Naval officers finish training amid COVID-19 response

As Royal Navy medics and planners join the national effort against the coronavirus, a new generation of Naval leaders today joined its ranks.

Two Naval nursing officers were among more than 130 men and women completing their 29-week training which has turned them from civilians into Naval officers.

They paraded at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth – the spiritual home of the Officer Corps for more than a century – to mark their success.  The Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, was the inspecting officer and addressed the newest Naval Officers ahead of them joining the Fleet. 

Under normal circumstances, the passing-out on the parade ground in front of Britannia’s famous façade is attended by family and friends.  However due to the coronavirus outbreak, the parade took place behind closed doors.

Passing out were more than 60 engineers, 50 warfare specialists, a couple of Naval chaplains, five logistics experts and nine officers from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which supports the Royal Navy on its operations around the globe.

Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, told them:

“Now is your moment to add to the Royal Navy’s long, proud history, to serve your nation, to live up to the example set by the thousands of leaders who have passed through this magnificent College for more than a century, to lead sailors in some of the most challenging times our nation has faced.

“Some of you will be involved almost immediately in the national effort to deal with the coronavirus. All of you will play your part in some way.

“And when this pandemic passes, which it will, you will continue to be there for your nation, ensuring the safety, security and prosperity of the British people.”

Some of you will be involved almost immediately in the national effort to deal with the coronavirus. All of you will play your part in some way. And when this pandemic passes, which it will, you will continue to be there for your nation, ensuring the safety, security and prosperity of the British people.

Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd

Among those passing-out was Officer Cadet Joseph Colyer, aged 22, from Cumbria.  He said:  “While the future holds many unknowns, I am confident in my training and the ability it has given me to do whatever I am asked to assist the nation in these turbulent times.”

Officer Cadet Georgia Robbins joined the Royal Navy in 2015, as a rating specialising in supply chain.  The 27-year-old, from Preston, said:  “I enjoyed my time as a rating however I knew the Training Managers Officers branch was where my passion really lay. I look forward to the challenges ahead but I feel my training has prepared me well for what is to come, and I welcome the opportunity to assist the nation in her time of uncertainty through this current crisis.

Despite the pandemic, instruction continues at Dartmouth – with appropriate medical precautions taken - to ensure the constant flow of trainees to the front-line Fleet, which is carrying out its duties above, on and below the waves around the world as regularly as allows during the emergency.

Each cadet will receive a souvenir DVD of the parade as a memento of the occasion, courtesy of the Britannia Association, a charity dedicated improving the lived experience of Naval Officers whilst at BRNC.