Sandhurst Sword of Honour awarded to Old Tonbridgian

Former Tonbridge student Tom Brown was presented with Sandhurst’s Sword of Honour at the Sovereign’s Parade on Friday 11 December. 

The Sword of Honour is awarded to the British Army Officer Cadet considered by the Commandant to be, overall, the best of the Regular Commissioning Course. 

Tom (PH 2009-14), pictured, a University of Bristol graduate and former Reservist, joins the Welsh Guards in the rank of Second Lieutenant.  

The honour marks him out as one of the finest young prospects in the Army. His leadership ability was examined against the toughest of self-driven competition, in the most demanding of training environments and at an institution, Sandhurst, with a world-class reputation. 

Tom credits Tonbridge, its staff and wider careers network for his development. He also praises Martin Brennan, Head of the School’s Combined Cadet Force, himself a former instructor at the Academy, for identifying and nurturing talent at the school. 

Tonbridge’s junior leadership and teamwork coaching, and its careers guidance, is widely regarded as among the best on offer in schools across the country. 

Tonbridge enjoys a strong reputation in its relationship with the Armed Forces, with former pupils rising to high rank, being decorated on operations, and recently leading the SAS. New books, including David Walsh’s Public Schools and the Second World War (2020), also serve as reminders of the roles played, and great sacrifices made, by Tonbridge boys in past conflicts. 

Tom’s achievement comes in an exceptionally strong officer recruiting year, with Sandhurst now exceeding Direct Entry Officer targets given by the Government. Though briefly disrupted by Covid-19 measures, officer training was maintained at full capacity in 2020 since accommodation supports social distancing. Sovereign’s Parade marks the culmination of 11 months of intense training. 

Sandhurst presents a model of moral, intellectual, physical and conceptual learning under the motto ‘Serve To Lead’, admired universally including in business.

In a year in which Old Tonbridgians have starred for England in rugby (Ben Earl) and cricket (Zak Crawley), Tom’s achievement is another of which the School can be extremely proud. 

* Tom joins former senior Army officer Seb Pollington (PH 1980-85) on Wednesday 16 December (7pm) as part of the online Tonbridge Spotlights series.

Pictured below: Tom, right, holding his award; and photos from the Sovereign’s Parade.