The Largest military graduation parade in Europe was held in Harrogate yesterday, the last to be inspected by The Head of the Army, General Sir Peter Wall.
In all more than 540 junior soldiers and staff from Cambrai, Peninsula, Alamein and Burma companies took part in the parade at Uniacke Barracks in front of over 4,000 relatives and friends. The parade, made up of seventeen-year-old students from two intakes, joined the college in Penny Pot Lane in September last year and March this year. The parade is only exceeded in size by the Trooping of the Colour held in London.
General Wall is finishing as Chief of the General Staff in September and the graduation parade at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate will be the last graduation parade at which he will be an inspecting officer in his current role.
The college now takes in Junior Soldiers on two types of course – a 20 week course and a longer 41 week course. The short course delivers basic training to the Junior Soldiers from Alamein and Burma companies before they leave to follow their longer and more specialist technical training. They also have the opportunity to gain Functional Skills Qualifications in English, Maths and ICT as well as driver theory training.
“Graduation is a proud day for our Junior Soldiers as well as for all of their military and civilian staff and their families,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lane.
“Their time at Harrogate has tested them physically and mentally, stretched them to new limits and greatly enhanced their talents and abilities.
“They can look forward to their specialist training before embarking on the busy, rewarding careers that lie ahead of them.”