Royal Navy recruits first in half a century to complete training at HMS Collingwood
THE first men and women to be transformed from civilians to sailors at HMS Collingwood in more than half a century have completed their training.
Eleven recruits finished three months of training at the Fareham base, passing out as able seamen as they prepare to begin professional careers as engineers, warfare specialists and nurses in the Royal Navy.
They are the first of 500 raw recruits to be trained at Collingwood this year – with another 1,000 expected by the end of 2022 as the navy looks to boost numbers by 3,000 to meet the global missions expected under the Defence Review.
Collingwood is due to take on training for the next two years due to the usual base at HMS Raleigh being at full capacity. Training was undertaken at Collingwood during the Second World War before ending in the 1970s.
Training finished last week at Browndown Camp near Gosport after the recruits started out in Collingwood in January.
The 11 members are part of Perkins Division, named after the first black commissioned officer, Captain John Perkins, an 18th century contemporary of Admiral Nelson.
Jasmine Savage, from Canterbury, has now reported for duty at Queen Alexandra Hospital as a newly-qualified Naval Nurse.
‘Training has been challenging at times but it’s meant to be. I have been able to grow as a person while doing it. I think I have taken to it like a duck to water,’ she said.
Luke Gaskin, 17, from Darlington will remain at Collingwood to complete his training as a weapon engineer.
‘The training has been very difficult for me. Because of my age, it has brought a lot of new experiences. Sharing a mess with an older bunch of people was something I had to get used to, it was hard to adapt to that,’ he said.
Divisional instructor Leading Hand, Sam Mullane, said: ‘A highlight for me has been seeing the final product. When they were in week one, they were working as individuals, were stressed and time management was bad.
‘But now, they are a well-oiled machine and you can see them less stressed and coming together and working well.’