What's it like as a Royal Navy reservist?

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a reservist in the Royal Navy?

We spoke to two personnel to find out their personal experiences.

In civilian life, Matthew Reed is a senior technical engineer for Babcock International, which often involves visiting platforms, ships and submarines to carry out engineering work.

By joining the Royal Naval Reserves, Matthew says he "dipped his toe" and "hasn't got out of the water since". He said: "For reservist life, I've also got a greater understanding of the platform, who to speak to and a lot more understanding of where and what to do".

Reservist Zoe Bryant says "adventure" and "things to do with adrenaline" were major factors in her joining the reserves as well as it giving her the ability to travel and meet like-minded people.

She has been in the reserves for seven years and says she balances it with her civilian career as a dental nurse. She said: "I love that my role in the reserves is completely different from my dental nurse career".

Royal Navy Reservists Zoe Bryant (Left) Matthew Reed (Right) Discuss Roles 23062021 CREDIT BFBS.PNG
Royal Navy Reservists Zoe Bryant (left) Matthew Reed (right) discuss their roles and experience.

"I can take things I learn in the reserves and apply them to my job, like leadership," she added.

The Royal Naval Reserve is a part-time force of civilians, which provides the Royal Navy with the additional trained personnel it needs at times of tension, humanitarian crisis or conflict.

Serving with the reservists is a unique way of life that attracts people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Reservists Reed and Bryant can attest to "experiences you wouldn't get otherwise".

"I've been on a Type 23 frigate for two weeks, HMS Westminster, where I went to Norway... into the Arctic Circle," says Reservist Reed.

And Reservist Bryant adds her experience: "I got deployed, I got mobilised on an OPV (offshore patrol vessel) –  HMS Severn.

Royal Navy Reservist Zoe Bryant Helmsman Driving the ship DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT Zoe Bryant (2).PNG
Royal Navy Reservist Zoe Bryant acting as helmsman on HMS Severn (Picture: Zoe Bryant).

"So, I joined that ship in January 2020, and I was on there for a year and we just did patrols around UK waters.

"I was helmsman, which was driving the ship. I was the seaboat coxswain.

"If there was a man overboard, I would get kitted out and jump off the side of the ship and rescue them." 

Reservist Reed admits he was "a little blinkered" when he joined and "wasn't too sure what they were all about".

But, he says: "I've dipped my toe in and I've never got out of the water since." 

Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that, should their country require it, they would be ready to serve as part of the military.

There are thousands of reservists currently stationed all over the world.

While they are trained locally, they are deployable globally.

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