Princess Royal salutes a new generation of Naval leaders

The Princess Royal today saluted a new generation of naval leaders as they completed training at Britannia Royal Naval College.

The Princess Royal today saluted a new generation of naval leaders as they completed training at Britannia Royal Naval College.

She was guest of honour at the annual Lord High Admiral’s Divisions, the final passing out of parade of 2020 at the spiritual home of the Royal Navy’s Officer Corps.

Her Royal Highness was invited to inspect the passing out classes, which for the first time included ten newly-promoted Lieutenants who had successfully completed the inaugural three-week Warrant Officers’ Commissioning Programme.

The new scheme offers the Royal Navy’s most senior non-commissioned officers the chance to continue their careers as officers, recognising – and using – their considerable skills and experience.

Among those completing the course were Lieutenants Wayne Thomas from Cornwall and Garry Parkes from Fareham.

Lt Thomas joined the Royal Navy in 1995 and lives near Truro.

When I reflect upon my journey to date, it is without doubt the Royal Navy that has made me who I am today

Lieutenant Garry Parkes

I feel extremely privileged to attend the Warrant Officer Commissioning Programme and to be one of the first Warrant Officer 1s to be promoted directly to Lieutenant,” the 48-year-old said.

Originally from Rotherham, 54-year-old Lt Parkes joined the Royal Navy in 1983 and has since gained a Master’s Degree through a partnership between the Service and the University of Portsmouth.

“When I reflect upon my journey to date, it is without doubt the Royal Navy that has made me who I am today, and my professional and personal qualities are attributable to its teachings,” he said.

The Guard of Honour comprised 41 ratings of Whittall Division, who had completed their own nine-week training course. Ratings training normally takes place at HMS Raleigh but with a surge of interest in a career in the Royal Navy, BRNC has been used to provide two extra new entry courses this year.

The parade also included 18 Senior Upper Yardmen promoted from the ranks, 24 new officers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service, 23 new entry Medical Officers and six Officer Cadets.  Each group had completed their own bespoke training programme.

“All passing out parades are special, but Lord High Admiral’s Division is probably the most prestigious of the year and to have Her Royal Highness here was a great honour for all who took part,” said Captain Roger Readwin, Captain BRNC.

“Those passing out should be proud of their achievements to earn their place on the parade ground. Due to the ongoing pandemic, families and friends were unable to attend the parade which was a desperate shame, but I would like to thank them all for their incredible support to their love ones whilst undergoing training.

Capt Readwin continued: “Despite the pandemic, BRNC has continued to provide essential training to maintain the Royal Navy’s operational capability, fulfil our operational outputs and national security responsibilities.

“While 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, I’m incredibly proud of the way that my staff have adapted and embraced new ideas, such as ratings training, to protect the in-flow of new blood into the Service.”

Princess Anne, who holds the rank of Admiral, is Chief Commandant of Women in the Royal Navy and is Lady Sponsor of flagship HMS Albion, was representing her father the Duke of Edinburgh and Lord High Admiral, a title conferred on him by the Queen for his 90th birthday in 2011. The title itself dates back to the 14th Century.