Unit History: BRNC Dartmouth
Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England.
The training of naval officers at Dartmouth dates from 1863 when the wooden hulks HMS Britannia and HMS Hindostan were moored in the River Dart. Prior to this there had been a Royal Naval Academy (later Royal Naval College) at Portsmouth from 1733 to 1837. The shore-based college at Dartmouth was designed by Sir Aston Webb and was completed in 1905.
The college was originally known as the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and as a Royal Naval shore establishment was additionally known by the ship name HMS Britannia. The college was given its present name in 1953, when the name Britannia was given to the newly-launched royal yacht HMY Britannia. The training ship moored in the River Dart at Sandquay, currently the former Sandown class minehunter, HMS Cromer, continues to bear the name Hindostan.
Cadets originally joined the Royal Naval College, Osborne at the age of 13 for two years before joining Dartmouth, and spent four years there before starting sea training at 17. RNC Osborne closed in 1923, and the entry age was changed to 16 in 1948, and to 17 and 6 months in 1955. Until 1941, Dartmouth was in effect a specialised boarding school, with parents paying fees for tuition and board. Today, officer cadets, as they are known until they go into the "senior phase", can join between the ages of 18 and 26 some after finishing university, although many still join directly from school. All spend between 28 and 49 weeks at the college, depending on specialisation. There is a large contingent of foreign and Commonwealth students.
King George V and King George VI were naval cadets at Dartmouth, as were the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. It is said that the Duke of Edinburgh met the then Princess Elizabeth at Dartmouth.
Following the closure of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich in 1998, BRNC is the sole naval college in the United Kingdom.