PORTSMOUTH reservist Clive Bull believes he is the oldest midshipman in the navy at the age of 50 – having endured two weeks of training at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.
Mr Bull, who turns 51 next month, was on the course with 10 other officer cadets and is a member of unit HMS King Alfred, based at Whale Island, Portsmouth.
He said: ‘I wanted to get fit, develop new skills and do something that I have never done before. The Royal Naval Reserve has certainly delivered on these.
‘I am fitter than I ever have been I have developed transferable skills that have helped me in my job – and I have had some fantastic experiences that money couldn't buy.’
The 16-day RNR course which Clive undertook is known for its high intensity.
It includes weapons training, ceremonial training, strategic studies, practical and theoretical leadership development along with the strenuous physical sessions.
Three days were spent refining his boat skills on the River Dart.
Mid Bull said: ‘Without a doubt the highlight of my training was my passing out parade. It was the culmination of 16 days of hard training and months of physical and mental preparation.
‘I was incredibly proud of myself and the other officers who passed out with me. It was hard but a very worthwhile journey for all of us.’
Mid Bull’s late father, Peter, previously served in the Royal Navy.
Mid Bull said: ‘My father joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor and served in Suez and Cyprus as an able rate.
‘As a contrast, he was the youngest sailor aboard his ship, while I reckon I’m the oldest midshipman in the RNR and probably also in the wider navy.’