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 much can compete with home cooking and being able to sleep for as long as possible. Nevertheless, there was somewhat a feeling of comfort of returning to order and to your friends, military of course! Dare I say some of us even mentioned how, when at home, we had noticed that we may have acquired acute OCD when looking at our civvy homes.
A continuous pattern that you’ll observe in this blog is that at the start of every week we notice the subjects become more intellectually stimulating. This week we spent a hefty amount of time in Faraday Hall, where we do our academics. We cover subjects such as social psychology, behavioural science, politics, international relations and history, but all with a military application. This is backed by the idea of what is known as the ‘agile edge’. The British Army, small as it may be, maintains a high reputation due to the intellect of its Soldiers and Officers, we are what the ‘agile edge’ is. Therefore, Faraday Hall lectures are a pinnacle to our development, and as such, the Academy acquires the finest academics in their respective fields, something that is evident in seminars.
However, three other things stand out in week nine: Ex First Attack; Tactical Command; and Old College Sunday. Ex First Attack is a remind and revise of Self Reliance, going over a very basic section attack, for this I think our Colour Sergeant would agree that the heart and determination is there, we’re just somewhat lacking in skill. Then came the tactical command tasks, for those of you currently at AOSB, do not mistake these for the quiet fields at Westbury; they were essentially a day of pushing each other through water-submerged tunnels, bogs which can submerge a six-foot male and objectives which must be completed. Whether it be a casualty evacuation, moving ammunition or trying to get a local populous to aid in your task, you were guaranteed to get drenched and submerged. It was, as we would say, ‘type-two fun’… not very fun when partaking but terrific to look back on.
At the end of the week though comes Remembrance Sunday and Academy Sunday. In regards to Remembrance Sunday I think one word would suffice: Powerful. Stood in the Royal Memorial Chapel, surrounded by the names on the walls of the Officers who had once stood in our stalls and who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. This with the fateful words ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ above our heads on the walls. It really makes you think about what has happened before and what ‘you’ are expected to do in the future. Afterwards though we have Academy Sunday; this is where your family and friends come to visit and see what you have been up to. The Academy sets up stands and we get an opportunity to show people around our kit and general life at Sandhurst. I was particularly nervous, as my family are not a military family. However, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, if not finding it a tad bizarre. There is also the somewhat comical factor of watching the staff talk to our families. No-one is stood at attention, and my brain just could not compute why!