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New face at the helm of the home of the Royal Navy officer corps

19 December 2023
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The spiritual home of the Royal Navy officer corps today welcomed its 57th commanding officer.

At 39 Captain Andrew Bray is the youngest person in a quarter of a century to oversee the training of several hundred Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary officers every year, plus scores of cadets from the UK’s international partners and allies.

He takes over as Captain of Britannia Royal Naval College from Captain Sarah Oakley, who leaves the imposing red-brick college rising over Dartmouth for the corridors of power, working at the Ministry of Defence’s headquarters in Whitehall.

She took charge of the 118-year-old establishment in May 2022 and said her 18 months at the helm had been a privilege she would always remember.
“The opportunity to inspire and train the next generation of naval officers is one I have relished,” she said. “I am reassured by the commitment and dedication of the individuals who have chosen to make a career in the Royal Navy. I would like to thank all the staff, officers and local community for their support during my tenure.”

Her successor is the first logistics officer to head the establishment, holding a post held previously by names such as legendary submariner and VC winner Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, former First Sea Lord Sir Julian Oswald and Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, father of the current Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.

Captain Bray began his Royal Navy career as a cadet in September 2002. He returns 21 years later as its commanding officer having served extensive around the globe in survey ship HMS Scott, destroyer Dragon and, most recently, in the UK’s largest warship, aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

“I am delighted to be taking command of the college today. I would like to thank Captain Oakley for all she has done for the college, cadets, staff and our community,” he added.

“At a time when the importance of the Navy could not be more apparent to our way of life and national security, I look forward to joining the team and the local community as we work together to lead, mentor, and train our future leaders.”

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