THE Royal Navy has unveiled a new £7.25m building that will be home to the service’s next generation of apprentices.
While being state-of-the-art, the centre at HMS Collingwood in Fareham will also be steeped in history – it has been named after Second World War naval hero, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay.
The late Adm Sir Ramsay organised the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, and planned the naval part of the D-Day landings in 1944.
His son, Major General Charles Ramsay, will officially name The Ramsay Building on Friday.
The centre will provide training for sailors to learn skills vital to their careers, as well as supporting the government’s initiative to improve literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.
Commander Sean Winkle Royal Navy, of the naval education and training service, said: ‘It’s a huge step forward to have this modern, state-of-the-art facility which combines both apprenticeship-based skills with the establishment’s education centre which is able to support all people working within HMS Collingwood, not just those on apprenticeships.
‘The location of this site is extremely important – being close to the new dining hall and junior rating accommodation, it’s ideally placed for trainees to drop in after normal working hours to use the excellent e-learning facilities and tutor support that is available.’
The building will also house Collingwood’s education and resettlement centre which helps prepare sailors for return to civilian life.
The facility will remain open at weekends and evenings to allow trainees access to its IT equipment and libraries.
Commander Bob White, who worked on the project, described it as ‘a superb apprenticeship training facility that will underpin the first class grounding that naval trainees receive’.
The construction manager for VT Flagship, which has worked with the navy on the project, Alister Brymer, added: ‘We are proud to have provided the Royal Navy with a modern training facility using state-of-the-art technology that will be used to train our servicemen and woman for years to come.’
A key figure in the war
ADMIRAL Sir Bertram Ramsay was a key figure in many of the operations that helped change the course of the Second World War.
Having joined the navy at 15 in 1898, he took his first command during the First World War, and was mentioned in despatches in 1918.
In 1939 he led Operation Dynamo, bringing more than 300,000 British and allied soldiers home in the evacuation of Dunkirk.
Following other roles in North Africa and taking back Sicily he was appointed Naval Commander in Chief of the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force for the D-Day invasion.
His honours include Knight Commander of the Bath, Knight Commander of the British Empire and Grand Officier of the Légion d’honneur.
He died in 1945 aged 61.