The Royal Navy has delivered world-class naval officer training in Dartmouth since 1863, and my mission is to ensure that this training remains challenging, inspiring and relevant to the modern world. I am helped here by place: the Victorian Navy chose Dartmouth for good reason and whilst the College was initially no more than two old hulks, HMS BRITANNIA and HMS HINDOSTAN moored in the River, the complex riverine training area and easy access to the sea were as good then as they are today for getting young people immersed in maritime ethos. When in April 1900 Messrs Higgs and Hill were contracted to build a proper College on the hill above the town of Dartmouth, getting Sir Aston Webb of Buckingham Palace fame to design it, the link between the Royal Navy and the town became permanent.
The College is a powerful statement of what this maritime nation thought of its Navy, built as it was after a hundred years of pax Britannica which followed Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar when the Nation’s prosperity was understood to be dependent on the mastery of the seas. Today we are smaller, but we have not relinquished quality and it is no surprise to find that over 20% of Cadets at the College are sent by other Nations who recognise this quality, bringing a welcome international flavour to the training of our most global Armed Force. Being ‘Dartmouth trained’ has a considerable international cachet which opens doors and increases understanding across the world.
During our long history there has been a close affiliation with the local community and you may be surprised to know that over 180 local personnel are employed in the College. All of our cadets conduct ‘outreach’ projects with the local community, which might include improving playgrounds, parks or other amenities whilst we have strong bonds with Dartmouth Academy, South Devon College and a wide variety of local organisations. Our full support of the Regatta is part of this close connection and is a great opportunity for my staff and indeed the next generation of Naval leaders to contribute. I hope that everyone is able to enjoy a wonderful Regatta Week.
Commodore Royal Navy
Commodore Britannia Royal Naval College