Britannia Royal Naval College

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Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
MottoTo deliver courageous leaders with the spirit to fight and win
TypeNaval academy
Established1863 (1863) (HMS Britannia)
Parent institution
Flag Officer Sea Training
AffiliationRoyal Navy
Commanding officerCaptain Sarah Oakley

Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), commonly known as Dartmouth, is the naval academy of the United Kingdom and the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy. It is located on a hill overlooking the port of Dartmouth, Devon, England. Royal Naval officer training has taken place in Dartmouth since 1863. The buildings of the current campus were completed in 1905. Earlier students lived in two wooden hulks moored in the River Dart. Since 1998, BRNC has been the sole centre for Royal Naval officer training.


The training of naval officers at Dartmouth dates from 1863, when the wooden hulk HMS Britannia was moved from Portland and moored in the River Dart to serve as a base.[1] In 1864, after an influx of new recruits, Britannia was supplemented by HMS Hindostan.[2] Prior to this, a Royal Naval Academy (later Royal Naval College) had operated for more than a century from 1733 to 1837 at Portsmouth, a major naval installation. The original Britannia was replaced by the Prince of Wales in 1869, which was renamed Britannia.[3]

The foundation stone for a new building at the college was laid by King Edward VII in March 1902.[4] Sir Aston Webb designed the shore-based college at Dartmouth, which was built by Higgs and Hill[5] and practically completed in 1905.[6]

The first term of cadets entered at the R.N. College Osborne were transferred to Dartmouth in September 1905.[6]

The Britannia training establishment was closed at the same time. The cadets under instruction were embarked on two cruisers to complete their programme under the old system. The headquarters of the cruisers was established at Bermuda, where suitable arrangements had been made to house the cadets. The cadets entered in September under the old system, and those entered in January 1906 (the last to be so entered), were received at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, where they were instructed, as far as possible, side by side with the cadets transferred from Osborne.

— Lord Tweedmouth, First Lord of the Admiralty, 26 February 1906[6]

The college was originally known as the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (BRNC). As a Royal Naval shore establishment, it was later known also by the ship name HMS Britannia (a battleship called Britannia operated from 1904 to 1918). The college was renamed HMS Dartmouth in 1953, when the name Britannia was given to the newly launched royal yacht HMY Britannia. The training ship moored in the River Dart at Sandquay, a Sandown class minehunter formerly known as HMS Cromer, continues to bear the name Hindostan.[7] As cadets at the college will be aware, there are 187 steps down from the college to Hindostan's mooring at Sandquay.[8]

Cadets originally joined the Royal Naval College, Osborne, at the age of 13 for two years' study and work before joining Dartmouth. The Royal Naval College, Osborne closed in 1921.[9]

During the Second World War, after six Focke-Wulf aircraft bombed the College in September 1942, students and staff moved activities to Eaton Hall in Cheshire until the autumn of 1946. Two bombs had penetrated the College's main block, causing damage to the quarterdeck and surrounding rooms.[10][11]

Britannia Royal Naval College became the sole naval college in the United Kingdom following the closures of the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, in 1994 and of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, in 1998.[12]

In 2020, a group of Junior Rates were trained at BRNC to help alleviate added pressure on HMS Raleigh, after a surge in recruitment. On 13 August 2020, a troop of 34 Ratings and 130 officers passed out simultaneously for the first time in the history of the Royal Navy.[13] They were followed by a second class of Junior Rates who passed out on 17 December 2020.[14]


Prospective cadets entrants must meet a minimum academic requirement. They then proceed to the Admiralty Interview Board, where they are tested mentally and physically. Several mental aptitude tests are administered, along with a basic physical fitness test and a medical examination. Officer cadets, as they are known until passing out from the college, can join between the ages of 18 and 39.[15] While most cadets join BRNC after finishing university, some join directly from secondary school.[16] The commissioning course is 30 weeks, with Warfare Officers and Aircrew spending a further 19 weeks studying academics at the college.[17][18] A large contingent of international and Commonwealth students are part of the student body. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary sends its officer cadets to BRNC for a 10-week initial officer training course, before they start at a maritime college.[19]

Royal cadets

King George V and King George VI were naval cadets at Dartmouth. The first "significant encounter" between Prince Philip of Greece and the then Princess Elizabeth took place at Dartmouth in July 1939, where Philip was a naval cadet.[20][21] Charles III and the Duke of York also attended Dartmouth. The Prince of Wales spent a brief period at the College after leaving Sandhurst as part of his training with all three of Britain's Armed Forces.[22]

Sheikh Mubarak Ali Yousuf Suoud Al-Sabah, a member of the Royal Family of Kuwait, attended the Royal Navy Young Officer Course at Britannia Royal Naval College in 2002.[23][24]

Commanders of the college

List below based on listing compiled by historian Colin Mackie;[25] additional references are given in the list.

  • Captain William E. Goodenough: May 1905 – August 1907
  • Captain Trevylyan D. W. Napier: August 1907 – July 1910
  • Captain Hugh Evan-Thomas: July 1910 – July 1912
  • Captain the Hon. Victor A. Stanley: July 1912 – ? 1914
  • Rear-Admiral Trevylyan D. W. Napier: September–December 1914
  • Captain Edmond Hyde Parker: ? 1914 – February 1915
  • Captain Norman C. Palmer: February 1915 – May 1916
  • Rear-Admiral William G. E. Ruck Keene: May 1916 – January 1919[26]
  • Captain Eustace la T. Leatham: February 1919 – February 1921
  • Captain Francis A. Marten: February 1921 – January 1923
  • Captain the Hon. Herbert Meade: January 1923 – February 1926
  • Captain Martin E. Dunbar-Nasmith: February 1926 – February 1929
  • Captain Sidney J. Meyrick: February 1929 – December 1931
  • Captain Norman A. Wodehouse: December 1931 – December 1934
  • Captain Reginald V. Holt: December 1934 – December 1936
  • Captain Frederick H. G. Dalrymple-Hamilton: December 1936 – November 1939
  • Captain Robert L. B. Cunliffe: December 1939 – April 1942
  • Captain Edward A. Aylmer: April 1942 – December 1943
  • Captain Gerald H. Warner: December 1943–?
  • Captain Peveril B. R. W. William-Powlett: January 1946 – February 1948
  • Captain Hugh W. Faulkner: February 1948 – August 1949
  • Captain Norman V. Dickinson: August 1949 – April 1951
  • Captain Richard T. White: April 1951 – August 1953
  • Captain William G. Crawford: August 1953 – April 1956
  • Captain William J. Munn: April 1956 – August 1958
  • Captain Frank H. E. Hopkins: August 1958 – August 1960
  • Captain Horace R. Law: August 1960 – December 1961
  • Captain W. John Parker: December 1961 – September 1963
  • Captain John E. L. Martin: September 1963 – August 1966
  • Captain Ian W. Jamieson: August 1966 – April 1968
  • Captain David Williams: April 1968 – September 1970
  • Captain A. Gordon Tait: September 1970 – August 1972
  • Captain John M. Forbes: August 1972 – September 1974
  • Captain Michael A. Higgs: September 1974 – September 1976
  • Captain Paul W. Greening: September 1976 – October 1978
  • Captain Nicholas J. S. Hunt: October 1978 – June 1980
  • Captain J. Julian R. Oswald: June 1980 – June 1982
  • Captain Timothy M. Bevan: June 1982 – September 1984
  • Captain George M. Tullis: September 1984 – 1987
  • Captain John R. Brigstocke: 1987–89
  • Captain J. Robert Shiffner: 1989–91
  • Captain Richard G. Hastilow: 1991–93
  • Captain Simon Moore: 1993–95
  • Captain Anthony P. Masterton-Smith: 1995 – January 1998
  • Commodore Roy A. G. Clare: January 1998 – 1999
  • Commodore Mark W. G. Kerr: 1999–2002
  • Commodore C. Anthony Johnstone-Burt: 2002–04
  • Commodore Richard J. Ibbotson: 2004–05
  • Commodore Timothy Harris: 2005 – April 2007
  • Commodore Martin B. Alabaster: April 2007 – September 2008
  • Commodore Jake K. Moores: September 2008 – March 2011
  • Commodore Simon P. Williams: March 2011 – September 2012
  • Captain Jerry Kyd: September 2012 – February 2014
  • Captain Henry Duffy: February 2014 – September 2016
  • Captain Jolyon Woodard: September 2016 – September 2019
  • Captain Roger Readwin: September 2019 – May 2022
  • Captain Sarah Oakley: May 2022 – Present[27]


  • The college taken from the other side of the Dart at Kingswear

    The college taken from the other side of the Dart at Kingswear

  • International air cadets from the International Air Cadet Exchange on the main steps.

    International air cadets from the International Air Cadet Exchange on the main steps.

  • Cadets at BRNC participate in a practical leadership task (PLT).

    Cadets at BRNC participate in a practical leadership task (PLT).

  • BRNC from the town quay

    BRNC from the town quay

Former students

See also


  1. ^ Walker 1938, p. 39
  2. ^ Walker 1938, p. 40
  3. ^ Lambert 1984, pp. 122, 127–128
  4. ^ "The King and Queen in Devon". The Times. No. 36710. London. 8 March 1902. p. 12.
  5. ^ "General introduction". Lambeth: Southern area. Survey of London. Vol. 26. British History Online. 1956. pp. 1–17. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Lord Tweedmouth (26 February 1906). "First Lord's Statement explanatory of Navy Estimates, 1906-7". The Naval Annual: 370.
  7. ^ "Former HMS Cromer M103 now called 'Hindostan' at Sandquay, Britannia Royal Naval College". Classic Traction. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  8. ^ "PPRuNe Archive". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  9. ^ Dickinson, Harry (2016). Wisdom and War: the Royal Naval College Greenwich 1873–1998. p. 129.
  10. ^ Harrold, Jane; Porter, Richard (2005). Dartmouth. Richard Webb. ISBN 978-0-9536361-3-6.
  11. ^ Article by Jane Harrold and Richard Porter in The Britannia Magazine 2004, Crest Publications, pp. 6–7.
  12. ^ Ian F. W. Beckett, Discovering British Regimental Traditions (Osprey Publishing, 2007), p. 58
  13. ^ "Navy officers and ratings make history at unique parade". Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Princess Royal salutes a new generation of Naval leaders".
  15. ^ "Air Engineer Officer | Royal Navy Jobs in the Fleet Air Arm". Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Royal Navy Sponsorship". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Warfare Officer | Royal Navy Jobs in the Surface Fleet". Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Pilot | Royal Navy Jobs in the Fleet Air Arm". Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  19. ^ "RFA Training". Royal Navy. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  20. ^ Pimlott, Ben (2012). The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy. Harper Collins. p. 86.
  21. ^ "History, Prince Philip". BBC. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  22. ^ "William's Navy posting revealed". BBC News. 31 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  23. ^ "Honorary Doctorates September 2010". University of Plymouth. Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  24. ^ "Sheikh awarded honorary doctorate". This is Plymouth. 25 September 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013.
  25. ^ Mackie, Colin (June 2018). "Royal Navy - Senior Appointments" (PDF). Colin Mackie. p. 252. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Admiral Ruck Keene", Obituary in The Times dated 31 January 1935, Issue 46976, p. 16
  27. ^ "Captain BRNC Twitter Post". Captain BRNC. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  28. ^ "Royal Navy Sailors Share Their Knowledge with Saudi Colleagues". Naval Today. Retrieved 25 May 2020.


External links

Coordinates: 50°21′26″N 03°34′58″W / 50.35722°N 3.58278°W / 50.35722; -3.58278