Reservists commission at Britannia Royal Naval College

Topic: PeopleReserves

With a 30-year age range, a new group of Royal Navy Reservists (RNR) have taken time out from their civilian jobs for a two-week training course at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

The latest group included 21-year-old Mid Ellie Coleman, a student from Sudbury, and Midshipman (Mid) Clive Bull, from Portsmouth, who turns 51 next month.

Mid Coleman joined the RNR in February 2017 and is a member of the Gateshead based unit HMS Calliope. She is currently studying at Newcastle University for a post-graduate qualification in conservation biology.

Mid Coleman said, “Training was so difficult that passing and passing well was a massive achievement. Especially as the youngest on the course, I felt a little extra pressure going in.

"Training has set me up with life skills not just for the navy but for civilian life too, including grit and determination, a sense of humour and that even though something feels bad at the time, it’s not quite as bad as it seems.”

Mid Bull joined HMS King Alfred in January 2017 looking to develop new skills, get fit and do things he’d not done before. His 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 Cyprus and Suez as an Able Rate. As a contrast, he was the youngest sailor on board his ship, while I reckon I’m the oldest Midshipman in the RNR and probably also in the wider Navy.

"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.”

Prior to attending the course at BRNC the group had been working hard to develop their skills within their units ready to take on three days, refining their boat skills on the River Dart, and assessments on Dartmoor and within the grounds of BRNC. 

They also took part in ceremonial training, weapons training, strategic studies, theoretical and practical leadership development, as well as gruelling physical sessions.

At the end of their course the Cadets were formally commissioned as Officers during a ceremony attended by Captain Paul Hill, Captain RNR Operational Support.

The Maritime Reserves is made of the RNR and the Royal Marines Reserves.  In many cases reservists are indistinguishable from their regular counterparts. 

In recent years the Maritime Reserves has been involved in a range of operations including counter-terrorism and anti-piracy work in the Gulf.

Training has set me up with life skills not just for the navy but for civilian life too

Midshipman (Mid) Ellie Coleman, HMS Calliope