Portsmouth Reservist sails through training

A Royal Navy Reservist (RNR) from Portsmouth, who believes he is the oldest Midshipman in the Navy, has swapped his life as a civilian for two weeks training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

Midshipman (Mid) Clive Bull was one of 11 Officer Cadets on course at the world-renowned College to prepare for a role within the RNR.   The 50-year-old, who turns 51 next month, joined the RNR in January 2017 and is currently a member of the Portsmouth based unit HMS King Alfred.

He said:  “I wanted to get fit, develop new skills and do something that I had not done before. The Royal Navy Reserve has certainly delivered on these. I am fitter than I have ever been.  I have developed transferable skills that have helped me in my job and I have had some fantastic experiences that money couldn’t buy.”

Mid Bull’s late father, Peter, was previously served in the Royal Navy.  Mid Bull said:  “My father joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor and served in Cyprus and Suez as an Able Rate.

"As a contrast, he was the youngest sailor on board his ship, while I reckon I’m the oldest Midshipman in the RNR and probably also in the wider Navy.”

Without a doubt the highlight of my training was my passing out parade. It was the culmination of 16 days of hard training and months of physical and mental preparation.

Midshipman Clive Bull

The intense two–week RNR course includes ceremonial training, weapons training, strategic studies, theoretical and practical leadership development, as well as gruelling physical sessions.

Three days are spent refining boat skills on the River Dart followed by assessments on Dartmoor and within the grounds of BRNC to determine the fate of pass or fail.

At the end of their course the Cadets were formally commissioned as Officers.

Mid Bull said:  “Without a doubt the highlight of my training was my passing out parade. It was the culmination of 16 days of hard training and months of physical and mental preparation. I was incredibly proud of myself and the other Officers who passed out with me.

"It was hard but a very worthwhile journey for all of us.”

The Maritime Reserves is made up of the RNR and the Royal Marines Reserves. In many cases reservists are indistinguishable from their regular counterparts.

In recent years the Maritime Reserves has been involved in a range of operations including counter-terrorism and anti-piracy work in the Gulf.