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Oxford URNU takes part in disaster relief exercise at HMS Collingwood

13 October 2017
On the weekend of the 29 Sep 17 six midshipmen from the Oxford URNU took part in Exercise Trafalgar14 at HMS Collingwood - an intensive disaster relief exercise based upon on the real life experiences of HMS Manchester in St Lucia back in 2010.

The exercise saw each of the Oxford URNU midshipmen working alongside 2 RN regular young officers to form part of the command team with over 20 Phase 2 ratings making up each of the team's members.

Each team was tasked with tackling a series of stances on the fictitious island of 'Santissima Trinidad', the 10 stances simulated realistic situations faced during disaster relief operations.

These ranged from a Road Traffic Accident, Refugee Processing, Village Re-supply, Medical Services Restoration, Restoration of Order, an Armed Security Patrol and many more. 

The midshipman had the opportunity to put into practice the key leadership skills and techniques that they have learned at the URNU in order to overcome the challenges at each of the evolutions.

As the teams were competing against each other, it was vital to adapt and overcome every obstacle thrown at them if they were to be successful.

HMS Collingwood staff provided many additional distractions to complicate matters at each stance from thunder flashes, smoke grenades, firing blank rounds and acting as uncooperative, scared and confused villagers.

During the prize giving address by the XO of HMS Collingwood, Midshipman Josh Hatcher, Oxford URNU, was highlighted as the best performing officer for the exercise.

After the exercise was complete, all participants had the opportunity to relax and unwind with an appropriately themed 'Banyan BBQ' which allowed them to exchange entertaining 'dits' on the events of the exercise between their teams.

Midshipman Josh Hatcher, Oxford URNU said: "Although it was strenuous, all the Oxford URNU attendees unanimously commented on how exciting and beneficial it was to have the opportunity of taking part in the exercise."

Lieutenant Will Jones RN, Commanding Officer of the Oxford URNU said: "The exercise was a rare opportunity for URNU cadets to take charge of ratings in a dynamic and intense environment and proved to be hugely beneficial for developing their Command, Leadership and Management skills.

“I am immensely pleased with their performance overall, particularly given the level of comparative training they have received, and it is a hugely positive reflection on their efforts that the Oxford URNU has been invited to participate in the next Exercise Trafalgar in Mar 18."

The Oxford URNU members that took part were: Midshipman Josh Hatcher, Midshipman Emily O'Donovan, Midshipman Bradley Young, Midshipman Emily Herbert, Midshipman Rob Finch-Hatton-Mason and Midshipman Ben Clarke.

Oxford is one of 15 URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 750 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.

The URNU aims to broaden understanding of the Royal Navy among university students. It offers students who show leadership potential the chance to develop these skills through maritime experience and exposure to the Royal Navy’s values and ethos.

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