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Countess of Wessex salutes next generation of naval leaders at Dartmouth

Countess of Wessex salutes next generation of naval leaders at Dartmouth
15 December 2022
The Countess of Wessex today praised 200 future naval leaders at the most prestigious passing-out parade of the year at Britannia Royal Naval College.

Representing His Majesty the King at Lord High Admiral’s Divisions, the Countess took the salute as 170 Royal Navy cadets, 30 officers from international navies and 17 cadets from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary completed months of intensive training at the Dartmouth establishment.

Paying her first visit to the spiritual home of the Navy’s officer corps, the Countess – who is also the sponsor of Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring – told those mustered on the parade ground on a fine, but cold December day:

“This is a big moment in your lives – the moment when you become serving officers in His Majesty’s Navy, the moment when you leave all the hard training behind you and take up the mantle of responsibility.


“Until now you have been looking to others to guide you and show you the way. From now on, it is you who will be leading others. Leading – and leading well – takes skill. Officers who stand out are those who put the men and women with whom they serve first and in doing so seem to foster bonds of loyalty, credibility and respect.


“A new generation of naval officers is born today. I hope you will be proud of what you have achieved and what you will go on to achieve.”

The parade is the most prestigious event in the college’s calendar takes its name from the historic title of Lord High Admiral, typically the ruling monarch – although held by the Duke of Edinburgh from his 90th birthday until his death last year. 

The Countess was accompanied by the head of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key, and hosted by Britannia’s Commanding Officer, Captain Sarah Oakley. 

“Today is a significant milestone in the lives of all the Officer Cadets on parade,” said Capt Oakley. 

“It marks the culmination of their successful journey through Britannia Royal Naval College. For some it is the start of their careers in the Royal Navy, and for others it is just the next exciting step in their already-successful careers. Everyone has memories to share about their experiences during training, which they will cherish as they move forward in their journeys.

“Passing out is a great achievement and a proud moment for all those involved who have given 100 per cent to meet the stringent standards. I wish to thank their families and friends who have encouraged and supported them, and my staff who have worked hard to ensure the Cadets reach their goals and realise their potential.” 

Of the 170 Royal Navy Officer Cadets on parade, 27 had served previously in the ranks. Some 30 international cadets will return to their native navies around the world, while 17 Officer Cadets from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will go on to complete their training to serve with the Royal Navy’s vital support arm. 

Two of those who passed out were Officer Cadet Ryan Parker from Bracknell in Berkshire and Sub Lieutenant Jannell Adamsfrom St Vincent in the Caribbean. They are both looking forward to the next phase of their training in the Royal Navy.

“My proudest moment at the college was at the end of the final leadership assessment followed by running the ‘run off’, where we were all digging out for each other,” said Ryan.

“This is something I will remember forever, in particular the exhilaration of crossing the finishing line in front of the whole college that had come to support us.” 

“I am aspiring to become a Warfare Officer. My next two years are mapped out and I’m excited to be joining my first ship within the coming weeks, before coming back to the College to start my professional training phase, when I start the Initial Warfare Officers Foundation course.”

Jannell served as a rating before joining the Officer Corps and is proud of her time at BRNC. 

“I joined the Royal Navy as a Writer and waited two years before starting my officer training to become a Logistics Officer,” she explained.

“I enjoyed the sea training onboard a warship, where we worked along the sailors in the Fleet and had the same experiences, they have day to day. 

“Today I’m overwhelmed with mixed feelings, more feelings of joy, proud and happy feelings that I’ve finished and passed out, made some great friends, as well as made a difference for my island back in the Caribbean, putting St Vincent on the map.”

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