|7 May 2020|
I feel a huge sense of pride and gratitude when thinking of the OIs who served in WWII. Pride to have been through the same school as them and now be serving in the military myself and gratitude for what they did in WWII and what they sacrificed.
The military had always been part of my upbringing with parents and grandparents all having served in either the Army or RAF. From as early as I can remember when thinking about what I wanted to do, the Army had always been the only real idea – I didn’t want to do anything else. As I learnt more about the opportunities for adventure, sport and operations, I became more certain that it was the only thing I wanted to do.
Ipswich School helped to cement my desire to join the Army as I spent four years in the School CCF. Probably one of my overriding memories from school is the A Level Geography field trip to Cumbria. Mr Welbourne, Mr Peyton and Mr Clayton as well as the Geography students spending a cold, wet but enjoyable week in the Lake District learning about the outdoors and developing our knowledge of Geography as well as having a great time with friends. A very memorable trip!
I started at Sandhurst in 2001 and was commissioned into the Royal Anglian Regiment in 2002. As a Junior Infantry Officer I served operationally in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Eastern Africa. In my early Army life the highlight was in 2007 as the Reconnaissance Platoon Commander in Afghanistan where I led a team of up to 60 soldiers on long range extended patrols into the Afghan desert and Taliban controlled areas. From 2008 onwards I have served in Afghanistan on another two occasions, once in Helmand and once in Kabul and on numerous occasions across Eastern and Central Africa, as well as more recently in Nepal. Now I am a Lieutenant Colonel in command of nearly 600 soldiers of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment based in Cyprus.
I am currently supporting the British Overseas Territory response to COVID-19 and ensuring there are forces ready and trained for whatever tasks the British government may need them to do.
I feel a sense of enormous pride to be part of a new generation of serving OIs and thank those before me who sacrificed so much.
Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wilde OI (1986-97)
Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment