Support our next generation

The University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) is here to give university students an experience of Royal Navy life, while supporting their development into the leaders of tomorrow.

Becoming an URNU Chaplain is your opportunity to provide cadets with invaluable chaplaincy and pastoral support in Royal Navy environment, making a real difference to their lives.


Why become an URNU Chaplain?

  • As soon as you join, you’ll be part of the Royal Navy family, enjoying its unique sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
  • You will get to make a real difference to the lives of young people providing URNU Officer Cadets with Pastoral Care, Religious Leadership, Unit Cohesion and Ethical Advice.
  • Opportunity to support defence engagement activities at a local and regional level with charities and other religious and faith organisations.
  • Opportunities to become involved in the provision of training and gain qualifications in training, leadership and management and adventurous training & sport.
  • No call-up commitment means you can achieve the right work-life balance, excellent rates of pay and an annual tax-free bounty.
  • You only need to commit a minimum of 24 Reserve Service Days a year.

URNU Chaplain Profile

Owen Crane, URNU Belfast, Chaplain

Owen was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he lived for ten months before coming home to England. He was raised in rural Sussex where he dreamed of being a fighter pilot. However, those dreams were dashed by an eye test when he was only ten.

Unsure of what career path to follow he opted to study Business Management in Manchester. After graduation he spent a few years in the telecoms industry before he moved into the non-profit sector. He took on senior management roles in a number of charities aimed at tackling systemic poverty and human trafficking.

In his early thirties he stepped full time into church leadership, first in Bradford and then in Belfast. Ultimately, he ended up leading a large, urban, multi-congregational church. During the covid lockdown, Owen began a re-evaluation of his priorities and began to pursue a lifelong desire to serve in the military. After many conversations and visits, the Navy became the obvious choice. Once again, a failed eye test would thwart his plans as regular service was out of the question. 

It was then that serendipity intervened, and he discovered the URNU, much to his joy. He is now the chaplain of URNU Belfast and looking forward to helping and guiding the young Officer Cadets in their navy journey. Owen has been married for 23 years with 3 children and an elderly labradoodle.

Are you eligible?

URNU Chaplain

  • Between the age of 26 – 50.
  • Be an ordained minister of one of the following churches: Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church of Scotland, Churches in Communities International, Congregational Church, Elim Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic or the United Reformed Church.
  • OR be an authorised and qualified religious leader from the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh Faith Communities.
  • A theological degree or an equivalent recognised qualification.
  • 3 years of proven pastoral experience.
  • To be employed by a faith community at the point of application.
  • A national of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth Citizen or Dual National who has lived in the UK for 5 years prior to applying.
  • Able to pass the Royal Naval Fitness Test (RNFT).
  • Able to pass the Naval Swimming Test.
  • Hold a full and valid UK Driving Licence.


  • URNU Chaplains will be recruited through the Staff Chaplain to the Chaplain of the Fleet, Royal Navy
  • On initial entry will be paid as URNU Acting Sub-Lieutenants
  • Once mandatory training has been completed, URNU Chaplains will be paid as substantive URNU Lieutenants
  • No requirement to handle weapons at any time
  • Mandatory training to be completed:
    Initial Training Officers Course & Advanced Care of Trainees qualification (7 day residential at URNU Cambridge)
    - Britannia Royal Naval College Chaplains’ Induction week (7 day residential at BRNC)