The British army’s officer training college at Sandhurst (think “West Point” in the American context) has invited a lot of criticism for this decision:
Britain’s top military academy, Sandhurst, has come under fire for renaming a sports hall commemorating a First World War battle after the King of Bahrain.
The Mons Hall — named after the 1914 battle where thousands died — will have its name changed to honour the Bahraini monarch who has given millions in funding to the Army’s officer training college.
The building will now be called King Hamad Hall and will reopen next month after being refurbished thanks to a £3 million donation from the king, who is the patron of the Sandhurst Foundation but is known for brutally repressing demonstrators at home.
Sandhurst has also accepted a £15 million donation from the United Arab Emirates to build a new accommodation block, raising questions about the college’s links with authoritarian Gulf states accused of human rights abuses.
Critics say the Army is betraying the soldiers who gave their lives and that Bahrain and the UAE are trying to avert criticism of their regimes by buying silence with donations.
The 1914 Battle of Mons was the first major battle of the war. Against overwhelming odds, the British Army inflicted 5,000 casualties on the Germans. At least 1,600 British troops were killed.