Proud Mansfield woman graduates as British Army officer

Officer Cadet Jessica Parkinson, of Mansfield, after passing out.
Officer Cadet Jessica Parkinson, of Mansfield, after passing out.

A proud 26-year-old woman from Mansfield has joined the ranks of the next generation of leaders in the British Army.

Officer Cadet Jessica Parkinson passed out at a prestigious graduation ceremony at the world-renowned Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Berkshire. This followed 44 weeks of intensive military and academic training, combined with adventurous and sporting challenges.

Now she will be promoted to second lieutenant and given leadership responsibilities. She will be in charge of a platoon of 30 soldiers, managing their skills, workloads and welfare, and could even be deployed on peacekeeping missions or trips to deliver humanitarian aid. She is also guaranteed career progression through the Army ranks.

Jessica said: “Being part of an elite group of people who have graduated as British Army officers from Sandhurst makes me extremely proud.

“It’s one of the biggest challenges I have ever undertaken, but also one of the most rewarding. I cannot wait to put the leadership skills I have learned to good use as part of my new regiment.

“I would recommend a career as an officer to anyone looking for an exciting job away from the mundane nine-to-five. Or to anyone wanting to develop unique and lasting bonds of friendship and hoping to belong to a cause that makes a positive difference in the world, especially if they would like to move immediately into a leadership or management position.”

Family and friends were there to see Jessica take part in the graduation ceremony, known as the Sovereign’s Parade, which is a key milestone for every Army officer and has run for more than 200 years. After a formal lunch, the day concluded with a celebratory ball and, at midnight, the new officers displayed their rank insignia for the first time.

Major General Paul Nanson, who is the commandant at Sandhurst, said: “Our cadets have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but they will now embark on their Army careers with the same outstanding training.”