UK: HMS Somerset Marks 150 Years of Officer Training
By spending two days moored on the River Dart, HMS Somerset provided an elegant and stylish backdrop to Britannia Royal Naval College’s special alumni dinner, marking 150 years of Officer training in Dartmouth.
A series of events have been held throughout the year to make the anniversary of HMS Britannia’s arrival in Dartmouth in September 1863 to begin the association between the Royal Navy and the historic Devon town.
HMS Somerset is currently undergoing a period of training with Flag Officer Sea Training off the South Coast, in preparation for Future operations.
The visit to Dartmouth also allowed the Ship to practice visiting a port, at relatively short notice, for regional engagement and to reinforce UK relationships, as Royal Navy vessels do around the globe on a regular basis.
All twenty-one of HMS Somerset’s Commissioned Officers trained at Britannia Royal Naval College and for many it was a short but pleasant return.
HMS Somerset’s Commanding Officer, Commander Mike Smith Royal Navy said, “It is always good to come back to where it all began 22 years ago.”
“HMS Somerset looked magnificent in the Dart, overlooked by the College; it is a special place for all Officers in the Royal Navy,” he added.
The special alumni dinner at Britannia Royal Naval College was attended by senior Royal Navy Officers and a number of international guests, some of whom trained in Dartmouth and are now the heads of their own countries’ Navy.
HMS Somerset was greeted by a significant number of onlookers as she slowly made her way up the Dart. Equal numbers were in attendance to wave her off as she left, returning to high tempo training at sea.
Lieutenant Matt Steel Royal Navy, the Visit Liaison Officer said, “It is great to receive such a warm welcome in a town that is so used the Royal Navy.”
He added, “The Ship’s visit to Dartmouth presented a timely and high profile opportunity to show HMS Somerset off.”
Press Release, September 17, 2013; Image: Royal Navy