PASSING out of naval training in front of your family and friends is usually an honour in itself.
But for Sub-Lieutenant Oliver Hounslow, the honour was made even more special thanks to a charity award.
Sub-Lt Hounslow, from Portsmouth, has become the first to win the Spirit of the Royal Navy sword at his passing out parade.
The 24-year-old was singled out as the officer cadet who demonstrated the strongest display of the navy’s values throughout his 30 weeks of training.
Sub Lt Hounslow said: ‘The course has been incredibly tough, and to finish is an absolute honour.
‘Being awarded the sword is more than I could ever have hoped to have achieved, and has definitely made the hours of training worthwhile.
‘Hopefully in the future I will be able to rise through the ranks of the submarine service, using the skills I’ve learned to benefit others as well as myself.’
Sub Lt Hounslow joined the Royal Navy in November last year.
He spent the final 10 weeks of his training on board Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan.
The 24-year-old is a former pupil of Portsmouth Grammar School in Old Portsmouth.
He graduated from the University of London in 2010 with a degree in biomedical sciences, and also studied bioarchaeology at the University of York.
Sub Lt Hounslow added: ‘I joined the navy because I wanted to do something more active with my life.
‘Being from Portsmouth I’ve always enjoyed sailing in the Solent, and so as a warfare submariner I’m able to up my game.’
The Spirit of the Royal Navy sword was presented to Sub-Lt Hounslow by Lee Holloway, the chief executive of the Officers’ Association, which sponsored the new award. The Officers’ Association is a charity which supports anyone who has ever held a commission in the armed forces and their families.