has transferred from the old commissioning course to the revised course. The reason why, I can only assume, is that it is a result of what … Continue reading Week Eight
  • Week Seven 14 January, 2016 - This week we focused heavily on the academic part of the commissioning course. It can be easy to move to a mentality of just ‘fitness’ and ‘leadership by example’ and forget the mental and agile edge, which has, for centuries, provided our army with the battle-winning components. However, this was rectified with a week of … Continue reading Week Seven
  • Week Six 14 December, 2015 - Weeks 1-5 can easily be summarised with hind sight as a hard fast and aggressive approach to military life. Rumour always has it that after that the course eases somewhat, in truth, this is little but a rumour. The only difference is that now you know how to function on the five hours sleep. My … Continue reading Week Six
  • Week Five 10 December, 2015 - Week five can easily be summarised by boot polish and endless inspections. This in combination with a shocking lack of sleep lead to some rather bizarre occurrences. Every Officer Cadet of CC153 held onto the same thought, at the end of this week, I have a weekend off, and so the pain of polishing, ironing, … Continue reading Week Five
  • Week Four – Ex Self Reliance 3 December, 2015 - Week Four consists of a six-day exercise out on either Barossa or Hankley Common training area. Six days may not seem like much to hardened war veterans, but to Officer Cadets who have only just finished week three, six days can feel like a very long time indeed. The twenty four hours before the deployment … Continue reading Week Four – Ex Self Reliance
  • Week Three – Slowly settling in until… 24 November, 2015 - Towards the end of last week we all thought we were getting a grasp of Sandhurst, our bodies were now accepting the four or so hours sleep a day and we had started to learn more about each other. Nevertheless, the weeks would carry on their current trajectory and increase in their physically and mentally … Continue reading Week Three – Slowly settling in until…
  • Week Two – The shock of realisation 28 October, 2015 - When I arrived seven days ago now, I took it all light-heartedly; there was no real shock of capture, instead there is what we are calling, the shock of realisation. This has happened amongst each of us at different moments, and whether it came when we were marching around Old College, or when queuing for … Continue reading Week Two – The shock of realisation
  • Week One – 100Mph 28 October, 2015 - Arriving at Sandhurst is an indescribable feeling, so many thoughts. No one in their right mind could ever think that day one, week one, they are ready for everything that is about to be thrown at them, but we can make sure that we are as ready as we can be. On arrival, there are … Continue reading Week One – 100Mph

2 thoughts on “44 Weeks

  1. Jayne Rex says:

    My son is on week 7…… wonderful to read your blog and understand what he is going through. This blog is my weekly read. Thank you

    Like

  2. James Cameron says:

    Excellent blog and has really helped my wife,particularly, who has little experience of all things military. My son is now in week 25 inters. Many thanks.

    Like

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