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        HMS Explorer

        HMS Explorer

        HMS Explorer is based at Kingston-upon-Hull, her specific role is to provide sea training opportunities for undergraduates from the Universities of Yorkshire including (but not limited to) Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. She is also available at any time to conduct military tasking as directed by the Commander in Chief Fleet.


        HMS Explorer

        The undergraduates who train on HMS Explorer are members of the Yorkshire Universities Royal Naval Unit based at Carlton Barracks, Leeds.

        They are studying towards a variety of degrees and from a wide range of backgrounds; their common ground is a general interest in the Royal Navy (not necessarily as a career), a positive attitude to embrace new challenges and the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow.

        Upon a successful first year of training, members are awarded the honorary rank of midshipmen.

        The Yorkshire Universities Royal Naval Unit recruits its new entry undergraduates in the month of September each year. If you are interested in joining (remember this is University Royal Naval Unit and NOT the Royal Navy – therefore there is no liability for call up) take a look at the Yorkshire URNU pages for more information and contact us at:

        Yorkshire URNU
        Carr Lodge
        Carlton Barracks
        Carlton Gate
        LS7 1HE

        Contact us by phone - 01904 668688, or email - navytrgbrnc-urnuyorkssec@mod.uk, if you want to apply and do something amazing during your time at university.


        Dafydd Bryden

        Dafydd Bryden
        HMS Campbeltown, HMS Westminster
        Military experience

        Lieutenant Bryden was raised and educated in Conwy, North Wales. He joined the Royal Navy in 2002 as a Naval College Entrant following the completion of his A-Levels.

        After a year of Initial Officer Training and academic studies at BRNC he joined HMS Invincible for Common Fleet Training. A four month period onboard whilst she was working up her air group provided ideal experience to pass his Fleet Board and proceed to Specialist Fleet Training onboard HMS Manchester.

        During 6 months of specific navigation and warfare training with HMS Manchester he was involved with another work-up and a short deployment to Norway as part of an amphibious task group for cold weather exercises. On completion of his Specialist Fleet Training he completed the Junior Warfare Officer Course and was awarded his Navigation Watch Certificate in late 2004.

        For his first complement appointment he joined HMS Middleton as the Navigating Officer and spent two years experiencing a wide variety of roles from Fishery Protection duties to a NATO Mine Countermeasure deployment around Northern Europe. Specific highlights of this period included clearing legacy Second World War ordnance from the River Mersey and Baltic Sea, and also navigating through the scenic Norwegian Inner Leads.

        In 2007 he joined HMS Campbeltown as the Signal Communications Officer and First Officer of the Watch. It was an eighteen month appointment that included a short return to the Baltic for a major multinational exercise with NATO and the Russian Navy, and also an eight month deployment East of Suez contributing to Coalition Maritime Forces around the Horn of Africa and Northern Arabian Gulf. The majority of this deployment was spent providing force protection to Iraqi oil platforms and counter piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.

        He was then appointed to HMS Westminster as the Navigating Officer in 2009 during which time she was tasked with providing Maritime Security around home waters and participated in naval exercises in Norway and the Western Mediterranean.

        During a period of upkeep he completed the Initial Command and Staff Course (Maritime) at the Joint Services Command and Staff College Shrivenham. On leaving HMS Westminster he spent three months as the Area Careers Liaison Officer to North Wales and Shropshire, responsible for the recruitment and mentoring of officer candidates thorough the selection process.

        In July 2011 he assumed command of HMS Explorer and Yorkshire University Royal Navy Unit.

        Lieutenant Bryden lives locally in Yorkshire and during his spare time enjoys mountaineering, sailing, sea kayaking and occasionally attempts a round of golf.




        Explorer ventures down the Humber to shed light on life in the Royal Navy
        Explorer ventures down the Humber to shed light on life in the Royal Navy
        02 December 2013

        University boat HMS Explorer joined forces with police on the...

        Sunderland Air Show Exploits
        Sunderland Air Show Exploits
        06 August 2013

        Birmingham URNU and the ship's company of HMS Exploit (...

        Yorkshire students get a taste of the Royal Navy
        Yorkshire students get a taste of the Royal Navy
        01 August 2013

        Students from universities in Yorkshire have swapped their studies for...

        Birmingham URNU Exploration and Exploits in the Baltic
        Birmingham URNU Exploration and Exploits in the Baltic
        15 July 2013

        HMS Explorer, Birmingham University Royal Naval Unit’s temporary patrol ship...


        University Training

        CURRENT STATUS: active

        To provide high-quality sea training experiences to undergraduates from universities, developing seamanship, teambuilding and leadership skills in a maritime environment. These ships also support the Fleet in a range of tasking around the UK and European waters, showing the White Ensign in places that larger vessels cannot reach.















        Top Speed


        Range (Nautical)

        550nautical miles

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        HMS Explorer HISTORY

        • Ship History

          HMS Explorer is the second ship to bear the name; her predecessor was an unarmed experimental Walter-turbine submarine built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow. She was launched in 1956.

        • HMS 'Exploder'

          Explorer had so many teething troubles that her first captain never took her to sea. However, when she eventually made an appearance captained by Cdr Christopher Russell in 1958, she was impressively fast, with submerged speeds of 25 knots were achieved - with retractable superstructure fittings aiding the streamlined hull-form. Provisionally accepted from Vickers in March 1958, HMS Explorer was built at a cost of £1,142,000. She was fitted with the latest submarine escape arrangements including the one-man escape chamber and equipped with the most modem escape breathing apparatus for use by the ship's company in the event of an emergency. Explorer was, not unnaturally, known as the 'blonde' submarine, because of its peroxide fuel and it served a useful purpose inasmuch as it gave the Royal Navy's anti-submarine forces some valuable practice against fast targets. Its main use, however, was to prove finally that the High-Test Peroxide system was only a stopgap. 
High-Test Peroxide proved difficult to the point of being dangerous, and there was more than one contemporary report of explosions onboard, and at least one instance when the entire crew was forced to stand on the casing to avoid the noxious fumes, which had suddenly filled the boat. The high-test peroxide was a very volatile substance and was carried in special bags outside the pressure hull. Occasionally there would be a 'whoomph' as one of them exploded. Looking into the engine room, which was unmanned when we were under way, one could see flames dancing along the top of the combustion chamber. We did not look upon her as being dangerous. The crew took the bangs and fires as a matter of course. Fire drill became a very practised affair'. And for this reason Explorer was known locally as 'HMS Exploder'

        • Ship History

          The development of the hydrogen peroxide engine did not go well, and a lot of steam went out of the project, in quite a literal sense. When the Americans succeeded in designing a nuclear reactor suitable for fitting in submarines, a new era began and the High-Test Peroxide project was abandoned. Explorer made no contribution towards nuclear power and was finally laid up in 1965 and scrapped in 1969-70.

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