7 September 2021
Do You Hear There?
Confirmation received from the Commander of the College today that our date of 24 September 2022 has been approved.
The countdown clock is rapidly approaching the 12 month mark, and I am sure we are all very much looking forward to it.
17 August 2021
Next month marks the 36th anniversary for the majority of us linked to BRNC85 in terms of our first experiences of the college. All these years later, there are still a select few of us in uniform, but the numbers are dwindling.
Vice Admiral Paul Bennett took the salute and conducted the Passing Out Parade at BRNC this month. As he said himself, what a great way to finish off his career. As he prepares to leave the RN, we thought Wiggy’s speech to the new Young Officers and their families last week is an ideal opportunity to remind ourselves of what BRNC meant to us all. Here are the edited highlights.
36 years ago, almost to the day, I stood on this parade ground nervous, unsure of the choices I had made and certainly not convinced that I could meet the exacting demands of joining the Royal Navy. Nine months later I was taking charge of a division on the parade ground; 15 years further on I was in command of a destroyer and 36 years later, I stand in front of you at the end of my career having just completed 3 years working with NATO in the United States. BRNC Dartmouth has been a consistent element in everything I have done and, as I prepare to leave the Royal Navy, this spectacular event poignantly bookmarks my career – the start and finish.
But whilst it is a great responsibility, it is also definitely a privilege. You will find that the Royal Navy is respected wherever you go – you stand on the shoulders of the many thousands of talented service men and women that have gone before you - a rich history behind you and an exciting future ahead of you. Your job is to maintain and where we can improve our Service for our successors. Through your performance here, you have proved entirely up to the challenge.
But on a more personal basis, one of the greatest privileges of being in the Royal Navy is the people with whom you serve. Extraordinary men and women, ratings and officers, who bond together in units, as the ultimate team. To a man or woman, they are people that you can rely upon in a crisis. The RN ethos of Commitment, Courage, Discipline, Respect, Integrity and Loyalty – the values which you have learned at Dartmouth, are those things that every man and women live by on the sea, under the water and in the air. They are the fundamental building blocks of delivering maritime power in difficult circumstances. But they are also the basis of life-forming relationships.
Some of those around you today will remain your best friends. All around you are shipmates who will be a constant presence throughout your Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary careers. Some of you will become Admirals, some of you will serve for 36 years, many for less, but the bond between you, based on your experiences at Dartmouth will remain forever.
Fitting words indeed, well said Wiggy.
And on a final note, and as if to prove how accurate some of the comments above are, we had a great response to our request for website funding. Thank you all who made a contribution and we have enough in the kitty now for a further 5 years (and more) keeping the BRNC85 website running, so no need for any further volunteers.
We have some very generous former shipmates.
10 August 2021
Firstly, we hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the summer. It is nice to see life getting back to normal(ish).
Nothing much to report from the Flagship, we remain on track to achieve at least a VSAT at our reunion next year, and, just to be sure you all have it in the diary, it is the weekend of 24 September 2022. I say again….. 2022! We don’t want to hear of any uber keen Cunningham types turning up this year and being sorely disappointed.
While we have your attention, the funding arrangements that we have to keep the BRNC85 website running both as a reunion planning tool and a repository of all things BRNC85 - photo galleries, dits, personal profiles etc, is about to run out. It will cost us around £325 to renew for another 5 years, a sum we feel is well worth it. A couple of our shipmates have been responsible for funding the site since it was first created over 10 years ago. To those generous individuals, we thank you for your support. Now however, it seems like the right time to have a bit of a wardroom whip round and see what we can muster. We have some funding in our account, but not much. Any contributions will be gratefully received and if we attract a bit extra, it will be carried over into the 2022 reunion slush fund.
If this is something you feel you can help us with, please contact us either via the website using the “Contact the Flagship” tab, or via the usual BRNC85@hotmail.com we will then provide the relevant bank details for payment.
In the meantime, please continue to visit the site and add to or update the content as we start the run in towards September 2022.
April 23 2021
Thank you all those who responded to our initial email over Easter about the options for our reunion.
As you might have expected, opinions were very much in favour of leaving it for another year and hoping that by our planned date in September 2022, the world will have returned to something more recognisable as “normal” for all of us. Despite there being some relaxations now across the UK, there are still too many uncertainties to plan anything on the scale of our reunion given we are now only 6 or 7 months from our proposed 2021 dates.
The difficulties too in international travel, the prospects of a resurgence of the virus in the autumn and the speed at which events can change significantly across the world (India, Ontario etc) mean that the safest option is to wait until 2022. We have updated the college this week regarding our plans.
We will endeavour to update the website again, now we have made this decision, and will post updates via our “Main Broadcast” email whenever there is something to report.
Please keep us updated if your contact details change in the meantime, and we hope very much to see you in Dartmouth on 24th September 2022.
Keith, Kev, Neil and Tony
14 October 2020
Prize Winners Update.....
We have it on good authority that now the rubber cheque from the wardroom mess treasurer has bounced into the correct account, prizes should be despatched to the lucky winners this week.
Enjoy (responsibly - obviously).
All the best
4 October 2020
Reunion Quiz – The Results and Prize Winners
Thanks to all of you who have been in touch, either to offer poor excuses for failing to submit a set of answers – reasons in writing all round – or to submit your answers and demonstrate that for many the memories of BRNC are alive and well.
The results are in, and importantly the scores have been exhaustively checked and re-checked to ensure there is no bias or favour given. Despite some slight issues in the admirals/ships/stamps question, where HMS VICTORY was missed out and HMS NELSON incorrectly substituted (which many pointed out) we reckon that a total score of 62 was possible.
In first place, and the winner of a bottle of Pickerings Naval Strength Gin is………
Midshipman Steve Kinsey (Blake Division) with a very fine score of 56.
A respectable second place, and the winner of a bottle of Britannia Gin goes to……..
Midshipman Mark Slade (St Vincent Division) with a creditable score of 47.
In third place and winner of the paper that has travelled almost the furthest, is…….
Midshipman Woodley (Blake Division) – 39 points, who also wins a bottle of Britannia Gin and, for a bonus point, has to come up with a cheap method to ensure it arrives in the USA and gets through quarantine intact.
Well done the prize winners.
Stoking up the Divisional rivalry, the Division with the most enthusiasm for participation is BLAKE (hurrah) and the Division which limped over the line with only one solitary submission was CUNNINGHAM! (Booo). On that basis, and as Soapy Watson would have been furious that one of his Division has wasted precious time taking part in such a frivolous activity when they could have been bulling their parade boots, revising Rule of the Road or flashing light, sadly we believe it only fair that Admiral Bennett provides the Committee with his Reasons in Writing for why he bothered at all.
The Grice Award for Cheating, goes to Mid Ince (Hawke Division) for owning up to wholesale cheating but then attaching his cribbed paper a week late and in a Mac format unknown an undecipherable to the Committee. This means that his own personal assurance that he got 100% is taken with a pinch of salt and instead Mid Ince receives the Pickering Wooden Spoon.
And finally, (Royal Marine Drum roll if you please….. )
The Committees award for best caption, and the recipient of a bottle of Naval Strength Gin goes to….
Mid Nelson (Blake) for this winner for the RAS Photo
“This year darlings we're wearing white. It says I can fight or I can wave it around to surrender”.
Pete, you can collect your prize when you pitch up to the reunion next year (fingers crossed) and in the meantime Gricey is sorting something less appetising out via Interflora…..
The Quiz and the Answers are now on this site under the Reunion Quiz 2020 Tab.
25 Sept 2020
Reminder email sent out today as quiz deadline approaches.
We have only seen a steady trickle of quiz answers coming in to the flagship so far - so thanks to those who have taken the challenge to date.
Let's try putting it another way. NBCD wise, we want to be using a series of softwood wedges and splinter boxes to stem the torrent of responses in danger of flooding HQ1. We've barely even needed to sign out the key to the Aft NBCD locker as yet......
Remember, we even have some prizes to give away so surely it's worth a punt?
22 September 2020
We have our first completed paper, well within the deadline and it's a first for Blake!
There's a saying that we did'nt hear very often......
We don't want to embarass anyone at this early stage for being keen as mustard, but the address on the paper is Cabin A75.
Marking is yet to happen so we cannot as yet offer any hint as the current score to beat!
21 September 2020
Thanks to those who have obviously started working through the Reunion Quiz and to those who have sent us positive feedback.
In answer to a query from "Anonymous of Emsworth" no, you cannot have an easier version for WE's.
18 September 2020
Firstly, we sincerely hope that you and your families are well and that the current ongoing situation is not impacting too much on day to day life. It has been a tough year and the decision to cancel our reunion, taken back at the beginning of June, has disappointingly proved to be the right one.
However, we could not let the occasion pass without some form of celebration, no matter how low key, so we thought you might enjoy some nostalgia and a chance to turn back the clock 35 years and see how you get on with our BRNC 1985 Quiz. It’s the ideal way to refresh your memories in lieu of the multitude of increasingly exaggerated dits we would all be spinning this weekend if things had gone to plan.
We have, thanks to our friends at Pickerings Gin, even managed to secure some prizes too. Let’s face it, after the year we have had, we need very little excuse to crack open a bottle and given their range includes “Naval Strength” and “Britannia”, it seemed appropriate. They are the official gin of the former Royal Yacht as well as being a corporate sponsor to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. We also hope the offer of some half decent prizes will encourage wider participation and rekindle a little bit of that inter divisional rivalry. Yes, it’s still going on even after all these years…….
There have been a few issues with emails sent from the main broadcast system of the BRNC 85 website disappearing into spam folders, particularly when there is an attachment – so this email is a precursor to a separate one which will follow shortly and include the quiz as a word attachment. If you don’t receive Email 2 of 2, check your spam. We will also add a downloadable version too to the website itself and update the comms pages there as well.
On the long-range planning for next year, we have not yet confirmed our plans with the college so the two weekend options we had pencilled in remain, that’s 17-19 September 2021 or 15-17 October 2021.
Right, that’s it for now. Enjoy the quiz, please submit your answers via the usual Flagship email address by and we will be back in touch in the first week of October to update you all on the results, give you the answers and let you know who were the prize winners.
Gricey, Kev, Keith & TC
3 Jun 2020
Do you hear there....
We are sorry to bring you the disappointing news that the Reunion this year has been postponed and we have all, in effect, been “Back Termed”.
Let’s face it, it is hardly unexpected news given our collective record at BRNC of slack and piecemeal compliance with good order and naval discipline, a failure to follow rules in general and a concerted lack of effort all round! BUFFS!
In all seriousness, we have had a discussion with the college this past week and there is still just too much uncertainty on what they will be able to offer us and how much the rules on social gatherings, social distancing and travel will still be in operation. Also, for those who have not heard already, the Senior Gunroom ceiling is (like most of Blake Division) adrift from the rest of the fabric of the College, so it is currently out of commission. This would mean relocating our mess dinner to the Wardroom and the current Commander is, understandably, not keen to take on too many functions which would mean his members are excluded from their own mess. It also means a fairly significant reduction too in the numbers they can cater for, certainly nowhere near the 100 we were hoping for.
So, all in all, now seems like the logical time to make our decision given we only 3 have months to run. Those who have already booked accommodation can decide what they wish to do, you may want to wait it out and some suggested having a quieter weekend in Dartmouth! If people want to take a chance on the weekend and hold their own smaller informal gatherings, then please do carry on. There will be no central support or official liaison with the College and so it will be very much a case of “acting independently”. If it helps with your decision making, we know too that the Dartmouth Regatta this year (late August) has been cancelled too. This is perhaps a measure of the uncertainty about the town and facilities being able to open for business and cope with an influx of visitors. Bars, hotels, self-catering accommodation, restaurants etc are unlikely to be operating at anything approaching pre-lockdown normality - in our view a nyway.
Fear not! For we have already pencilled in a couple of weekends with the College for a potential 2021 35th (+1) Reunion Rescrub – these are the 17-19 September and 15-17 October – dinner in the college being the focus of the weekend on the Saturday evening. As soon as we know either way, we will of course let you all know.
The website will remain up and running for the duration, so we will continue to add news items as and when appropriate. Please do feel free to update the content with your own dits, news etc.
We hope everyone from the BRNC 85 community continues to keep well and safe and we look forward to reconvening the existing Committee (volunteers, one pace forward, march!) sometime later in the year.
One Year to Run - On Track By Headmark
If you have not recieved an email today (22 Sep) then it probably means we don't have up to date contact details for you on the system.
As the countdown commences for next years' event, please keep up to date by visiting the website and contacting the Flagship with any updates, suggestions or additional contact details for anyone not in direct comms with the Flasghip.
34 Years this week the September 85 contingent arrived on the parade ground. Anyone fancy a pint up at the NAAFI Pavilion Bar to celebrate?
Two months since the original Testing Comms broadcast was sent out and we have had 45 responses. It's good, but we can do better.
We will be sending out another reminder, having made a fair few amendments to the contact data base, but again please prompt former shipmates and spread the word.
In the meantime we have been updating the Website to reflect the 2020 plans. This has included a refresh of the College Lingo page. If you spot that there are words/phrases that you fondly (?) recall from your first term and which have not been included, please let us know. We are happy to accept contributions.
231545Z Jul 2019
We have now succesfully tested the comms set up and thanks to those who have replied.
If you have not already done so, please let us know your current email address and/or respond to the initial "Testing Comms" email.
Please do pass on the email to anyone you know from our era who may not have been able to attend the previous reunions and who will not therefore be on our contact list.