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Britannia Royal Naval College
Initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy
To deliver courageous leaders with the spirit to fight and win
1905 - opening of the current College
Captain Roger Readwin, Royal Navy
Lord High Admiral
Office in vacancy
Flag Officer Sea Training
Rear Admiral William Jonathan Warrender CBE
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. In 1864, after an influx of new recruits, Britannia was supplemented by HMS Hindostan. 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.
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.
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 re-named 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 classminehunter formerly known as HMS Cromer, continues to bear the name Hindostan. As cadets at the college will be aware, there are 187 steps down from the college to Hindostan's mooring at Sandquay.
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.
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.
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.
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. While most cadets join BRNC after finishing university, some join directly from secondary school. The commissioning course is 30 weeks, with Warfare Officers and Aircrew spending a further 19 weeks studying academics at the college. 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.