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Navy leaders of tomorrow forge friendships forever after completing arduous officer training

13 April 2023
The latest generation of Naval leaders today joined the ranks of the Royal Navy after successfully completing their training at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

The newly-qualified Young Officers marked their formal commissioning on parade in front of their families and friends.

Passing out at the spiritual home of the Royal Navy’s officer cadre were 123 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 four new officers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service, two International Cadets (from Qatar and Ghana) and 24 former ratings selected for promotion to officer. All had completed their own bespoke training course.

The parade also included 14 members of Dutton Division, who attended the College as part of a commissioning programme for Warrant Officers. The division is named after Lieutenant Commander Brian Dutton DSO QGM, a highly-decorated bomb disposal expert recognised for his bravery in the UK and the Falklands Conflict.

Third Officer William Ward from Plymouth will soon be joining his first ship in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, one of the four Tide-class tankers which supports the Royal Navy’s operations worldwide.

“I have really enjoyed my time at Dartmouth after being a little overwhelmed at first. It’s been great to integrate with the Navy – professionally and socially – and I have felt myself develop as a person, develop leadership skills and confidence. I’ve also made some really good friends.”

 Midshipman George Tibble is a trainee hydrographic/meteorological officer who’s about to be assigned to the UK’s flagship, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“This has been a fantastic, really enjoyable experience… and also tough, but it would not be a military college if it wasn’t.

“I will take away memories for life from Dartmouth, especially the people I am passing out with. When you march and look left or right, you see people who’ve gone through the same experience, and that’s a great feeling.”

Midshipman Imogen Thompson from Lancaster will now learn the specifics of her chosen branch, weapon engineering, at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.
“Dartmouth has been a great experience, a place where I’ve made friends for life.

“Training on Dartmoor was cold and wet… although that’s pretty much a universal experience.”

Inspecting the cadets on parade – 39 years after he stood in their place – was Admiral Sir Keith Blount, who is about to take over as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), based at Mons, Belgium, where he’ll be responsible for the Operational Command of all NATO Land, Maritime and Air forces in Europe.

“All Royal Navy officers have a special bond with Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth,” he told those passing out.

“It delivers essential training, but also forges relationships that are a bedrock of our careers. You should be proud of your significant achievements so far and are joining a Royal Navy that has a very bright future. You will now move forward as leaders of our great Navy, working alongside our allies from across the globe with a common purpose.”

Cadets staged a ‘dry run’ of the parade yesterday in foul conditions, but the College’s Commanding Officer Captain Sarah Oakley said: “no amount of wind or rain will ever dampen the pride they or their families will feel”.

She continued: “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 career.

“Everyone has memories to share about their experiences during training, that they will cherish as they move forward in their journeys.

“Passing out at BRNC 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.” 

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