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Dad takes the salute at HMS Raleigh as his son completes training

17 July 2023
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It’s commonplace for proud parents to watch their offspring complete the transition from civilian to sailor and pass out at HMS Raleigh.

It’s pretty regular for mum or dad to be still serving themselves.

But it’s not often the Guest of Honour taking the salute is the father of one of those successful young sailors.

To the stirring music from His Majesty’s Royal Marine Band Plymouth, Recruit Tom Mackinnon marched out on to the parade ground at the Torpoint establishment in the Guard of Honour with his classmates from Gould 22/04.

Inspecting that guard was dad Commodore Don Mackinnon whose lengthy service around the world has included commanding international task forces in the Gulf.

Twenty-year-old Tom, originally from Portsmouth, joined the Royal Navy on May 8, having been inspired by the stories of adventure from his father and visits to ships and shore establishments.

“I have always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps from an early age, and want to make him and the uniform proud,” he said.

The young recruit was not sure he would complete his training but ten weeks later is convinced “that I have it in me to achieve anything”.

He added: “I enjoyed the physical side of training, especially Dartmoor, the obstacle and assault courses, and the demanding stretcher run. I even enjoyed the gym work, but only once it had finished!

I have always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps from an early age, and want to make him and the uniform proud.

Tom Mackinnon

“Life on the Messdeck is good. We quickly got to know each other and gelled through banter and shared adversity to be here today and Passing Out into the Royal Navy.”

For dad, Head of Defence Operational Capability in London, there was high praise for his son – and his shipmates. “Of course I am proud to see Tom on parade but I am also truly inspired by the whole class. Their turn-out and drill was exceptional and reflect the high standards of training completed here at HMS Raleigh.”
The commodore told the men and women of Gould 22/04:

“Today you pass-out as sailors in the Royal Navy, the finest navy in the world, a reputation you now also have a part in maintaining.

“It is an exciting time as the Royal Navy grows in both size and sophistication, with new ships, submarines and aircraft all incorporating the very latest advances in technology such as robotics, drones and  artificial intelligence, all increasingly employed on the front line. Today then is not the end of your journey, only the end of the beginning.”

AB2 Tom Mackinnon now moves on to complete his professional training as a warfare specialist at HMS Collingwood in Fareham Hampshire, before embarking in his first ship and his own adventures on the high seas.

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