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HMS Ocean sea time for Oxford URNU Officer Cadets

1 February 2018
On 17 Jan 18 Midshipman Emily O'Donovan, Officer Cadets (OCdt) Emily Herbert and Luke Harris went to sea in HMS Ocean for a week to observe the aviation training that took place as well as to spend time with each department on board.

After observing the leaving harbour brief in the ACBR (Briefing Room) the pilot stepped on board and gave the OK for Ocean to slip her birth.

As she made her way out of Plymouth sound the pilot was disembarked and the group was joined by the Young Officers on board who took them for ‘Scran’ (food)  in the Wardroom.

The first day on board for the OCdts was with the Weapon Engineering Department which saw them accompany the Deputy Weapon Engineer Officer who conducted magazine rounds. 

Sea time with HMS Ocean was a fantastic experience for the Officer Cadets and was a great insight into life on board a big Ship.

Lieutenant Will Jones RN

It was interesting for them to see the vast spaces within the Ship that can hold enough ammunition to sustain a company of Royal Marines ashore for a month!

 Next, the focus turned towards the Ship’s main role as a LPH with an in depth look at the helicopters on board.

The OCdts observed operations from the Flyco as 27 Squadron RAF embarked along with their Chinooks.

As the first dog watch arrived, Mid O'Donovan and OC Harris went down the hanger to participate in a circuit training session led by the 'Club Swinger' and attended by several members of the Ship's Company. 

The next few days saw the OCdts undertake a whirlwind programme packing in everything from watching a Standard Manoeuvre from the Bridge to learning how to play Uckers with SLt McNeil in the Wardroom to a Task Book session in the Met Shack with the SMETO.

The SMETO also happened to be an ex Oxford URNU OCdt and gave up his time to educate OCdt Harris on synoptic charts and weather forecasting.

They were also given the amazing opportunity to tour the Flight Deck with the Air Operations Officer which included Chinooks and Merlins landing and taking off just feet away!

They also had the opportunity to tour the Ship's Operations Room and the Ship's ‘role two’ medical facilities, which contained a fully functioning Operating Theatre.

Whilst they were in the Sickbay, OCdts Herbert and Harris took the opportunity to complete the medical sections of their URNU training Task Books.

As potential warfare officers, Mid O'Donovan and OC Harris had several opportunities to con the huge Warship.

OCdt Luke Harris said “It was a privilege to have the con of the Fleet Flagship before she is sadly decommissioned in March 2018.”

OCdt Emily Herbert said: "My dad served on board as a Royal Marine when the Ship was newly built and given the family connection to the Ship I am extremely pleased that I had the opportunity to also experience time at sea with HMS Ocean before she leaves the Royal Navy."

On one of their final evenings on board, the URNU visitors spent a watch SLt Prior, the AMEO, and got fully acquainted with all aspects of the Ship's Marine Engineering systems.

The URNU visitors also had the opportunity to attend HMS Ocean’s last ever church service at sea.

Lieutenant Will Jones RN, Commanding Officer of the Oxford URNU, said "Sea time with HMS Ocean was a fantastic experience for the Officer Cadets and was a great insight into life on board a big Ship."

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

The URNU's mission is: "To develop an understanding of the Naval Service in undergraduates, so that those who go into civilian employment are positive advocates thereof and to facilitate a Naval Career for those who choose one."

The URNU is a chance to experience military life without commitment and gain new skills applicable to all walks of life.

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