Thursday, 8 October 2009

DJ at the RMA

I came across these photos, while looking for my spats and they bring back such happy memories. They also show me wearing a VERY formal dinner jacket.....spats or a gaudy bow tie worn at your peril....laughing. My youngest son Chris had the honour to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the occasion was a Father's Dinner Night....and boy did they mean night!

These photos were taken way back in 1999....hard to believe!

By this time Chris had moved into Old College and was only 6 weeks away from the Sovereigns Parade where cadets are commissioned fully into the army. Their shoulder 'pips' indicating the lowly rank of second lieutenant are covered with cloth tape. On the stroke of midnight at the grand ball that follows, their partner to the ball is invited to remove the tapes. Parents and family are not encouraged to attend the ball...and is there any wonder....laughing.

The original design for Old College was drawn up by James Wyatt who also designed the RMA Woolwich building, but his design was adapted by John Saunders, architect to the Barrack Department of the War Office. The building was completed in 1812 by the builder Alexander Copeland for a final cost of some £350,000.

Above the Grand Entrance to Old College the pediment bears a roundel of the monogram of King George III flanked by Mars and Minerva, the gods of War and Wisdom.

Father & Son, both looking (and feeling) proud of each other

The cannon on each side of the steps include French guns captured at the Battle of Waterloo.

Me with officer cadets Chris, Steve and Tim, fellow members of Alamein Company. The rear of this photograph tells me it was taken at 3.30am...sheesh, I couldn't do that now!

The occasion involved us going straight to 5.30am, or so we thought. To 'blow off the cobwebs' guests were formed into ranks, marched three times around the parade ground and then into a hearty breakfast. We were assured by a very fearsome Company Sergeant Major Clarke that this was 'for your own good gentlemen'...gulp.

The custom of the Adjutant riding his horse (always a grey), up the steps at the end of the Sovereign's Parade dates from 1926 when Major (later Lieutenant General) F "Boy" Browning accomplished this feat, though there is no explanation for why he did this!

Have a great Friday all.


  1. Grand architecture, and you don't look too shabby yourself, Mick!

    Hmm, breakfast after the ball might not be a bad idea.

  2. Hi Michael,

    Lovely memories for you, especially of being able to stay up late! And I shall be listening out for any comments about "gaudy" bowties when we're at the Ball!

  3. The riding the horse up the steps originally, no doubt, had something to do with the amount of alcohol consumed by that time of the morning. Here in the west the tradition (to this day) is to ride your horse into the saloon. Nothing near as formal as in any color horse will do.

    Great tour through your memories. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Michael, you look fabulous and so do your guys in uniform....I do believe that if they had come to ball with you I may have been as star crossed as Miss Piggy! This is a great post...and BTW... I loved the bacon roll ups! Yum!!