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Royal Navy officer goes solo on parade

14 April 2020
As Naval personnel play their part in helping the government deal with the Coronavirus, one Naval Officer has made history at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) by passing-out of training – on his own.

Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Matthew Poxon Royal Navy was unable to take part in the passing-out-parade with the rest of his entry held at the historic College on 2 April 2020. 

Instead a separate parade was organised, when SLt Poxon was inspected by the Commanding Officer of BRNC, Captain (Capt) Roger Readwin Royal Navy, and as is tradition, marched up the steps from the parade ground and through the main College door.

Capt Readwin said:  “The passing-out-parade is a huge occasion for the Officer Cadets and their families.  In these difficult times, families were not invited to last week’s parade to comply with the Government’s directives to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The current situation by no way undermines their great effort and determination to serve their nation as so many Naval Officers have done so before them.  My staff and I thought it was important to recognise SLt Poxon’s achievement and afford him the same right-of-passage as his fellow Cadets.  There is also an important lesson here for fellow Officer Cadets under training, in that good leadership is about looking after not only the team but also every single individual; congratulations to them all.”

I was in self-isolation when the rest of my entry passed out. I was disappointed not to be taking part in the parade, but I could at least hear it from my room. When Capt Readwin approached me with the idea of a solo parade, I was incredibly grateful.

SLt Poxon

SLt Poxon joined the Royal Navy originally as a Rating in 2010.  The 29-year-old reached the rank of Petty Officer before being selected for promotion to the Officer Corps and has previously served on the Type 45 destroyers, HMS Dauntless and HMS Diamond.

He said: “I was in self-isolation when the rest of my entry passed out.  I was disappointed not to be taking part in the parade, but I could at least hear it from my room.  When Capt Readwin approached me with the idea of a solo parade, I was incredibly grateful.  It was quite daunting marching out onto the parade ground by myself, with the rest of the Cadets and staff watching from the ramps.  At least I couldn’t be out of step with the rest of my division."

SLt Poxon was selected for promotion in 2017 and then spent a year studying for a degree under a joint initiative between the Royal Navy and Portsmouth University.   He achieved a First-class Honours degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering and started his training at BRNC last year.

He said:  “Coming from a Royal Navy background meant that some parts of the course were slightly less challenging for me, but there were definitely skills that I have developed throughout my time at BRNC.  I learned a huge amount from training and from the staff, of which I owe great thanks.  Capt Readwin told me to look after my people and serve with pride and that’s definitely a recommendation I intend to follow.”

In total more than 60 engineers, 50 warfare specialists, two Naval chaplains, five logistics experts and nine officers from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which supports the Royal Navy on its operations around the globe, passed out of the College.  All have undergone a 29-week course to transform them from civilians into Naval Officers.

While some will move on to continue their specialist training, others have been put on standby to join the Covid Defence Force to help the local authorities and other government departments deal with the Coronavirus crisis.

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