Britannia Association Historical Timeline

From: Harrold J & Porter R, 2007: Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth: An Illustrated History: (Richard Webb, Dartmouth)

  1. 1843

    The term 'Naval Cadet' used officially for the first time, though the term had been in common use for many years previously.

  2. 1857

    Admiralty decides officer cadets should serve on board a training vessel, initially HMS Illustrious at Haslar Creek Portsmouth.

  3. 1859 1st January

    Illustrious replaced by HMS Britannia.

  4. 1860

    HMS Prince of Wales launched (later HMS Britannia)

  5. 1863 30th September

    Britannia arrives in the Dart.

  6. 1864

    HMS Hindostan arrives.

  7. 1869

    Second Britannia arrives in the Dart (previously HMS Prince of Wales)

  8. 1874

    Committee set up and chaired by Ad. E. B. Rice to look in to health and general training of cadets.

  9. 1875

    Rice Committee reports that a college should be built on shore.

  10. 1876 July

    Committee under chairmanship of Ad. G. G. Wellesley formed to look into the acquisition of a site and considers thirty two sites.

  11. 1877

    Prince Albert Victor and Prince George (later King George V) join as cadets.

  12. 1878

    Passing – Out photographs first take.

    First Beagle pack founded.

  13. 1884 February

    Britannia Magazine first published.

    1884 May

    The Wave arrives, (barque rigged vessel of 300 tons)

  14. 1885

    Yet another committee suggests moving training to The Solent.

  15. 1895 15th November

    Admiralty Board proposes to revise existing cadet training scheme.

  16. 1896 March

    First Lord of the Admiralty announces that a new college will be built at Dartmouth.

  17. 1900 18th April

    Admiralty accepts tender from Higgs & Hill to build the college for £220,600 in three and a half years.

  18. 1902 7th March

    Edward VII lays the Foundation Stone.

    1902 September

    Sick Quarters opened, three years ahead of the main College.

    1902 25th December

    'Selborne Memorandum' on officer training published.

  19. 1903

    Cyril Ashford appointed as first Headmaster of RNC Osborne.

    RNC Osborne opens. Introduction of the Selborne Scheme.

    Prof. J A Ewing appointed as Director of Naval Education from University of Cambridge.

  20. 1904

    Battleship HMS Britannia laid down and the old ship became known as HMSBritannia (hulk).

  21. 1905

    Rifle range under arches in use.

    1905 14th September

    College opens.

  22. 1906

    Swimming bath opened.

    Masters' Hostel opened.

    First introduction of the new six term scheme. (Blake, Drake, Greynville, Hawke, Rodney (later re-named  Exmouth)  and St Vincent.

  23. 1907

    E Block opens.

    Swimming bath covered in.

  24. 1909 May

    Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) joins as an 'Exmouth' term cadet.

  25. 1910

    New squash courts completed.

    Visit of their Royal highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales.

  26. 1911 January

    Prince Albert (later King George VI) joins as a Greynville cadet.

    1911 February

    Epidemic of measles and mumps kills two cadets and is also caught by Prince Edward and Prince Albert.

    1911 March

    HRH the Prince of Wales passed out.

  27. 1913

    New entrance to grounds, from North constructed.

    Special Entry begun for boys who had completed their education at public school.

  28. 1914

    Construction of D Block begins.

    1914 1st August

    Telegram to mobilize.

    1914 Sept

    College re-opened.

  29. 1916 July

    The old Britannia is towed out of the Dart, her copper plating going to help the war effort.

  30. 1917 May

    New studies connecting 'D' Block completed.

    1917 September

    HRH Prince George joined.

    'D' Block opens.

  31. 1918 9th November

    HMS Britannia, battleship sunk off Cape Trafalgar by German U-Boat.

  32. 1920

    First hard courts behind 'D' Block completed.

    1920 March

    HRH Prince George passed out.

    1920 May

    Admiralty decides to close RNC Osborne.

  33. 1921

    Five new terms at Dartmouth from Osborne; Anson, Benbow, Hood, Rodney and Duncan.

    1921 20th May

    Closure of RNC Osborne.

  34. 1924 23rd November

    Dedication of War Memorial Shrine.

  35. 1926 May

    Parade Ground laid out.

  36. 1927

    New rifle range opened.

    Presentation of yacht Amaryllis.

  37. 1930 January

    New Canteen opened.

  38. 1937

    'House' system replaces terms; Blake, Exmouth, Grenville, Hawke and St Vincent. (Drake was the House for the two junior terms)

    1937 May

    The mast of the yacht Britannia erected on the canteen.

  39. 1938 5th-6th July

    Ninth Infantry Brigade under the leadership of Brigadier B. L.  Montgomery, accommodated at the College.

    1938 15th October

    Montgomery visits the College and presents a statuette in gratitude for the help given on 5th-6th July of that year.

  40. 1939 22nd-23rd July

    King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret visit the College.

  41. 1942 18th September

    College bombed.

    1942 3rd October

    College moves to Bristol to become HMS Britannia IV.

  42. 1943

    HMS Effingham, The Combined Operations Headquarters under Mountbatten move into the college buildings. The US Navy occupies the college.

    1943 1st February

    Cadets of HMS Britannia re-assembled at Eaton Hall, Cheshire.

  43. 1946 19th September

    RNC returns to Dartmouth.

  44. 1948 September

    Cadets enter Dartmouth age 16 years. Fees for tuition and boarding abolished.

  45. 1949 May

    Last of the 13 year old entry.

    1949 Winter term

    The Chapel of Remembrance is opened.

  46. 1953 1st July

    Following commissioning of Royal Yacht HMY Britannia College becomes HMS Dartmouth.  

  47. 1954

    Committee on Officer Structure & Training (COST) reports on 18 year old entry training scheme.

  48. 1955

    COST scheme necessitates many internal alterations to the College.

    1955 May

    First 18 year old cadets join.

    1955 July

    BRNC celebrates its Golden Jubilee.

  49. 1956

    Director of Studies replaces post of Headmaster. House system replaced by five 'divisions'; Blake, Drake, Exmouth, Grenville and St Vincent. Dartmouth Training Squadron  (DTS) operational.

    College receives the Freedom of the Borough of Dartmouth.

  50. 1957

    Royal Marine Band arrives.

  51. 1958

    Murray Committee increased minimum entry to BRNC to two 'A' levels.

    1958 May

    Queen's Colour is presented to the College.

  52. 1959

    First Upper Yardmen entry at BRNC.

  53. 1960 September

    Murray Scheme Introduced. First year professional training at BRNC  (inc. DTS), second year at sea as a midshipman and third year at Dartmouth as acting sub-lieutenant for a one year academic course of first year degree standard.

  54. 1962

    First special course for 'New Commonwealth' and foreign officers.

  55. 1963

    Centenary Celebrations of HMS Britannia at Dartmouth.

    First five cadets selected for university entry instead of third year at BRNC.

    Hawke Division re-established in the old hospital quarters.

  56. 1964

    Casper John Hall opens.

  57. 1965

    First Direct graduate Entry.

  58. 1966

    First University Cadet Entry (sponsored cadets).

  59. 1968

    Cunningham replaced Exmouth and Jellicoe replaced Grenville as divisional titles.

    Work begins on the building of College Way.

  60. 1970

    Drake Division abolished.

  61. 1971

    Last Pay Parade on the Quarterdeck.

  62. 1972

    'Naval College Entry' replaces Murray Scheme.

    Rank of Cadet abolished, all junior officers under training become midshipmen.

  63. 1973

    HMS Walkerton joins as Navigational Training Tender.

    First women officers under training as QARNNS.

    Last of Murray Scheme cadets Pass Out.

  64. 1974

    Special Duties Officers' Pre-Qualifying Course (St George) comes to Dartmouth.

  65. 1976

    Women's officer training course moves from Greenwich to Dartmouth to form separate 'Talbot' Division.

  66. 1979

    HM Ships Sandpiper and Peterel  join to form the Dartmouth Navigation Training Squadron and replace HMS Walkerton.

  67. 1985

     Catering at the College is privatised.

  68. 1990 25th January

    Mast of Britannia lost from the Pavilion (canteen) during a severe storm along with twelve trees in the College grounds.


    Integration of male and female officer training.

    1990 August

    Seamanship Training Vessel Hindostan arrives at Sandquay.

    1990 12th December

    HMS Sandpiper and HMS Peterel (Dartmouth Navigation Training Squadron) decommissioned.

  69. 1992

    Integration of female officers into BRNC. (Men and women follow the same course for the first time)

  70. 1995 September

    Integration of Foreign and Commonwealth Young Officers within Naval Studies course.

  71. 1996

    Special Duties Officers' Course moves to BRNC on the closure RNC Greenwich.

    Contract with the commercial partner 'Flagship Training' initiated.

  72. 1997

    Blake Division abolished.

  73. 1998

    Three Divisions replaced by two Squadrons, 'Cunningham' and 'St Vincent'

  74. 1999

    Britannia Museum opened by HRH Prince Philip.

    1999 May

    Senior Upper Yardmen replace Special Duties Officers.

  75. 2000

    Steele Report published.

    2000 December

    Post of Director of Studies abolished.

  76. 2001 January

    First Head of Faculty appointed.

    2001 December

    Learning Centre opened.

  77. 2003 May

    Six term entry introduced.

    2003 September

    Post of Head of Faculty abolished.

  78. 2004

    Academic Faculty merged with professional training and creation five 'pillars'.

  79. 2005

    BRNC celebrates centenary

  80. 2007 11th January

    The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP is first serving British Prime Minister to visit the College.


    Establishment of the Britannia Museum Board of Trustees.

  81. 2008 1st July

    The University of Plymouth takes over responsibility for academic provision and staff.

  82. 2009 April

    New Initial Officer Training scheme introduced, returning to three term entry.