HMS Collingwood celebrates eighty years of training

A special ceremony has just taken place at HMS Collingwood to commemorate the 80th anniversary of its commissioning.

It is fair to say that the largest naval training establishment has not managed to celebrate this achievement in the way it had planned, and a variety of commemorative events had to be changed or cancelled due to COVID-19. One such event was a 'wholeship' birthday party with a ceremonial birthday cake cutting which was planned for May ahead of the very popular Open Day and Field Gun Competition.  That said, considering all PHE and Government advice and observing social distancing measures, an event was able to take place today.

The event saw Rear Admiral Phil Hally, Director People & Training, and 17-year-old Engineering Technician Brendan Overal, the youngest sailor, cut the cake in the presence of Captain Catherine Jordan, Commanding Officer of the establishment.

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Collingwood were also present and played ‘Happy Birthday’ throughout. On completion the Band marched around the establishment to allow all personnel the opportunity to enjoy their music and feel part of this special event. They also used this opportunity to launch a competition to all RM Bands, the challenge being to create a commemorative march for this 80th anniversary.

With the ceremonial cake cutting complete, the cake was taken away, cut into small pieces and distributed to all personnel across the site, marking this special occasion. A selection of cupcakes was also available.

I am delighted that we have been able to hold this special ‘Birthday’ celebration today, marking an historic event in the establishment’s history while we work to modernise training further and put Collingwood and the Maritime Warfare School on a sustainable footing for another 80 years to continue to deliver first class sailors to front line operations. To be able to share this across the whole workforce with this amazing cake made by Collingwood’s own chefs Ryan Hopper of ESS and Navy Chef Matthew Montgomery, and with the support of the very professional RM Band is a very special moment in this commemorative year.

Captain Catherine Jordan

Trainees first entered HMS Collingwood’s gates on 10th January 1940 after Britain recognised the importance of training sailors for front line service during World War 2. From the original wooden huts built on marshland, HMS Collingwood has since grown into the modern training establishment it is today.

Captain Catherine Jordan said of the event, “I am delighted that we have been able to hold this special ‘Birthday’ celebration today, marking an historic event in the establishment’s history while we work to modernise training further and put Collingwood and the Maritime Warfare School on a sustainable footing for another 80 years to continue to deliver first class sailors to front line operations. To be able to share this across the whole workforce with this amazing cake made by Collingwood’s own chefs Ryan Hopper of ESS and Navy Chef Matthew Montgomery, and with the support of the very professional RM Band is a very special moment in this commemorative year.”

Photographs courtesy of Keith Woodland, Crown Copyright.