There are certain places that are heavy with the memory of those that have gone before. Half echoes of the past, like voices heard down a corridor, far off but still present.
RMA Sandhurst is such a place, bustling as it is with the life of the current cadets it is also a testament to all those that have gone before them, not just in the memorials that stand proudly in the grounds but the whole place resonates with the remembrance of those that have passed through the gates. It is both poignant and proud, imposing and impressive.
Standing in the old chapel before a memorial stained glass window to the conflict in Afghanistan in 1919, one is reminded starkly of all that has been done before to protect and serve. Still to this day the dates on the chapel wall wait open as each conflict is listed with a start and a finish date, the Balkans, and Afghanistan remain obviously unclosed. The chapel, which seats close to 1,500 is still at the heart of the campus, and every part, every wall, window, pew, column and the floor is tattooed with the names of those lost in conflict. Gone but never forgotten, in a place which honours its heroes and does not forget.
Peter Miller (C. 1945-49), our guide for the day lead a wonderful tour, and our small group spent much time happily reminiscing on where they had marched, who they had been taught by, and who they been trained alongside. The name of Academy Sergeant Major J. C. Lord, MVO MBE came up a number of times in memorable stories, who started off in the Brighton Police Force. He also played rugby football for Brighton and Sussex. A wonderful tribute to him can be read here.
All in all, it was a most enjoyable visit. Many Old Brightonians have passed out of this historic and vibrant institution and enjoyed distinguished careers in the Armed Forces, and we are very proud of our connections with the RMA.
Those attending included:
Jeremy Hutchins (S. 1960-65)
Tim Loadsman (L. 1951-57)
Michael Hill (D. 1948-53)
Tony Merrifield (H. 1953-58)
David Snowden (D. 1959-63)
Rebecca Findlay (OB office)
Guide - Peter Miller (C. 1945-49)