Branch transfer as an AB1


Hi all,

Firstly this is my first post so I apologise if this is in the wrong forum.

I am a serving AET in the Royal Navy and I don’t enjoy my job at all so I am looking into the possibility of a branch transfer.

I originally applied to join as a Writer but the staff at the careers office convinced me to join as an AET.

I tried to branch transfer while under phase 2 training but my DO at the time talked me out of it saying that I should wait to see if I started to enjoy the job more.

I am not very well co-ordinated basically and although I have good apraisal reports and I am by no means terrible at my current job I want to do something a bit less hands-on hence I am exploring the possibility of a re-cat.

The branches I am looking at are my original branch, writer but my first choice would be the HM branch.

I have a few questions:

If I follow the branch transfer process for trained strength, realistically what are my chances of being given manning clearance to leave my current branch and to join the HM branch?

What can I do to improve my chances?

If I do get a branch transfer, will I have to recommit to a longer return of service?

Will I have to re-do all the courses I did already like ARLC and BSSC?


Hi, I'm currently in the process of branch transferring from ME(SM) to MA(SM). I managed to get manning clearance and have been given a course date. If you want some numbers of who to contact and what you personally have to do feel free to pm me.
Like the chap above said, your DO is your first port of call where you should air your grievances. Your DO is the person who will email the request in for you.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk


Yes I have explained the situation to my DO who is a pilot and he will submit the request on my behalf under the condition that I get as much background on the HM branch as possible.

The SWO on my squadron is hopefully going to set me up with some ‘work experience’ with the HMs who work at Air Traffic Control.

I also spoke to my old DO from Phase 2B who is very good with this kind of thing.

I have made my intentions known but the thing for me is before my request actually goes to the CO I want to have the best chance possible of getting accepted into HM.


Lantern Swinger
Manning clearance will ultimately depend on the current numbers in your source branch and the branch you are seeking to join. I’m not sure about AET and HM (although I would guess they are in manning balance as they are popular with recruits), however Wtr is a manning pinch point therefore you may have more chance of transferring to them. But I’m massively bias! Good luck.


Your DO is the best person to speak to about this, you might find the answers you want to hear in an online forum, but not necessarily the correct answers. BR3 is your go-to guide for the majority of Career Managment aspects. Just remember "Branch transfers are not a right, as acknowledged by ratings and other ranks on Form S3049 when they enlist in the Service."

Good luck to you.


War Hero
In most cases, upon completion of training there's a 30 month return of service required to cover training costs for the qualifications earned thus far.

Be aware that Hydrographers and Meteorologists get streamed during initial training so you could transfer but may not get the spec you would have preferred. HM as a whole is a small branch in terms of manpower, so be aware also that when manning clearance is granted, you could be waiting in excess of 12 months for a phase two training place to become vacant.

Courses relating to seagoing or shore billets, listed in your assignment order such as BSSC etc, usually only remain valid for that particular draft.

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