Historic Traditions Maintained

  • Author: Nichola Aldridge
  • Date: Thursday 20th July 2017
Historic Traditions Maintained

Officer Cadets from BRNC have taken part in an age-old mariner’s tradition during a visit to London on board HMS Richmond. The group of 14 Cadets were taking part in their three-week initial sea acquaint assigned to the Type 23 frigate when the ship made her first visit to London in three years.


Upholding a mariner’s tradition dating back as far as the 14th century, the Cadets joined HMS Richmond’s Commanding Officer, Commander Antony Crabb, and the Ship’s Company to march to the Tower of London, where they presented their ‘Dues’ to the Lieutenant of the Tower, Lieutenant General Sir Simon Mayall.

The ‘Ceremony of the Dues’ reflects a tradition of merchant and Naval ships seeking protection from the Tower’s heavily armed fortress, which demanded a toll from all passing vessels in return. It was this toll, which in HMS Richmond’s case was a barrel of fortified wine suspended beneath an oar that passed through London on its way to Tower Green to be presented to the Lieutenant of the Tower.

While the toll varied depending on the nature of the ships’ cargo, for Royal Navy vessels the tradition of providing a rum-like wine survived. The Cadets and the Ship’s Company were then invited for refreshments within the Tower’s walls.  They were also able to witness the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines beating the retreat after earlier leading the Ship’s platoons along the marching route.

During HMS Richmond’s time in London the ship opened its gangway to the public and the Cadets help to man stances and show approximately 1,500 guests around the ship.

The initial sea acquaint is designed to give the Officer Cadets an opportunity to experience life on board a modern warship, during training, while serving alongside members of the Ship’s Company.  It gives the Cadets the chance to see how each department contributes to the overall effectiveness of the ship.

Officer Cadets from BRNC have also spent time on board HM Ships Westminster, Iron Duke, Argyll and Sutherland.

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