Midshipman represents the Royal Navy Reserve in Canada

One of HMS King Alfred’s most junior officers, Southampton based Midshipman Abby Bull, has represented the Royal Navy Reserve at the prestigious Allied Reserve Officers Conference this August in Québec City.

It can be challenging enough to be junior officer in the reserve forces, combining the training to learn your military skills on top of a civilian job.

For Midshipman Abby Bull the challenge went up several levels when she was selected to be one of the junior officers representing the UK Armed Forces at the Allied Reserve Officers Conference this August in Québec City.

As one of the more junior officers at HMS King Alfred, her Royal Navy Reserve unit, Abby hadn’t expected to be selected for such a prestigious overseas conference.

I was really excited and nervous to be chosen to represent not just my unit but the whole of the UK’s Royal Navy Reserve.

Midshipman Abby Bull RNR

Describing her shock, Abby said: “I was really taken aback to be offered the chance to go. I hadn’t expected to be selected when I applied.

“I was really excited and nervous to be chosen to represent not just my unit but the whole of the UK’s Royal Navy Reserve.”

The conference is made up of the NATO nations plus some other affiliated countries and this year was hosted by the Canadian government in Québec City.

With representation from 23 allied nations this makes it one of the most multi-national environments outside of NATO Headquarters!

The conference itself featured a series of lectures, seminars, group discussions, debates, operational planning and a group effort at working through a NATO exercise.

For Abby, the highlight of the week was the opportunity to partake in the NATO simulation, practising her skills and learning more about how a multi-national NATO team makes decisions.

Perhaps as important as the more traditional military skills, were the sessions on cultural understanding, working in a multi-national environment, and the opportunity to learn from the officers of many other countries how they have tackled challenges successfully.

Abby said: “This has been a fantastic experience and helped equip me with skills I can use for both my career in the reserves and which I can bring back to my work with my UK civilian employer.”