His Royal Highness Prince Andrew returned to Britannia Royal Naval College on Wednesday for the Passing Out Parade of the Officer Cadets.
HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, took the salute as the representative of his father, The Duke of Edinburgh, who is the Lord High Admiral, on Wednesday, April 12.
The parade marked the successful end of initial training for the latest group of Officer Cadets and celebrate their formal commissioning as Royal Navy Officers. The Duke of York inspected the parade and presented prizes to the individuals recognised as the top Officer Cadets for the past year.
Captain Jolyon Woodard, Captain of Britannia Royal Naval College, called it an “extraordinary day”. He said: “This is the moment which these men and women become commissioned officers in the Royal Navy.
“They arrived here only 30 weeks ago, fresh off the streets from a wonderful variety of backgrounds and they’ve been through a really punishing training programme and they have absolutely made the grade and will pass out today as Naval officers.”
Talking about Prince Andrew coming back to BRNC, Cptn Woodard said: “We’re hugely privileged to have the Duke of York here today, I should imagine it will bring back some extraordinary memories for him, and a real honour for the families here today.
“Its really invigorating watching the joy and the pride of all the families, today will be very special.”
The cadets who passed out on Wednesday will move on to varying roles in the Royal Navy, and Cptn Woodard said: “They will move onto the next phase of their training with all sorts of different specialisation, and will go off to different training establishments, and some will remain here and represent a senior element of the college, which is wonderful for the new cadets at the college.
“Some will go off to sea, others will go of to learn how to fly aeroplanes and helicopters.”
The Duke of York completed 22 years of Service in the Royal Navy. He took part in the Falklands Conflict on 1982 as a helicopter pilot operating from HMS Invincible after passing out of BRNC Dartmouth in 1980.
HRH The Duke of York said in his speech to the cadets: “You have a great deal to look forward to, and I have to say it is an enormous pleasure to be here today, where I passed out I don’t know how many years ago, and to see that the traditions and the values that I undertook when I was here are still being imparted to you.
He thanked the staff of BRNC who helped the cadets “make the most of your naval careers”. He also thanked the families and told them that they were “integral” to the cadets lives and asked for their continued “support and love” while the cadets completed their training.
The sun came out as the cadets marched past HRH The Duke of York, and he took the salute. They then filed into the BRNC building where you could here the traditional cheer go up as the doors were closed.
Prince Andrew went on to meet the new Officers and other members of the BRNC staff before returning home.