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Devon University Royal Naval Unit launched

20 February 2017
A brand new Royal Navy unit has been launched for Devon university students.

Admiral John Clink has officially launched opened the Devon University Royal Naval Unit based at the Royal Navy reservist centre HMS Vivid in Plymouth.

Admiral Clink, who runs the Navy’s Flag Officer Training Organisation in Devonport Naval Base, said membership of the new unit gave students ‘privileged’ access to navy bases and warships and gave them a rare insight into life in the Navy.

He said those that were thinking of joining the Navy would be much better informed having served in an URNU first and it has been proved they performed ahead of those without the same experience.

The Devon URNU is the best thing that could have happened to me

Tom Rayner

Admiral Clink formally inspected the students on parade from Exeter and Plymouth universities and complimented them on their professional appearance.

Lieutenant Commander Martin Hibbert, Devon URNU commanding officer, said: “I am very proud of my students.

“They have made a major transformation since enrolling in September in typical student civilian clothes and are now a credit to the unit and to themselves.

“It’s been an intensive few months working up to this launch and being confident enough to present themselves to an admiral for inspection.

“I am fully confident in them making a success of themselves and look forward to them continuing their training and experience at sea and enjoying the variety and adventure the Royal Navy offers. They are bonding very well as a unit and will definitely make friends for life here.’’

James Green, 21, Exeter University engineering student and the URNU Midshipman Student (URNU head student), has already been to sea in the fleet of university Navy patrol boats to France and Plymouth Sound and is on a Royal Navy engineering bursary until 2018 when he expects to graduate and join the service.

He said: “It’s been a fantastic time already with the Bristol URNU, because that is where I was studying, but I’m now at Exeter and the Devon URNU is much closer.

“The unit is already gelling fast and there’s a great bunch of people here.  I’ve already been to sea and will continue with navigation and drill training. It will help me have a great career.’’

The URNU aims to broaden understanding of the Royal Navy among university students, offering those with leadership potential the chance to develop these skills through maritime experience and exposure to the Navy’s values and ethos.

Although the URNU is not a recruiting organisation and there is no obligation to join the service on graduation, many students are considering joining the Navy. About half of the Devon URNU are strongly considering a career in the RN.

Tom Rayner, 22, is a postgraduate in international affairs at Exeter University and wants to join the Navy. He previously joined the Oxford URNU and has enjoyed sea trips in a P2000 patrol boat to Normandy and Portsmouth.

“This is a great way to combine studies with an adventurous pastime and get a headstart, as I see it, in a potential career in the Navy.

“The Devon URNU is the best thing that could have happened to me after what I experienced with Oxford URNU.’’

Henry Edwards, 19, an English and drama student, who has previously auditioned for a Gareth Malone choir, is on a Navy warfare officer bursary.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to join the Royal Navy, my grandfather was in the Navy, so the Devon URNU is a dream come true for me and it will be perfect experience for joining up – with challenging and diverse activities.’’

He said one of the attractions was the close bond forged in a short time between the students in the new URNU resulting from a common interest and joint activities including socialising together.

Other URNU benefits include experiencing military life without commitment and gain new skills applicable to all walks of life. 

•             There are 14 other URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 700 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.

•             To support the URNUs, the Royal Navy has 14 P2,000 Fast Inshore Patrol Craft

•             URNU members are taken to sea at weekends and during vacation periods. 

•             There are also opportunities to visit other establishments and ships, take part in sporting events and adventurous training.

•             URNU members wear uniform and are classed as honorary Royal Naval Reserves Officers.

•             Attendance at the URNU offers monetary rewards and the opportunity to gain CMI qualifications in leadership and management.

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