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Families return to watch new Royal Navy officers pass out at Dartmouth

Friends and family were at Dartmouth for the passing-out parade
12 August 2021
A new generation of leaders today joined the ranks of the Royal Navy after successfully completing their training at Britannia Royal Naval College.

The newly-qualified Young Officers marked their formal commissioning on parade at the college in Dartmouth, in front of their families and friends – the first time guests had attended a passing-out parade since last August.

Passing out were 47 Officer Cadets, who had completed a 29-week intensive course designed to test them in a variety of scenarios: in the classroom, on Dartmoor, the River Dart and at sea on board an operational warship. 

They were joined on parade by 19 new officers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service and 15 former ratings selected for promotion to the Officer Corps. Both groups had completed their own bespoke training course.

The parade also included ten members of Dutton Division, who attended BRNC as part of a relatively new commissioning scheme for Warrant Officers. The division is named after Lieutenant Commander Brian Dutton, a highly-decorated bomb disposal expert recognised for his bravery in the UK and the Falklands Conflict.

We felt that Lt Cdr Dutton would be a fitting figurehead for Warrant Officers to look up to when they attend Dartmouth

Captain Roger Readwin

Lt Cdr Dutton, who died in 2018, aged 86, joined the Royal Navy as a 15-year-old boy seaman.  He was commissioned and specialised as a mine clearance diving officer in 1969. Lt Cdr Dutton was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal in 1974 for his part in rendering safe a wartime mine.   He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order as the leader of the team who removed a 1,000lb bomb lodged in the magazine onboard HMS Argonaut during the Falklands campaign.

Captain BRNC, Captain Roger Readwin, said: “We wanted to mark the route taken by those commissioning through the new Warrant Officer initiative and recognise the experience brought to the officer cadre by commissioning sailors with long service as ratings.

“When we were looking to name the new Division, we felt that Lt Cdr Dutton would be a fitting figurehead for Warrant Officers to look up to when they attend Dartmouth. We were delighted that members of Lt Cdr Dutton’s family could join as guests for the parade.

Passing out at BRNC is a great achievement and is a proud moment for all those involved; from the cadets, who have given 100 per cent to meet the stringent standards we have set for them, to their families and friends, who have encouraged them, and my staff who have worked hard to ensure the cadets reach their goals and realise their potential.”

Vice Admiral Paul Bennett was the VIP inspecting officer, taking the salute almost 36 years to the day of joining BRNC himself as an Officer Cadet. He was taking part in one of his last engagements before retiring from the Service, following a career spanning five decades.

He said: “It was a huge privilege to take the salute on this special day, it brought back memories of standing on the parade ground myself 36 years ago.

“All Royal Navy officers have a special bond with BRNC Dartmouth; it delivers essential training, but also forges relationships that are a bedrock of our careers.

“For me therefore as I leave the Service, it is an especially poignant moment, effectively providing a BRNC ‘book-end’ to my career. Those who passed out should be proud of their significant achievements so far and are joining a Royal Navy that has a very bright future. They will now head towards the Fleet as impressive young officers in the best Navy in the world.”

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