Royal Military College, Sandhurst - Wikipedia Jump to content

Royal Military College, Sandhurst

Coordinates: 51°28′30″N 0°3′27″E / 51.47500°N 0.05750°E / 51.47500; 0.05750
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Royal Military College, Sandhurst
New College Buildings at Sandhurst
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleOfficer training
Garrison/HQSandhurst, Berkshire
Governors, commandantsList of governors and commandants of Sandhurst

The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, but moved in October 1812 to Sandhurst, Berkshire, was a British Army military academy for training infantry and cavalry officers of the British and Indian Armies.

The RMC was reorganised at the outbreak of the Second World War, but some of its units remained operational at Sandhurst and Aldershot. In 1947, the Royal Military College was merged with the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, to form the present-day all-purpose Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


The College at Great Marlow
The RMC cricket field, c. 1895
Old College building at Sandhurst

Pre-dating the college, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, had been established in 1741 to train artillery and engineer officers, but there was no such provision for training infantry and cavalry officers.[1]

The Royal Military College was conceived by Colonel John Le Marchant, whose scheme for establishing schools for the military instruction of officers at High Wycombe and Great Marlow first met strong resistance on the grounds of cost.[2]

There were already some small private military academies for aspiring infantry and cavalry officers in existence, notably one which had been operated at Chelsea by Lewis Lochée from about 1770 until he wound it up in 1790. But none of them had any formal approval by the British government.[3]

In 1799, Le Marchant established a school for staff officers at High Wycombe.[4] In 1801, Parliament voted a grant of £30,000 for his more ambitious proposals,[2] and in 1801 the school for staff officers at High Wycombe became the Senior Department of the new Military College.[4] In 1802, having been appointed as the first Lieutenant Governor of the College, Le Marchant opened its Junior Department at a large house called Remnantz in West Street, Great Marlow,[5][6] to train gentleman cadets for the infantry and cavalry regiments of the British Army and for the presidency armies of British India.[7][4] 1802 was the same year as the founding of the French Army's Saint-Cyr[8] and of West Point in the United States.[9] General Sir William Harcourt was appointed as the first Governor of the Royal Military College at Great Marlow[10] and continued in post until 1811.[11]

In January 1809, the East India Company established its own East India Military Seminary at Addiscombe to train officers for its armies.[12]

In 1812, the College's Junior Department moved from Great Marlow into purpose-built buildings at Sandhurst designed by James Wyatt,[13] and was soon joined there by the Senior Department, migrating from High Wycombe. In 1858 this became a separate institution, the Staff College.[4]

On the outbreak of the Second World War, many of the cadets and staff of the Royal Military College were mobilised for active service, but the buildings at Sandhurst remained the home of the RMC's 161 Infantry Officer Cadet Training Unit. In 1942, this unit moved to Mons Barracks, Aldershot, and for the rest of the war the Sandhurst campus was used as a Royal Armoured Corps Officer Cadet Training Unit.[14]

In 1947, a new Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was formed on the site of the Royal Military College, merging the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (which had trained officers for the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers from 1741 to 1939) and the Royal Military College (1802 to 1942), with the objective of providing officer training for all arms and services.[15]

Governors and commandants


The Royal Military College was originally led by a governor, who was a figurehead, often non-resident, a lieutenant governor, who had actual day-to-day command of the college, and a commandant, who was the officer in charge of the cadets. In 1812, the posts of Lieutenant Governor and Commandant were merged into the role of Commandant. In 1888 the two remaining senior posts, Governor and Commandant, were merged into the single appointment of Governor and Commandant, which in 1902 was retitled as "Commandant".[16]

Notable cadets


The most notable cadets of RMC Sandhurst include:


  1. ^ Cathy Downes, Special Trust and Confidence: The Making of an Officer (2013), p. 13
  2. ^ a b Major-General John Gaspard Le Marchant (1766–1812) Archived 2012-03-23 at the Wayback Machine at (Defence Academy web site)
  3. ^ J. E. O. Screen, “The 'Royal Military Academy' of Lewis Lochée“ in Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research Vol. 70, No. 283 (Autumn 1992), pp. 143-156
  4. ^ a b c d Sovereign's Parade Programme (RMA Sandhurst, April 2012)
  5. ^ R. H. Thoumine, Scientific Soldier, a Life of General Le Marchant, 1766–1812 (Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 61–79
  6. ^ Marlow Tour Archived 12 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine at (Marlow Society web site)
  7. ^ RMAS: The story of Sandhurst Archived 2012-05-05 at the Wayback Machine at, accessed 6 July 2009
  8. ^ Ecoles de Saint-Cyr at, accessed 6 July 2009
  9. ^ Stephen Ambrose, Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966, ISBN 0-8018-6293-0), p. 22
  10. ^ "No. 15377". The London Gazette. 20 June 1801. p. 691.
  11. ^ Visitation of England and Wales, volume 12,p. 29, accessed 2011-07-20; archived 2012-03-30 at
  12. ^ Haileybury College and Addiscombe military seminary (1822), p. 10
  13. ^ Sandhurst – Royal Berkshire History Archived 22 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine at
  14. ^ Training Archived 2012-05-05 at the Wayback Machine at
  15. ^ "Facilities in Sandhurst – 1937". Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  16. ^ Conference Room Archived 2011-03-14 at the Wayback Machine at (Sandhurst Collection web site)
  17. ^ C. H. Currey, “Denison, Sir William Thomas (1804–1871)”, in Australian Dictionary of Biography, archived 18 February 2011
  18. ^ Tony Heathcote, The British Field Marshals 1736–1997 (Leo Cooper, 1999, ISBN 0-85052-696-5), p. 114
  19. ^ Brian Robson, "Roberts, Frederick Sleigh, first Earl Roberts (1832–1914)" Archived 7 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008, online edition, accessed 4 November 2023 (subscription required)
  20. ^ 'Death of the King of Spain' in The Times, 26 November 1885, p. 7
  21. ^ Ian Finlayson, The Battle for Passchendaele: Australian Army Campaigns Series 28 (2020), p. 54 Archived 4 November 2023 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Hopetoun, 1st Earl of, John Adrian Louis Hope, later 1st Marquess of Linlithgow (1860–1908)" in Barry Jones, ed., Dictionary of World Biography (9th edition, 2022), p. 438
  23. ^ "No. 25105". The London Gazette. 9 May 1882. p. 2157.
  24. ^ Gerard De Groot, Douglas Haig 1861–1928 (Unwin Hyman, 1988, ISBN 978-0044401926), p. 29
  25. ^ Roy Jenkins, Churchill: a Biography (2001, ISBN 978-0-374-12354-3), p. 20
  26. ^ G. E. Cokayne et al., The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, vol. XIII (Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000) p. 258
  27. ^ "No. 27311". The London Gazette. 7 May 1901. p. 3130.
  28. ^ Tony Heathcote, The British Field Marshals 1736–1997 (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 1999, ISBN 0-85052-696-5), p. 213
  29. ^ Robert Skidelsky, Oswald Mosley (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975, ISBN 9780030865800)
  30. ^ "General K.M Cariappa Biography – General K.M Cariappa Profile, Childhood, Life, Timeline". I Love India. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  31. ^ 'Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  32. ^ Karl J. Newman, Pakistan unter Ayub Khan, Bhutto und Zia-ul-Haq (ISBN 3-8039-0327-0), p. 21
  33. ^ Ben Macintyre, For Your Eyes Only (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7475-9527-4), p. 33
  34. ^ Eric Pace, "David Niven Dead at 73" Archived 11 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times Obituary, 30 July 1983, accessed 11 July 2018

51°28′30″N 0°3′27″E / 51.47500°N 0.05750°E / 51.47500; 0.05750