OV Lt Maddy Brownlow (S 06-13) kindly took some time out of her working day to join a Lower Years’ assembly and talk about her life in the Royal Engineers.
Maddy explained that her interest in the Armed Forces started with CCF at School, where she was in the RAF cohort, following her pilot father’s footsteps. Despite having planned from a young age to become a Doctor, circumstances changed and Maddy then studied Engineering at University.
As the RAF doesn’t currently require Civil Engineers, that led Maddy to look at a career in the Army. It takes a year’s worth of very hard training to become an army officer, learning to be responsible for men and women. She was honoured to pass out of the training with a Queen’s Commission, which means she is allowed to lead the Queen’s soldiers.
Currently a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, Maddy is a Platoon Commander with 30 soldiers looking to her for direction, guidance, advice, support and training. The Royal Engineers are soldiers in the traditional sense, but with the added benefit of combat engineering skills. This means they are called on to provide ‘survivability’, using their civil engineering skills to create shelters for example, to provide ‘mobility’ solutions, ie building bridges, and ‘counter-mobility’, which is basically stopping the enemy from being able to move…also known as blowing up bridges!
Maddy explained that she feels very honoured to lead people. Acknowledging that it is a challenge and not for the fainthearted, but that there is a constant sense of adventure. She and her platoon train incredibly hard together and continue to challenge themselves when in barracks and on exercise so that they are more than ready for the ‘real thing’.
Maddy shared some of her incredible experiences with the Assembly, including building in Romania working alongside the Romanian and US armies, which provided unique challenges with differing health & safety and design approaches, not least with the US forces using imperial measurements. More recently, Maddy’s platoon was involved in the biggest deployment since Afghan and Iraq, going to Liverpool to organise the (then) new trials for Covid Lateral Flow Testing.
With the benefit of hindsight, Maddy had some wise words for the Lower Years students: “Just follow what you enjoy, don’t worry about what your friends are doing, or what others say, and don’t be afraid to do what interests you. Challenge yourself, push yourself, and don’t be afraid to change your mind. For example, from when I was 10 to 18, I wanted to be a doctor, but then had to change my mind. I found that very difficult to accept, but it was actually the best thing I ever did!”
We’d like to thank Maddy so much for her time and sharing her amazing experiences with the Lower Years students, who found her assembly very inspirational.
You can read more about the CCF here at King’s Worcester by reading the latest CCF Biennial Inspection here: https://www.ksw.org.uk/ccf-biennial-inspection/