Sandhurst's First Female Commander - It's a Privilege to be in This Unique Position

Lieutenant Colonel Lucy Giles is the first female College Commander at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and an officer of the British Army's Royal Logistics Corps.

At this year’s Festival of Remembrance, Lucy accompanied torch bearer Squadron Leader Gemma Lonsdale.

Having served for over 25 years, her military career has come full circle having commissioned into the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) from the Camberley-based academy’s last female full company of officers in August 1992. It is a role 46-year-old Lucy feels very privileged to hold.

“I have to pinch myself really,” says Lucy. “Because, it’s an enormous privilege to be in this unique position, not only as the first female in 110 years to be at this academy in this role, but more importantly to have an opportunity to shape and influence the future leaders of our army.”

Lucy Giles
Lieutenant Colonel Lucy Giles (right) at the 2017 Festival of Remembrance

I Lead by Example

During her career Lucy has travelled the world and led her soldiers on operations and deployments in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, East Timor, South Africa and Northern Ireland. She spent two years as Officer Commanding 47 Air Dispatch Squadron, breaking with tradition as the squadron’s first female OC.

Married to Nick, an officer in the General Staff, and mother to Jessica, 11, and seven-year old Alexander, Lucy understands the demands placed on her family.

“It’s interesting to see people’s reactions in this traditionally male environment,” she says. “I’m a mother and wife of a soldier, so I am bound by juggling those domestic considerations as well as delivering a day job, so to speak.

“My team has adapted seamlessly to my approach and I have a lot of support to enable me to do this appointment and do it to a high standard and to the best of my ability. What that means is there is a lot expected of our permanent staff here, and their families and, as I lead by example, I encourage them to try and make time for their families.

We've Been Given Fabulous Opportunities

“My husband is really supportive of all that I do. We have to really make an effort to make sure we see each other because he’s busy in his command tour. So his time is with them and with me and the children. We have to make time to see each other.

“It is a bit of a juggling act but our eyes are wide open and we embrace the opportunity and we think we’ve got a great employer in the Army. And, we really enjoy it. We’ve been given fabulous opportunities.

“I’ve represented the Army in five different sports over my time; rowing, rugby, athletics, heptathlon, and orienteering. For the Combined Services I’ve done athletics and orienteering.

“I’ve kept up the orienteering. I’m a former British champion and I’ve just won the regions for nights, a couple of weekends ago. I’m the Army Night Champion and the RLC Champion, and I’m chairman of the Combined Services Orienteering. So, again, it’s leading by example.”

Women at War 100

2017 marks 100 years since the creation of the British Army's first all-female unit. Use our timeline to discover how the role of women in the Armed Forces has developed since the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was established. 

Explore the timeline

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