Defence chief’s praise for Ukraine at Dartmouth pass-out parade

Topic: People Storyline: Senior Naval Staff

Britain’s most senior military figure today welcomed more than 150 future leaders to the Royal Navy as they passed out from Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin took the salute of the Easter Passing-Out Parade at the spiritual home of the Royal Navy’s officer corps – 32 years after he graduated on the same parade ground.

The parade marked the end of initial training for 156 new Royal Navy Officers – including nearly three dozen promoted from the ranks as Senior Upper Yardmen and Warrant Officers – and 12 new officers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, whose ships are crucial to supporting RN operations around the world.

In addition, five International Cadets from four countries – Bahrain, Qatar, Fiji and Ukraine – also completed their training.

In his passing-out speech to cadets, families and dignitaries, Admiral Radakin told the successful Ukrainian officer:

“We are full of admiration for your nation’s heroic struggle. The values you are defending – sovereignty, democracy, self-determination, human rights – are universal.

“The United Kingdom was the first European country to recognise your independence in 1991 and our commitment to your continued liberty has not, and will not, waiver.”

The admiral was head of the Royal Navy as First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff from June 2019 until November 2021 when he took up the role of Chief of Defence Staff – the first sailor to hold the post in nearly two decades.

To those beginning their careers in the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Admiral Radakin said: “Now you stand ready. Ready to wear this uniform. Ready to lead our Navy into the future. Ready to serve your country come what may.

“It’s quite the transformation. And quite the commitment. Your families and friends should be proud. And they can be prouder still. Because this is just the start of your journey.”

Officer Cadet Freddie Hoare, aged 23, from Cheshire is set for an engineering career in the Royal Navy having completed his 29 weeks at Dartmouth.


“The best part of training for me was Initial Sea Training,” said Freddie, who’s off to HMS Collingwood in Fareham next to begin his dedicated career training as a weapon engineering officer in submarines.

“The ability to work within the Fleet and seeing how our ships operate was both useful and enjoyable. I was exceptionally lucky to go aboard HMS Albion and HMS Prince of Wales, giving me a wide view of the operational ability of the Royal Navy.

“My proudest moment must be passing the leadership exercise, it was a great morale boost and something I will remember for years to come.”

Also passing out was 32-year-old Officer Cadet Nathan Chape from Blackpool, a trainee logistics officer.

“My proudest moment was passing the final exercise – it was then that it hit home that I was going to be an officer in the Royal Navy,” he said.

“Having worked so hard for so long, the feeling of passing that last test and crossing that final hurdle was incredible.

“I wanted to go and serve at sea. During the sea training phase, it confirmed for me that sea time was exactly what I wanted as well as the opportunities to visit and see many different places. There are no careers like this one, in the Royal Navy, there is an exciting time ahead for me.”

It was also the final passing out parade for Britannia’s Commanding Officer, Captain Roger Readwin, who’s been in charge of the world-renowned naval establishment for the past two and a half years.

“Britannia Royal Naval College has stood here for 116 years and when these young men and women go through the college’s door and take their final rite of passage, they are following the incredible generations who have gone before them,” he said.

“The Fleet in which they will serve has modernised, it is changing, it is incredibly busy, so this is an exciting time for them to be joining the Royal Navy.”

It’s quite the transformation. And quite the commitment. Your families and friends should be proud. And they can be prouder still. Because this is just the start of your journey.

Admiral Radakin