Officer cadets join HMS Albion for first taste of life at sea

Officer Cadets from Britannia Royal Naval College have set sail for their first experience at sea, joining HMS Albion by Landing Craft.

The 18,500 tonne assault ship (rumored to be on the chopping block) sent two of her largest Landing Craft into the River Dart to embark the group of 75 Cadets.  They will spend the next six weeks on board the ship at sea as HMS Albion continues her work-up following her £90 million revamp.

Officer Cadet Meghan Higgins said: “I am very excited to be part of HMS Albion’s ship’s company, the ship’s size and complexity is amazing.”

The Officer Cadets joined the Royal Navy in May and the period, known as Initial Sea Time, comes as they enter the final phase of their 30-week basic training course.

Captain Jol Woodard, the Commanding Officer of BRNC, said: “Initial Sea Time is the most important and exciting element of the Cadets’ training to date.  It is their first opportunity to gain a proper understanding of what life is like in a warship – what it is to be a Sailor and what makes our men and women tick.

“That understanding is imperative because of course without our people and without well led, effectively managed and motivated teams, we are nothing.

“The Cadets will live amongst the junior ratings on board and will learn how each department operates and how they come together to deliver the operational capability of the ship.

“At the end of the six weeks the knowledge they have gained will be tested in a pass or fail oral and written exam.”

HMS Albion is about to become the UK’s very high readiness amphibious assault ship. Last month, she completed three months of challenging sea trials road testing her new capabilities and in doing so officially marked the end of a two year mid-life technical upgrade.

An intensive period of operational sea training now awaits, designed to deliberately hone the war fighting skills of her sailors and Royal Marines.

HMS Albion’s Captain Tim Neild said:  “My crew and I are delighted to work alongside BRNC to inspire and mentor the naval officers of the future. The Cadets can expect to be fully included in daily-life at sea, most notably joining my team as we train ourselves to fight this incredible warship.”

The Cadet’s adventure has begun. They are now at sea in the UK’s south coast exercise areas receiving safety critical training from the crew before breaking into syndicates to join each of the departments and mix with the 350 crew of sailors and commandos.

They can expect to be involved securing the ship, recovering ‘Fred’ the man-overboard dummy, making meals in the galley to feed 400, launching and recovering boats, fighting simulated fires, working up high on the bridge or deep within the depths of the ship’s machinery spaces.