150 Alumni Dinner

  • Author: admin
  • Date: Friday 20th September 2013
150 Alumni Dinner 150 Alumni Dinner

The navies of no fewer than 26 nations were represented and Minister for the Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP; Minister for Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans, the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP; and Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, all attended the BRNC 150 Alumni Dinner on Friday 13 September.
A contemporary backdrop was provided by a Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on the parade ground and the Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset, which was moored on the River Dart in line of sight of the College.Before dinner the guests were treated to the precision and pomp of a Beat Retreat on the historic Quarterdeck by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Commando Training Centre.
There is a long tradition of training international naval officers at Dartmouth – when the Prime Minister took the salute at a passing out parade last autumn he saw cadets from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Barbados, the Bahamas, Kuwait and Jordan. Indeed, over 3,200 cadets from 68 different countries have passed through the doors of the College in the past four decades.
The guests, from across the globe, were addressed by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, who gave a speech celebrating the international brotherhood of the sea.
“Superficially, our nations may sometimes be separated by politics or policies, by different levels of funding, by differences in capability,”
the Admiral said.
“But deep down – as a maritime family – we are all supported by the same water and driven by the same currents.”
The Admiral told his guests it had been an extraordinary few days of maritime events – in fact a ‘maritime jamboree,’ with the RUSI Maritime Power Conference; the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition; the London International Shipping Week and the Dartmouth 150 dinner all taking place in the same week.
The First Sea Lord spoke about the Royal Navy’s tradition and ethos, and how Dartmouth provides its starting point.
“Dartmouth jumps the gap between our history and the contemporary Royal Navy. Just as it turns civilians into officer cadets.
He added:
"And I like to think that the ethos which soaks into the character of those cadets is why so many countries – so many of you – send your cadets here to train.”
And the First Sea Lord described the enormous value he places on the common bond provided by Dartmouth which permeates relationships at the most senior levels. He told the dinner that there are 20 current heads of navy who have been educated at the College, which he described as being 'the jewel in the crown of our international training partnership here'. The tradition of training international navies continues after Dartmouth, the Admiral said, with the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation, which last year trained ships from 19 different navies.
Looking to the future, Admiral Zambellas said the Royal Navy had a plan to reinvigorate the training and education given to its personnel during the first 10 years of their careers, and he was looking forward to giving his international guests the chance to work in partnership to shape the plans to their nation’s needs.
He said:
“I am really excited that we are about to embark on an ambitious new project – Project Gunroom as we have called it – an ambitious plan to reinvigorate the training and education given to our people during the first decade of their naval careers.
“Why? To make sure that our officers and sailors are truly ready for the needs of our future. Because the Royal Navy has some excellent new kit coming – and needs bright, highly-skilled, imaginative and flexible people to make it work well, particularly in today’s rapidly changing world.”
Addressing his international guests, the Admiral told them:
“I cannot realise this ambition without your participation – because you and your navies are as integral to the future of Dartmouth as you have been part of its past. Think about that – we want you and we want to hear what you have to say.”

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