Instructors and Students return for final graduation

Former instructors and students have gathered to see the final class of Supply Chain Logisticians graduate at HMS Raleigh.

The Supply Chain squadron formed part of what eventually became known as the Defence Maritime Logistics School (DMLS).  From next month, all members of the Logistics branch will train at a new Tri-Service £331m purpose-built complex at Worthy Down near Winchester.  The move brings to an end a 36-year era at HMS Raleigh.

Among the guests welcomed back to Raleigh was former Royal Navy Warrant Officer Terry Bloomer, from Plymouth.  Mr Bloomer was in charge of the Stores Accountant school, as it was then known, between 1987 and 1988.  He said:  “Working here was thoroughly enjoyable.  If I had to join the Royal Navy again tomorrow, I would come back into stores, because I realised that as long as you looked after your stores and you know where they were, life is actually a doddle.”

Former Lieutenant Dee Chilton started her career as a rating in the Supply Chain branch in 1991 and returned to the school for further training as her career progressed.  She said:  “It’s great to come back and see so many familiar faces. I’ve found all my old photographs here and they’ve brought back fabulous memories. I’d recommend the Supply Chain branch to anyone.”

The DMLS became part of the wider Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration (DCLPA).  The co-location of logistics training across the three Services will facilitate ongoing improvements in what has become largely similar training.

HMS Raleigh has been the alma mater for members of the Logistics branch for three decades and while we leave with some sadness, the prospect of training alongside our Army and RAF colleagues in significantly improved facilities is very exciting. It will allow us to share best practice on a Tri-Service basis, while still maintaining our Naval ethos

Commander Suzi Nielsen

The move to the new site started last November and has been staggered over a five-month period to minimise the disruption to staff and students. Training started at the Worthy Down site in December with the first Writers course.  The last course to complete training at HMS Raleigh will be a chefs’ course on 27 March 2020.

While RN trainees will train in the same building as their RAF and Army colleagues, each service will be accommodated separately.  The RN contingent will form Kestrel Division.  Duty of care and welfare will be provided by RN Personnel, overseen by the RN Head of Naval training.  Kestrel Division will maintain RN heritage and ethos by continuing to follow RN daily routines to prepare students for the challenges at sea. 

Commander Suzi Nielsen, the last Commandant of the DMLS and now the Head of Naval training at Worthy Down, said:  “HMS Raleigh has been the alma mater for members of the Logistics branch for three decades and while we leave with some sadness, the prospect of training alongside our Army and RAF colleagues in significantly improved facilities is very exciting.  It will allow us to share best practice on a Tri-Service basis, while still maintaining our Naval ethos.”

HMS Raleigh will remain the Royal Navy’s initial naval training establishment for Ratings entering the Service and will continue to provide a range of other specialist training including submarine training, fire-fighting and damage control, seamanship, military skills and board and search techniques

Captain Rich Harris, the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, said:  “Raleigh currently trains over 2,000 recruits each year and the Royal Navy is planning to increase our throughput of trainees.  While the DMLS is leaving it’s not quite the end of our association with logistic branch training.  New recruits to the branch will stay with us for their three-week key skills package, a requirement of their apprenticeship programme, prior to moving to Worthy Down. Additionally, the modernisation of catering services delivery with the amalgamation of the chef and steward branches means that the cross-training of personnel affected by this change will continue at Raleigh for the next two years.”