Navy

Meet The First Ever Navy Ratings To Do Basic Training At Dartmouth

Britannia Royal Naval College is training the newest Royal Navy ratings for the first time, after a rise in demand to join the service.

New Royal Navy recruits have undergone their basic training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth for the first time ever.

New entry training for Navy ratings usually takes place at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, with officer training having taken place at BNRC since 1905.

Now, due to increased demand to join the Navy, Dartmouth is training the service's junior sailors as well, with new recruits beginning their training at the site last week.

Until now, only naval officers have training at the facility.

Jake Bristow is one of the junior sailors currently halfway through a nine-week basic training course.

"We're going to be the first people to pass out of Dartmouth as ratings, so I'm feeling proud," he said.

The course is one week shorter than at HMS Raleigh, due to its unprecedented nature at BRNC.

BRNC's Captain Roger Readwin called working with the naval ratings a "unique" experience, having usually hosted officers, but says similar methods are used to instill a "sense of purpose" across the service.

"There's a lot of similarities between the officer militarisation, and, indeed, the ratings' militarisation training," Capt Readwin added.

"Where we teach them how to polish, iron, march, and above all, give them the sense of purpose.

"It feels very natural and it's a real privilege to do so."

Dartmouth
Staff are now the only ones required to maintain social distancing rules, as the cohort remains on site during the nine weeks.

On 30 August both recruits and officer cadets will make history by passing out alongside one another at BRNC.

"For me, it's symbolic because it will represent and will show the Royal Navy as a whole force," Capt Readwin said.

The facility is making the most of greater training capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors also adapting to accommodate the new intake ahead of further recruits joining later in the year.

Newcomers were told to self-isolate for two weeks at home before joining and wore face masks on the coach ride over to the college.

"Once they became a cohort, we were able to relax those restrictions slightly," explained BRNC's Warrant Officer Robert Bullock.

"We, as staff, maintain our distance because we're the the only ones really coming and going."

Another one of the 2020 cohort is Cerys Davies, who is following in her parents' footsteps into a military career.

"It's something I've always wanted to do since I was younger," she said.

"It's crazy to think we're actually here. It feels amazing - we're going to be in the history books."