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RBR cadets pass Sandhurst College course

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Gunning for success: from left, Officer Cadets Alexander Gibbs and Samuel Hewitt outside the historic Sandhurst officer training school in the UK (Photograph supplied)

Two Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers have passed a tough British Army course designed to train a new generation of officers.

Alex Gibbs and Samuel Hewitt both graduated from the eight-week Army Reserve commissioning course at the prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in Britain — the “university” for would-be Army officers.

Now the pair, who returned earlier this month, will go before the Defence Board, the final hurdle before being commissioned into the RBR as 2nd Lieutenants.

“Being commissioned has always been a goal of mine ever since I joined,” Officer Cadet Gibbs said.

The 25-year-old from Smith’s, who works in data entry at The Total Group, added: “The level of instruction at Sandhurst is second to none.”

The cadets, drawn from Army Reserve units, university Officer Training Corps from across Britain and ex-regular Army Non-Commissioned Officers, underwent a mix of classroom work and practice in the field, culminating in a weeklong battle exercise aimed at forging platoon leaders, with the opposition played by the soldiers from the battle-hardened Brigade of Gurkhas. Officer Cadet Gibbs said: “It really develops your leadership skills and gives a lot of personal character development — you definitely learn a lot of communication skills and see a lot of different leadership techniques.”

Calling it “absolutely amazing being in that environment with that level of experience”, he said that both were “honoured to be there”.

He added that both Bermuda recruits were told by training staff that their professionalism was good and that they had passed on their own merits.

“It does give the Regiment status as a unit that can fight and operate to that high British Army standard — and we now have a ton of contacts in postings around the UK.”

Officer Cadet Hewitt, 24, who is studying online for a University of London law degree, described it as “one of the best experiences of my life”.

“It’s always great to get out there and train with experts,” he said. “It was quite a bit of a learning curve with some of the course and the physical stuff was very challenging.

“I hope I can now be of use to the Regiment by taking the expertise we were given and using it, whether it’s leadership or the tactics we were taught, map reading or how to coordinate a platoon attack.

“When we go out there, we perform to a certain standard and the British Army sees the Regiment as an organisation they can rely on.”

Top brass: from left, Officer Cadet Samuel Hewitt, inspecting officer Brigadier Hugh J Robertson and Officer Cadet Alexander Gibbs after their passing out parade at Sandhurst (Photograph supplied)