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Naval college oral history exhibition

28 June 2017
Former Naval Officer Cadets can now be heard talking about their experiences at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in a new exhibition.

Sixty years of training has been highlighted in the exhibition of oral histories, known as Britannia’s Voices.

The two-year project has been made possible by National Lottery players through a £45,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and support from the Britannia Association (the college alumni association) and the Foyle Foundation.

The interviewees include a former First Sea Lord, the Head of Kenya’s Armed Forces, and His Royal Highness The Duke of York.  Some of those interviewed describe how their training prepared them to serve in World War II, the Falklands conflict and two Gulf wars.

The recordings were made by trained volunteers, who have also transcribed around 80 hours of sound recordings.  These will form an important archive for the college, describing life and training between 1930 and 1989 in the former Cadet’s own words.

This has been a fascinating project to capture the recollections of former Naval Officer Cadets who passed through the gates of BRNC.

Commander Rob Dunn

A book compiled from the memories of the former Naval Officer Cadets will also be available.  It has been written by Joslin Fiennes and includes a foreword by Admiral of the Fleet, The Lord Boyce.

 Members of the public will get their first chance to visit the college museum to see the exhibition when BRNC opens its gates to visitors on Saturday 8 July. There will also be opportunities to interact with the exhibition when it goes on tour in autumn 2017.

Commander Rob Dunn, the Commander of BRNC and Chairman of the Britannia Museum Trust, said: “This has been a fascinating project to capture the recollections of former Naval Officer Cadets who passed through the gates of BRNC.

"Some of those interviewees have sadly since died, which underlines the importance of oral history projects such as ours.

"I’m really proud of what has been achieved by the project committee and a group of highly motivated volunteers, with the support of the National Lottery and other donors.

"For those not able to visit us at BRNC, they will have a chance to see the results when the exhibition tours, and to learn more about the role BRNC has played in forming leaders – not just in navies around the world – but also in other areas of public life.”

To hear extracts from the recordings, please visit the project’s Twitter page @brncoralhistory

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