For the first time since World War 2 civilians have begun training to become Royal Navy sailors at HMS Collingwood, say the Royal Navy.

Over the next ten weeks 22 men and women will complete their initial training at the Fareham establishment – the first of 500 civilians to be turned into sailors at Collingwood this year.

The base is meeting a surge in demand to join the Fleet due to Covid and plans to grow the Navy by 3,000 sailors over the next three years, starting with 1,000 extra personnel in 2021.

“Collingwood follows Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth – the traditional home of the Officer Corps – which trained 100 new junior ratings last year. The two bases are providing training alongside HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, the home of initial training for nearly 50 years. It receives around 60 raw recruits every week and is also increasing its throughput to meet the additional numbers.

Eighty one years to the week since HMS Collingwood opened its gates for the first time to meet the demands of World War 2, a new generation of recruits received their uniforms and underwent fitness tests ready to begin their Royal Navy careers. The ten-week civvy-to-sailor course teaches recruits how to look after their kit, parade ground drill, teamwork, Royal Navy ethos and history, general seamanship and survival skills – testing each one mentally and physically, before the successful candidates pass out and move on to specialist training such as engineers, divers, aircrew, warfare experts and gunners.”

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Great to see the numbers of sailors on the rise…….this will be life changing for some of our young people…..


Good bit of news. Goes to show the Navy had good recruitment adverts with the “made in….”

Meirion X

Yes AB, the RN are going need the new recruits to crew the refitted T45s and HMS Portland and HMS Somerset later this year.


Which is good news mate, get those assets back in the water, well done the RN. The Army could learn a thing or two from the RN.


Sorry – I think I’ve missed something here. Where has the RN been getting its recruits from, for the past 75 years, if not from civvy street?


That is not the point the article is making, the special occasion is that these sailors are going into basic training at HMS Collingwood. Usually this training is conducted at HMS Raleigh. Covid and the need for additional recruits have meant that Raleigh is at capacity. This is the same reason that last year a group of sailors went through basic training at BRNC Dartmouth, where RN officers have traditionally been trained.


Thanks Daniele. I wasn’t aware of the change in training establishments.

Daniele Mandelli

Wrong Daniele Crabfat! There’s another Daniel, traditional spelling!


Going to find a darkened room somewhere…


Best news for a long time – these kids will be thanking themselves in years to come for that decision. Right now maybe not…but as long as they stick at it !

Andy P

Just hope the increased demand doesn’t mean they’re pushing people through that they maybe shouldn’t, its happened in the past.


Such as the incurably sea-sick…..oh the misery! 🤢🤢

Andy P

If it was only that……. I’ve had a fairly severely dyslexic guy in the Communications department and he was ‘assisted’ through all his exams. He had a few other issues too and was eventually discharged but he created a lot of extra work for the department. That’s the most extreme example I can think of but there were plenty of other ‘square pegs’ some were sound guys who had got a bum steer in the Recruitment office “Nah mate you don’t want to do that, you should be a stoker/chef/minewarfare….. best job in the Navy and luckily enough that’s exactly… Read more »


That’s recruitment throughout the age and throughout all 3 services mate! Go in wanting to be underwater knife fighting ninja sniper, but alas there’s plenty of gaps to be filled in the RLC gusset scrubbing platoon, which according to the recruiting staff, is the best paid, most exciting and combat ready formation ever in the Army and you would be very lucky if we can just squeeze you in…so heavily oversubscribed! Still, on the basis of it, still better than Capita!

Andy P

Morning AB, aye, I’m sure its been happening since the year dot. I joined up twice (exactly 10 years to the day) and my experience as an 18 year old and a 28 year old who had been it, seen it, done it was very different. It just seems so short sighted to push people down a route that doesn’t suit them and they leave as soon as they can. Again, using a more extreme example to make a point, I shipped out with 2 fully trained diesel mechanics, both joined mid 20’s and wanted to be stokers, one worked… Read more »


Yes, I can see the problem with severe dyslexia in a comms department……
‘I was pissing by your window last night’ !!! 😜

Meirion X

How about a scientific solution for Sea-sickness?

Steve R

Increasing by only 1,000 people per year should be manageable without lowering standards.

Andy P

Hope so Steve, I know they’re struggling with retention in my old corner of the RN, an easy fix is pushing more through training. I think the Forces isn’t as attractive now either, a lot of kids have a lot more options.

Probably me just being “not like when I were a lad….”.

Robert Blay

I think if anything it’s a lot harder to get in now, certainly the pass mark on the entrance test is higher than it used to be. Many of the young men & women who join up today are generally better educated, and more professional in their outlook. More sensible too. Going to the gym is a higher priority then going to the bar it seems these day’s. My wife works for the NHS, and has been genuinely very very impressed with the very professional, and kind manner that the guys and girls have have demonstrated while giving COVID vaccines… Read more »


Good to see. All three services should be doing a massive push to recruit at the moment. After each defence review I can remember they have cut back on numbers, allowances and perks to a point where retention is a huge issue. Recruiting in a recession should be a top priority along with rebalancing the life offered to service personnel.

David Flandry

Hopefully this will raise the ranks to 35-36 thousand, a decent number, so the new ships can be fully crewed. Perhaps one more SSN?