LEOs at Sandhurst

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Mareike_and_Coen, Nov 11, 2005.

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  1. An English senior NCO whom my husband and I have had the pleasure of getting to know quite well in the last few months has been selected to become what I think is know as a late entry officer. Of course he is very proud of his achievement, and we are of course very pleased for him but are at the same time slightly concerned about the reasons for his apprehensiveness with regard to going to Sandhurst, which I shall try to describe as briefly as possible:

    According to him, he is of “very working class” background and considers his English not to be up to scratch. By this he means that apart from sometimes dropping certain letters he speaks with an accent which other English people supposedly considered to be distasteful. Not being English, my husband and I initially did not understand what all the fuss was about, after all even in our country we have different regional accents and no one cares as long as you are of upright character. Even in our country’s military we regularly have people selected/promoted from senior NCO to officers, and they are highly regarded because they bring with them the skills and years of knowledge that a lot of direct entry officers lack. The whole issue irritated us to such a degree that we did a bit of research on the Internet and were shocked to find out that class still appears to matter in English society, even though many pretend that it doesn’t. And we thought that it would matter least in an institution like the military!

    The last time our friend mentioned his concerns we did our best to build up his confidence by pointing out what we genuinely consider as his accomplishments: high degree of intelligence, quick grasp of theoretical, practical and technical questions, excellent communication skills, caring interest in the local community, just to mention the most obvious.

    He, however, seems to think that his “background” will clash with that of direct entry officers in Sandhurst, “the place that the types of Prince Harry go to”.

    So, what of this is actually true? Is there anything we can do to help him? Can he actually be helped?

    Thanks for your advice, and sorry that this has turned out a bit long.

  2. The team in the LEOC Cell at RMAS are fantastic and will be delighted to reassure him if he gives them a call. Feel free to PM me for contact name and number or phone RMAS direct and ask to be put in touch with the Late Entry Officer Course Support Officer.
  3. Well if it's a Black Country accent, yes it is distateful, and no he can't be helped - other than by ripping the pi$$ out of him (or his tongue).

    In the meantime, get him to take a Large Pimm's three times a day.
  4. I had a fantastic time at Sandhurst on my LEOC. My course was in 2003 and I still look back on it as the best course I have done in the Army. He can PM me if he wants any other information.
  5. For a horrible moment I thought, from the title of this thread, it was going to be about Leo Blair going to Sandhurst!!!!!!!

  6. If hes going on his LEOC then he'll have bugger all to do with the direct entry officers who are on course there.
  7. Just had a friend go and has had a fab time. He also has a broad native tongue. If all he has to worry about is how he sounds then all the better.

    They will all start droping not just letters when they speak it will be far more than that the anoubt of social skills training they will have to partake in!
  8. Your friend should not worry. I am not surprised that people may have a feeling that Sandhurst is a little daunting if they are unsure. He should speak of his concerns with the other Late Entry Officers in his unit who have done the course and they will be able to reassure him.

    The Officer Cadets host the LEOC students in the bar a couple of times and it is always a riot: the OCdts hanging off every word from the LEs. The LEs absolutely love to meet the next generation and get an understadning of this mythical beast. The OCdts only ever get to meet their CSgts and CSMs, and maybe their storeman LCpl so getting to actually meet a soldier who doesn't work at RMAS is a great treat.

    Naturally the LEs know every trick in the book including planting questions in the audience for when they give their presentations - so they now get Officer Cadets to be in the audience to keep the LEs honest!

    Your friend should not worry - he has been selected into a small band of talented men and women and should be proud of his achievements. He mustn't be put off by what can only be described as rude and disrespectful behaviour but I'm sure he won't be the first or last LE to bang out a subbie for being a pr!ck.
  9. Mareike,

    1. The Internet is a collection of unedited thoughts from people with time to spare...(sic).
    2. There is a difference between the classes in each and every society, in my opinion. A lot of countries just hide it better than the Brits, and the British way of dealing with the issue is to make fun of it. Which they do and very well, too! I wonder if your English education, which looks to be somewhat better than mine, exposed you to TV programmes such as Steptoe and Son, Rising Damp or The Good Life; all of which were merciless attacks on the English Class System!
    3. If I was really cynical, and I try not to be, I would write that there is now only one class in Britain, and that is the political class that was educated in Fettes, Harrow, Stowe and Eton, followed by Oxford, Cambridge and the posh Scottish university I can't remember (brain-dead). And that class now spends all its time pulling up the ladder so that no-one else can challenge it, whilst persuading everyone else that they come from poor backgrounds and want everyone to rise to the top! TB and RB spring to mind.
    4. Yes, there is class in the Army. We are drawn from a wide cross section of British society (except for the aforementioned political class...) and I would be lying if I denied it. It just isn't obvious to those of us in the middle or at the bottom, unless you want to look for it. I am also reasonably certain that it is a much more socially mobile Army (in terms of opportunity) than it was. I also note that we aren't yet charged for attending promotion courses, even degree courses (now there's an idea......just remember, I thought of it first!). If we are better at the job than our peers, we will rise above them (so that's what has gone wrong with my career, then?), no matter what the accent. (Although having said that, you have to be able to brief accurately and well, and a strong accent can be a handicap).
    5. If he has got this far, your friend will fit in fine. Once commissioned, no-one will look at him in uniform and see a Warrant Officer: all they see is an Officer.
    6. See paragraph 1.

    (throws grenade into pond and runs away for a few days)
  10. St Andrews mate :)
  11. Have no fear, the LEOC is a great course and should not worry anyone. As for the clash of classes, rubbish. The LE Officers only get to have a good chat with the Officer cadets once or twice. I know the guys on my course saw it as a chance to teach the cadets some proper England!!!

    Seriously, In 2 1/2 years i have heard of this so called devide between LE and DE Officers, but never experienced it. Generally the DE guys seem to appreciate that LE Officers bring alot to the party and don't beat about the bush when it comes to saying difficult things and telling a few tryths if need be.

    Tell him to relax and enjoy the ride, before he knows where he is he'll be really enjoying a new career.
  12. MS_Rep

    MS_Rep RIP

    Well all of us who work for a salary (even the Household Div :lol: ) are "working class" :wink:
  13. The British class system is very definitly reflected in the British Army. However one reason its survived is that the British system has always been sufficiently flexible to accommodate talented people from different social classes.

    Lots of talented soldiers were commissioned from the rnaks during the world wars. The Chief of The Imperial General Staff -the senior Soldier in the British Empire in the Great War 1914-18 was Field Marshal Sir William Robert Robertson 1st Baronet of Welbourn, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, DCL, LLD, who was an LE officer. Possibly the last to work his way up through all ranks to Staff Sergeant and all commissioned ranks to Field Marshall. He dropped his haitchs too.....

    Its only foolish and arrogant young officers who make fun of LE commissioned officers. In practice these chaps are some of ypour best allies. They know how soldiers and NCOs think and behave. They can be an invaluable second opinion on how you are getting on with your own SNCOs -and wqhether someone is short changing you.
  14. Seems to me this is a planted question or a very well informed foreigner. The 'long' preamble doesn't stumble and much appears to have been learnt about class on the internet. I wouldn't be surprised if Mareike was a bored DE or even an OCdt. I have attended the LEOC - it was fantastic and, funnily enough no stigma existed between the LE's regarding their origins. Mind you one pompous DE ass at breakfast made his thoughts known - and the compliment was returned.