Royal Navy sailors and officers make history after passing out together for first time

HISTORY was made when Royal Navy sailors and officers passed out side-by-side for the first time.

By Steve Deeks
Friday, 14th August 2020, 9:53 am
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 1:28 pm

A unique ceremony to mark 34 ratings and 130 officers completing their training was held at the parade ground at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth – the spiritual home of the officer cadre for the past 115 years.

Britain’s most senior sailor, First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin, welcomed the ratings – who formed a guard of honour – and officers into the naval family as the guest of honour.

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For the first time in the history of the Royal Navy sailors and officers passed out side-by-side at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth Picture: MoD Crown Copyright

The nine-week transformation from civilian to sailor usually takes place at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint but was held at Dartmouth after an extra course was put on there following a surge of interest in joining the navy.

Of the officers passing-out, 98 completed a 29-week initial training programme, while 28 more underwent the transition from ratings.

Four nursing officers of the Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service, 11 new officers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service and 28 international cadets from 13 overseas nations also completed their training.

Most officers passing-out started training in January before being tested on Dartmoor and River Dart as well as spending time at sea on board an operational warship.

Admiral Radakin said: ‘This is a historic occasion – and it is historic on two levels. It is of course the first time that we have ever had officers and ratings training together, and passing-out together, at Dartmouth.

‘But it is also a historic occasion for each and every one of you. You will always remember this day as the real start of your naval career.

‘That applies to all of you on parade, officers and ratings, regardless of your specialisation or which country you come from. You have made a commitment to put yourself in harm’s way. To serve your country.

‘And to do so cheerfully, with determination and in the face of whatever challenges may come. You should all be enormously proud of yourselves.’

Among the ratings completing training was engineering technician Sarah-Jayne Stoppel, 24, from Northampton.

‘The course has been good, but some parts have been really challenging, particularly the Initial Military Fitness because it’s quite intense,’ she said.

Fellow engineering technician Lucas Cann, 18, from South Wales said: ‘I have made friends for life. I don’t have words to describe how good it feels to complete this course.

‘There was no pressure from the Royal Navy, but as a group we got together and decided that we had to make an impression being the first to train here.’

Captain Roger Readwin, Captain of BRNC, said: ‘It is magnificent to see them all standing side-by-side, as they will at sea in the years to come. Our people are the lifeblood of the Royal Navy.

‘They have all worked hard to meet the stringent standards and thoroughly deserve their place on this historic parade ground.’

Both BRNC and HMS Raleigh have continued to train throughout the pandemic to provide the front-line fleet with fresh blood.

A further class of ratings will begin training at Dartmouth in October.

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