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Return to Raleigh offer for former sailors trained at Torpoint

23 August 2023
Did you serve at HMS Raleigh and fancy a trip down memory lane – whilst also encouraging a new generation of Royal Navy sailors?

Then a new initiative introduced by the Torpoint establishment this autumn will be right up your street.

Once a term, the base is going to open its gates for a small number of former personnel to revisit old haunts, as well as watch a group of recruits pass out of basic training on Raleigh’s sprawling parade ground at the beginning of their naval careers.

Given that the base has been around since WW2 and has been the premier RN establishment for turning civilians into junior ratings since the mid-1970s… hundreds of thousands of men and women have passed through Raleigh before starting their professional training as chefs, seamen, engineers, aircraft handlers, medics, divers and more.

Raleigh’s Commanding Officer Captain Jane Roe is keen to open up access to the site for veterans eager for a nostalgia trip, but also to show them how training has evolved to meet the expectations of young men and women of 2023… and meet the demands of the Fleet in which they serve.

Due to pressures of time and the demands on personnel on pass-out day, there will not be the chance to visit old blocks, dine in the senior rates’ mess or drop in on the bar, or visit some of the more distant training facilities like Jupiter Point, the fire school or Pier Cellars.

But you will watch a training video to show how the Royal Navy of 2023 turns civilians into sailors, watch successful recruits receive their epaulettes, and tour a messdeck which is home to trainees for ten weeks.

After eating (paid for by yourself/or a packed lunch) you’ll move to the parade ground (or drill shed if it’s raining) for the passing-out parade.

Throughout you’ll be hosted by members of local Royal Naval Associations who also provide moral and physical support to trainees to help them attain their goal of passing out.

The first opportunity to ‘return to Raleigh’ will be on Friday October 6.

The initiative is planned for once a term initially and is only available to individual visitors, not groups (the latter are dealt with/hosted by HMS Raleigh’s Executive Department).

Space will be limited to 15 veterans, plus one friend/carer, with allocations made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Veterans should be reasonably mobile and not overly dependent on medical care, although wheelchairs can be accommodated. And you’re encouraged to wear medals and veteran’s badges.

If you are interested, contact [email protected] with the following details: Veteran’s full name and post nominals, date of birth, your date of entry into the RN at HMS Raleigh and your final rate/rank held. You should also provide your accompanying guest’s full name and date of birth, vehicle make, colour, registration and whether you have any mobility issues.

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