Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-first-female-cadet-from-nigeria-graduates-from-sandhurst-as-army’s-135-newest-officers-are-congratulated-by-french-senior-officerAlert – First female cadet from Nigeria graduates from Sandhurst as army’s 135 newest officers are congratulated by French senior officer

The first female cadet from Nigeria has graduated from Sandhurst as the army’s 135 newest officers were congratulated by a senior French officer.

Officer Cadet Owowoh Princess Oluchukwu, 24, was inspected by the head of the French Army, General d’armee Pierre Schill, at the prestigious Sovereign’s Parade.

The Nigerian officer was described as ‘very happy, very proud’ with a ‘beaming smile’ throughout the ceremony.

She was one of the international cadets who travel to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Camberley, Surrey, to receive leadership training, before they are commissioned into their respective militaries around the world.

Officer Cadet Oluchukwu will now return to serve in the Nigerian military where she is expected to join the intelligence corps.

Officer Cadet Owowoh Princess Oluchukwu, 24, became the first female cadet from Nigeria to graduate from Sandhurst

Officer Cadet Owowoh Princess Oluchukwu, 24, became the first female cadet from Nigeria to graduate from Sandhurst

The Nigerian officer was described as 'very happy, very proud' with a 'beaming smile' all the way through the ceremony

The Nigerian officer was described as ‘very happy, very proud’ with a ‘beaming smile’ all the way through the ceremony

Officer Oluchukwu will now return to serve in the Nigerian military where she is expected to join the intelligence core

Officer Oluchukwu will now return to serve in the Nigerian military where she is expected to join the intelligence core

An army representative said: ‘A lot of the hierarchy from her own forces were there to witness the event. By all accounts she is a very popular person judging by all of the people who were hugging her.

‘She is very physically powerful and was very intent on wanting to join the Nigerian military. She had a beaming smile all the way through.’

Officer cadets have to pass 44 weeks of intensive training, split into three terms, before they are able to attend the Sovereign’s Parade and receive their commission. 

The inspecting officer, who is known as the sovereign’s representative, was the chief of the French army – representing King Charles III.

General Pierre Schill was at the parade to also celebrate the 120th year of the signing of the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale, which marked the beginning of an alliance between the two nations that would endure two world wars.

This year was the 232nd commissioning course. 

The Sovereign’s Parade marks the passing out from Sandhurst of Officer Cadets who have completed the Commissioning Course and is the result of many hours of hard work. 

Dating back to 1948, it is held three times a year at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. 

The inspecting officer, who is known as the sovereign's representative, was the chief of the French army General Pierre Schill - representing King Charles III

The inspecting officer, who is known as the sovereign’s representative, was the chief of the French army General Pierre Schill – representing King Charles III

Princess Oluchukwu from Nigeria (2R), poses with members of the Nigerian army and the Nigerian Navy (L), after the Commissioning Course No. 232 Sovereign's Parade

Princess Oluchukwu from Nigeria (2R), poses with members of the Nigerian army and the Nigerian Navy (L), after the Commissioning Course No. 232 Sovereign’s Parade

The Sovereign's Parade marks the passing out from Sandhurst of Officer Cadets who have completed the Commissioning Course and is the result of many hours of hard work

The Sovereign’s Parade marks the passing out from Sandhurst of Officer Cadets who have completed the Commissioning Course and is the result of many hours of hard work

The head of the French army General d'armee Pierre Schill inspects the 135 Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers

The head of the French army General d’armee Pierre Schill inspects the 135 Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers

Dating back to 1948, it is held three times a year at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Dating back to 1948, it is held three times a year at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Officer cadets have to pass 44 weeks of intensive training, split into three terms, before they are able to attend the Sovereign's Parade and receive their commission

Officer cadets have to pass 44 weeks of intensive training, split into three terms, before they are able to attend the Sovereign’s Parade and receive their commission

It is the grandest day in the Sandhurst calendar as friends, family and VIPs gather before Old College Square to watch the cadets take part in their final parade. 

READ MORE: ‘As a father of two Sandhurst alumni, I know they’ll be full of pride’: King Charles references Harry and William and says he ‘remembers’ their own Sovereign’s Parade in poignant speech

During the ceremony, the Sword of Honour, the Overseas Sword and the Queen’s Medal are awarded by the Sovereign’s Representative to the top Officer Cadets. 

This year the Sword of Honour, awarded to the Officer Cadet deemed to be the best of the course, was awarded to Junior Officer H W R Webb of The Parachute Regiment.

The parade traditionally ends with the Adjutant riding his horse up the steps of Old College as he follows the graduating Officer Cadets through the Grand Entrance.

While at Sandhurst, cadets undergo rigorous exercises as well as academic tests.

King Charles attended last year’s Sovereign’s Parade which was the 200th anniversary of the event. 

His Majesty inspected 171 officer cadets, 26 of them international cadets from 15 different countries. 

In his speech, he said: ‘Speaking as a father of two alumni of this academy who remembers their passing out parades, I know they will be full of immense pride in witnessing you on parade.’ 

His Majesty inspecting the 171 officer cadets who graduated from Sandhurst in April 2023

His Majesty inspecting the 171 officer cadets who graduated from Sandhurst in April 2023

Charles with William and Harry at the Sovereign's Parade on April 12, 2006

Charles with William and Harry at the Sovereign’s Parade on April 12, 2006 

It is the grandest day in the Sandhurst calendar as friends, family and VIPs gather before Old College Square to watch the cadets take part in their final parade on April 12, 2024

It is the grandest day in the Sandhurst calendar as friends, family and VIPs gather before Old College Square to watch the cadets take part in their final parade on April 12, 2024

This year the Sword of Honour, awarded to the Officer Cadet deemed to be the best of the course, was awarded to Junior Officer HWR Webb (pictured) of The Parachute Regiment

This year the Sword of Honour, awarded to the Officer Cadet deemed to be the best of the course, was awarded to Junior Officer HWR Webb (pictured) of The Parachute Regiment

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers prepare in the new College Square ahead of the Sovereign's Parade at the old college

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers prepare in the new College Square ahead of the Sovereign’s Parade at the old college

The head of the French Army, General d'armee Pierre Schill arrives to inspect the officer cadets

The head of the French Army, General d’armee Pierre Schill arrives to inspect the officer cadets

Charles also attended The Sovereign’s Parade in December 2015, representing his late mother. 

Among those in the stands was tennis star Andy Murray’s pregnant wife Kim, who watched as her brother Scott Sears and his fellow officers paraded passed Charles first in slow then quick time. 

Officer Cadet Oluchukwu’s commission comes as women officers celebrated 40 years since the first platoon was commission from Sandhurst.

Until 1981, it had been exclusively a male establishment, while the female officers were trained at the nearby Woman’s Royal Army Corps College (WRAC) in Camberley. 

In October that year, the WRAC College was incorporated as the fourth college of Sandhurst. However, the female officer cadets remained resident at their own barracks, and were bussed across for joint lectures and training with their male peers.

After a period of transition, on April 6, 1984, WRAC Course 4 became the first to pass off the Sovereign’s parade alongside their male counterparts. 

However, they were not allowed to participate fully, with their role limited to marching on to the parade square after the male cadets had finished their drill demonstration. 

While at Sandhurst, cadets undergo rigorous exercises as well as academic tests.

While at Sandhurst, cadets undergo rigorous exercises as well as academic tests.

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers take part in the Sovereign's Parade

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers take part in the Sovereign’s Parade

Officer Cadet Owowoh Princess Oluchukwu (centre), the first Nigerian female cadet to graduate from Sandhurst

Officer Cadet Owowoh Princess Oluchukwu (centre), the first Nigerian female cadet to graduate from Sandhurst

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers gather in the new College Square before the parade

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers gather in the new College Square before the parade

The head of the French Army, General d'armee Pierre Schill looks on before the parade

The head of the French Army, General d’armee Pierre Schill looks on before the parade

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers gather before the parade

Officer Cadets commissioning as Army Officers gather before the parade

The soldiers will lead other men and women into battle all over the world

The soldiers will lead other men and women into battle all over the world

Officer Cadets pass the statue of Queen Elizabeth II as they make their way to the Sovereign's Parade

Officer Cadets pass the statue of Queen Elizabeth II as they make their way to the Sovereign’s Parade

Officer cadets will commission into both the British Army and many overseas armies

Officer cadets will commission into both the British Army and many overseas armies

Jo Myers, who was 18 at the time, recalls: ‘I was just sitting next to my Platoon Commander from 1984 and she was describing how she sat in the seats and was absolutely livid for the whole parade, because she had fought the fight to get us to be allowed to march on the whole parade and she lost, as we were only allowed to march on and up the steps and not march around. 

‘It feels unimportant now, but it was a big part of what she was representing, as she was our platoon commander at the time.’

Officer Cadet Emily Brothwood, who was commissioned as part of Commissioning Course 232, said: ‘I met six different women who had commissioned in 1984 and it was really cool to be able to speak to them about their experiences and how much better it is for us now, they had to commission into a women’s corps, we can commission wherever we want!’

Ever since, the female role at Sandhurst has continually evolved. The WRAC was disbanded in the early 1990s, with the remaining members transferring to Corps of their choice. 

The commissioning course was standardised in September 1992, and two decades later, in January 2015, platoons became mixed. 

Speaking to a crowd of gathered women, Major-General Zac Stenning, Commandant Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commented: ‘At the heart of what we’re doing is we’re preparing these young women to be combat ready leaders. 

‘They are of course in an army now where every avenue and every capability is open to them now, including close combat, and that’s how much our Army has progressed and that’s what we’re all very proud to be part of. 

‘But of course none of that would been achievable without the trailblazers that you all are.

‘Everything I see as Commandant in our next generation of young leaders, female and male, tells me that we’re in a very, very strong place. They’re committed to service and duty to our nation. 

‘They’ve got the character to inspire the integrity that people will trust them and perhaps most fundamentally, the respect for others that no matter what the race, creed or gender, that they know what’s right and the best outcomes come of them, the best inclusivity.’

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