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Prestigious military academy turns to Norfolk after coronavirus restricts travel

PUBLISHED: 20:43 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 20:52 24 July 2020

Officer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford, Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Officer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford, Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A military training centre in Norfolk provided the backdrop for cadets of a prestigious academy to be put through one of their final gruelling challenges before graduating.

Officer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, in West Tofts Camp, Thetford, Norfolk, Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireOfficer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, in West Tofts Camp, Thetford, Norfolk, Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Ordinarily, the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst takes its cadets abroad for the 10-day-long Exercise Dynamic Victory at the end of their 44-week training course.

Officer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireOfficer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

However, Covid-19 has meant the academy was forced to find an alternative location for the exercise, which is designed to put everything the cadets have learned to the test.

Officer cadets launch a platoon attack on a compound in West Tofts Camp, Thetford Picture:  Joe Giddens/PA WireOfficer cadets launch a platoon attack on a compound in West Tofts Camp, Thetford Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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Therefore, this year, instead of being held in Germany, it was held at the Stanta training ground, in Stanford, near Thetford,

Officer cadets evacuate a casualty during a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireOfficer cadets evacuate a casualty during a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

It was the first time in almost a decade that cadets from the academy had held the exercise in the United Kingdom, brought about by coronavirus travel restrictions.

Officer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, (centre) leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireOfficer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, (centre) leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp, Thetford. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Despite the location change, Colonel Adam Crawley, the officer in charge of all training at Sandhurst, said: “We have still hit every single training objective that we needed to in the term and on this exercise.

Officer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, (left) leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireOfficer cadet Peony Grainger, 24, (left) leads a platoon attack in West Tofts Camp. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“The terrain is slightly different, but the cadets don’t know the difference and the exercise they’ve had here will be just as testing and demanding.”


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