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Father of S’porean best international cadet fell ill, died while cadet was on course in UK

Singaporean Best International Cadet’s father died while cadet was at UK’s Sandhurst

He was in the midst of a gruelling 44-week course at a prestigious British military academy when he received terrible news: His father was in critical condition back in Singapore.

Revealing this personal story on The Singapore Army’s Facebook page, Lieutenant (LTA) Nicholas Tang Qing Feng said it was in December last year that he received the alarming phone call from home.

Doctor advises family visit father

“My father was in critical condition and the doctor had advised that all family members to visit him as soon as possible,” he said.

After making urgent arrangements, he was able to return home, he added. “I saw my father for the last time before his passing”.

Then-Officer Cadet Tang with his sister, mother and late father at OCS. Source: The Singapore Army on Facebook

While speaking to his father, he had shared with him his achievements at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, adding that he was well taken care of by instructors and fellow cadets.

“I made a promise to him that I would win the International Sword for him and make him proud, and I am immensely thankful and proud that I was able to keep my promise to him.”

LTA Tang received sword from French general as best international cadet

The Singaporean was awarded the sword for his excellent performance during the Regular Commissioning Course intake 232 at the academy.

Source: The Singapore Army on Facebook

He received it at the Sovereign’s Parade on 12 April from France’s Chef d’état-major de l’armée de terre, the French Army’s Chief of Army Staff, General Pierre Schill, who was representing King Charles.

The Army in its post congratulated LTA Tang for his “outstanding achievement and flying our Singapore flag high”, adding that he had fulfilled an emotional promise to his late father.

Established in 1947, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is the officer training centre of the British Army, where officers are trained to take on the responsibility of leading their soldiers.


Since 1947, 5,400 international students from 129 countries have been trained at the Academy.

Source: The Singapore Army on Facebook

Pointing out that he is grateful for the opportunity to represent Singapore on an international platform, LTA Tang said: “All this couldn’t have happened without the help of my superiors who fought hard for me to attend the course, the emotional support given to me by my loved ones.”

Emotional support helped him get through difficulties

He also credited the long-lasting friendships forged during the course, which had made it one of his best military experiences yet.

Reflecting on his time there, the best international cadet said the course was not without its physically demanding challenges “that tested his physical limits and mental resilience”.

There was one exercise, for instance, that required officers to dig 24 trenches in 4 days. They had to dig for hours while feeling cold and wet, he said.

“Although many of us found it difficult to persevere at times, the camaraderie and encouragement from fellow cadets and instructors, kept us going,” he said. “It was tough, but truly very rewarding.”

Source: The Singapore Army on Facebook

LTA Tang said his time in Sandhurst has made him “more confident and resilient as an individual” and as a leader “who values teamwork and servant leadership”.

“Some invaluable lessons that I’ve learnt from the course is striving hard to remain focused and continue thriving in tough times rather than simply surviving, and becoming a leader who cares for his people.”

Also read: S’porean named best international cadet at British military academy, says he’s proud to represent country

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Featured image adapted from The Singapore Army on Facebook and Facebook.

Joy Fang

Joy has a soft spot for good food and believes there’s nothing better than hot tea, cake and a good read on a rainy day.

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