Two weeks ago the family turned out to attend the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst where Commissioning Course 172 had their big day eleven months after being dropped off with ironing boards and what seemed like several hundredweight of kit. A fabulous day it was too, as are they all for anyone passing out from a training establishment be they a recruit or an officer cadet. It was also my wedding anniversary. Days in life, never mind marriage, don’t come much better.
In his address, the CGS, General Nick Carter, said to the assembled cadets that he would give his rank, his way of life, such material possessions that he has to swap places with any of the young men and women on parade for the opportunity to do it all over again. Thirty six years after my own Sovereigns Parade I was thinking exactly the same thing. I suspect every other person there over the age of forty was too.
The day was not without a touch of circular sentimentality for me. When I passed out I did so with a fellow called Eddie Edmonstone next to me. Eddie went off to the Scots Guards while I went off to the Gunners. Today Eddie was there to see his Godson commission into the SG’s, as did my boy.
Like many, I enjoy musical theatre. The very best musical theatre though is to be found on the drill square and none is bigger, better or more emotionally charged than is Old College Square at Sandhurst. It was, no ordinary anniversary.