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Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
Active 1863 (HMS Britannia) – Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Type Training
Role Initial Officer Training
Size 300 (approx)
Part of Flag Officer Sea Training
Ship's Name HMS Dartmouth
Nickname BRNC
Motto It is on the Navy, under the good providence of God, that our wealth, prosperity and peace depend
Badge BRNC-Crest.jpg
Anniversaries 1905 - Opening of the current College
Commodore J K Moores BSc, MNI, MIoD, Royal Navy
Lord High Admiral HM The Queen
Flag Officer Sea Training Rear Admiral C Snow
United Kingdom
Surface Fleet
Fleet Air Arm
Submarine Service
Royal Naval Reserve
Nursing Service (QARNNS)
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Marines Reserve
History and future
History of the Royal Navy
History of the Royal Marines
Customs and traditions
Future of the Royal Navy
Current fleet
Current deployments
Historic ships
The Admiralty
Senior officers
Officer rank insignia
Ratings rank insignia
Related civilian agencies of
the Ministry of Defence

Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service

Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England. While Royal Naval officer training has taken place in the town since 1863, the buildings which are seen today were only finished in 1905, with previous students having 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.[1] In 1864, after an influx of new recruits, Britannia was supplemented by the HMS Hindostan.[2] Prior to this there had been a Royal Naval Academy (later Royal Naval College) at Portsmouth from 1733 to 1837. The original Britannia, was replaced by the Prince of Wales in 1869, which was renamed Britannia.[3] Sir Aston Webb designed the shore-based college at Dartmouth, which was practically completed in 1905.[4] The first term of cadets entered at the R.N. College Osborne were transferred to Dartmouth in September 1905.[4]

The Britannia training establishment was closed at the same time, the cadets then under instruction being embarked on two cruisers for the purpose of completing their instructions under the old system. The headquarters of the cruisers was established at Bermuda, where suitable arrangements had been made for the convenience of 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[4]

The college was originally known as the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and as a Royal Naval shore establishment was later additionally known by the ship name HMS Britannia (there was a battleship called Britannia from 1904 to 1918). The college received its present name (ship name: 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, currently the former Sandown class minehunter, HMS Cromer, continues to bear the name Hindostan.

Cadets originally joined the Royal Naval College, Osborne at the age of 13 for two years before joining Dartmouth, and spent four years there before starting sea training at 17. RNC Osborne closed in 1923, and the entry age was changed to 16 in 1948, and to 17 and 6 months in 1955. Until 1941, Dartmouth was in effect a specialised boarding school, with parents paying fees for tuition and board.

During the Second World War students and staff moved activities to Eaton Hall in Cheshire until the autumn of 1946 after a September 1942 incident involving six Focke-Wulf aircraft released a payload of bombs over the College. Two bombs penetrated the College's main block, causing damage to the quarterdeck and surrounding rooms.[5][6]

The College Today

Today, officer cadets, as they are known until passing out from the college, can join between the ages of 18 and 32. While most cadets join BRNC after finishing university, some still join directly from school.[7] All spend between 28 and 49 weeks at the college, depending on specialisation. There is a large contingent of foreign and Commonwealth students.

Following the closure of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich in 1998, BRNC is the sole naval college in the United Kingdom.


To enter as an officer cadet, British entrants must have 180 or more Universities and Colleges Admissions Service UCAS points. Prospective cadets 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.

Royal Links

King George V and King George VI were naval cadets at Dartmouth, as were the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. It is said that the Duke of Edinburgh met the then Princess Elizabeth at Dartmouth. Prince William spent a brief period at the College after leaving Sandhurst as part of his training with all three of Britain's Armed Forces.


See also


  1. ^ Walker, Charles. Young Gentlemen. p. 39.  
  2. ^ Walker, Charles. Young Gentlemen. p. 40.  
  3. ^ Lambert, Andrew Battleships in Transition, the Creation of the Steam Battlefleet 1815-1860 pages 122, 127-128
  4. ^ a b c Lord Tweedmouth, First Lord's Statement explanatory of Navy Estimates, 1906-7, 26 February 1906, reproduced in The Naval Annual 1906, page 370.
  5. ^ Britannia Royal Naval College 1905-2005 : a century of officer training at Dartmouth, Jane Harrold and Richard Porter, Dartmouth : Richard Webb, 2005, ISBN 0953636135, ISBN 9780953636136
  6. ^ Article by Jane Harrold and Richard Porter in The Britannia Magazine 2004, Crest Publications, pages 6 - 7
  7. ^ Royal Navy Sponsorship

External links

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



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