Alumni Dinner 27th February 2016
- Published: Tuesday, 15 March 2016 13:31
Major Paul Rennie, Officer Commanding the Rehabilitation Division of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre - Headley Court, and who left the school in 1986 was Guest of Honour at the Alumni Annual Dinner on 27th February 2016. Resplendent in his Mess Dress and wearing numerous campaign medals, Paul regaled us with tales of how he came to be in such a lofty and responsible position after receiving an STM education. Leaving the school after completing his 5th Year (Year 11 for younger members) since the 6th Form had yet to be created he went to Welbeck College for two years before joining Sandhurst from which he passed out as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals. After a number of years in that regiment he resigned his commission and went on a worldwide “walkabout” before returning to education studying a Science Foundation at the Open University and then graduating from Bradford University with a BSc (Hons). He joined the NHS and it was whilst working in this sphere that he began to hanker once more after the military life and returned to Sandhurst, this time to be commissioned into the Royal Army Medical Corps. He has since added to his education even further, gaining an MSc from UCL with a speciality in Rehabilitation.
His tours of duty have seen him in Bosnia, Germany, Malawi, Hong Kong, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Nepal— which he has visited 10 times! He spoke movingly of how the discipline and training of army life helped to keep him sane whilst Camp Bastion was under attack and he couldn’t even ‘phone his wife back in England to let her know that he was OK.
He paid tribute to the education he received at STM referring to David Milne as one of his heroes and fondly recalled how he, as a big, burly hockey and rugby-playing 5th year had been asked to play a role in the school play as a woman— apparently to great critical acclaim.
He finished his extremely interesting talk by identifying the six key aspects of military life that underpin the philosophy of the British Army: Loyalty, Integrity, Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others and Selfless Commitment. Whilst he didn't say as much it's to be hoped that the beginnings of those values were sown whilst at STM with its clear Christian ethos and, as if to underline this, he finished by explaining that when visiting a war zone the army's attitude is that "we're not there to kill everyone, we're there to influence everyone".