Entry selection into the Royal Navy as an Officer.

A

angrydoc

Guest
Slim - you are right. Officers are no better than Ratings, and no-one could argue otherwise. Different people, different expectations, different jobs.

Merge training - still don't see where you're going with this one. I can't see how you'd fill 6 months - apart from sport I don't see how you could spend the time.

Presumably you're also against the current ethos of tribal messing, where all the MEs are in one mess, the WEs in another, etc - not terribly good for the team spirit, is it?
 

slim

War Hero
angrydoc said:
Slim - you are right. Officers are no better than Ratings, and no-one could argue otherwise. Different people, different expectations, different jobs.

Merge training - still don't see where you're going with this one. I can't see how you'd fill 6 months - apart from sport I don't see how you could spend the time.

Presumably you're also against the current ethos of tribal messing, where all the MEs are in one mess, the WEs in another, etc - not terribly good for the team spirit, is it?
Not so sure about tribal messing. Ark Royal in the 70s still had department messdecks for junior rates but senior rates of all trades were interspersed in the various messdecks.. This was the result of an enquiry after a near miss accident. It was thought that had the accident happened there could have been a dearth of senior rates in one particular branch. As an ex wafoo who up until then had been used to squadron messdecks I was not too impressed. However two years later I understood that the benefits of the system and certainly had no wish to return to the old system.

As for your statement of if it aint broken don't fix it.
Have you read the thread on HMS Sheffield.
I served during the Falklands campaign and many mistakes were made by officers which led to the sinking of several ships. Unless the system has been fixed since then it is most certainly well and truly broken.
 

F169

War Hero
Slim, and the link between the Falklands war and your idea is?

Ships would have been saved then and mistakes avoided then if the first six months of initial training had been all of one company? My mate was exoceted in Glamorgan - I must ask him if living together would have avoided that then............perhaps the last 1SL might be able to say it would have saved his Type 21?
 

silverfox

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Slim

To go back to your original thread - merging traing for 6 months would be expensive but mainly unnecessary - there is sufficient nastiness and scrutiny in IOT to weed out those unsuitable - having spent time recently on the staff I can vouch for that! Part I training at Raleigh is only 8 weeks long - spin that out to 6 months would be a waste of time for everybody.

As far as the Sheffield - mistakes were made, but that was the result of being faced with a totally new environment ie air launched sea skimming anti ship missiles for which the doctrine was very new and uncertain - the RN was totally focussed on ASW in the gaps at the time. We always learn lessons the hard way - Prince of Wales and Renown vs Japanese carrier air group ring any bells??
 

slim

War Hero
Living together would not & could not have saved any of the ships lost in the Falklands conflict.
However perhaps if a different method of officer selection had been in use we may have had officers willing to put their hands up and admit to their mistakes. I served in Manchester ships flight on first commission we had two junior rates, one from Sheffield the other from Coventry they certainly had some stories to tell, including the well reported one about a boat full of officers refusing to take ratings because this is an officers boat!
here were many mistakes made and very few officers admitting to making these mistakes.
Unless the system for officer selection has changed since then it is not only broken but broken beyond repair.
 

F169

War Hero
Ah, so its not the first six months you are really interested in but "the system for officer selection". You really are living in a timewarp, Slim and you come across as very bitter, I hope it isnt because you failed the AIB. I do not believe anything anyone says will change your mind on this subject.

By the way, boats? Didnt the shiny SHEFF manage to get most people off in other ways? Wasn't COVENTRY's Ship's Company in liferafts?

I think the British Communist Party has disbanded but if not I am sure they will be delighted to hear from you..............
 

slim

War Hero
F169 said:
Ah, so its not the first six months you are really interested in but "the system for officer selection". You really are living in a timewarp, Slim and you come across as very bitter, I hope it isnt because you failed the AIB. I do not believe anything anyone says will change your mind on this subject.

By the way, boats? Didnt the shiny SHEFF manage to get most people off in other ways? Wasn't COVENTRY's Ship's Company in liferafts?

I think the British Communist Party has disbanded but if not I am sure they will be delighted to hear from you..............
Lifeboats or life rafts does it matter. Officers still refused entry to ratings. As for the communist party, I'm afraid that I am purely a two property owning capitalist, with sufficient funds in the bank to allow me the luxury of having being able to retire in comfort at 61. As for AIB there would have been no point in applying as you keep telling me things may have changed now (not that I believe it) but in the 60s/70s there was no way that either myself or my wife (who's an ex POWREN) would have been offered the chance due to family backgrounds.
 

SailbadTheSinner

Lantern Swinger
Quite amazing bitterness

Having been personally responsible for three former ratings now serving as officers (2 UY, 1SD) it is clear that the recruitment system does not always get it right. Some people mature late and academic success is not usually any guarantee of leadership potential. The promotion system does seem to get it right most of the time though.

As to the way officers treat ratings, I am really quite surprised at your experience. I always watched for such attitudes like a hawk - and rarely found them.

Personally I have had far more problems with the way junior POs and LHs treat junior ratings

You would be surprised how much interaction there is between BRNC and Raleigh. Ultimately they are trying to produce different things. A junior officer could be in a position of responsibility a lot earlier than a rating.
 
A

angrydoc

Guest
Slim, your recent comments re: Falklands campaign I think have put your comments in better light. The type of behaviour you describe is awful, and I am certain such behaviour no longer happens (I'd be pretty ashamed if it did). However, these are things that happened over 20 years ago. Today's RN is _very_ different, as Sailbad has eluded.

I'd also echo the comments about witnessing many more bad SRs than Officers, but no doubt you'll put that down to my rose-tinted spectacles...
 

clanky

War Hero
Slim
Maintaining your level resentment and bitterness for 22 years must have been really painful. Getting out was obviously the right thing for you. I'm not a grunter and I'm not going to sit here and defend the officer corps. I can remember the way things are in the 80s, and you'll have to trust me that things have changed for the better.
I dont see how you can say the Brazilians do their business any better. When we handed the Brill over to them, watching the BN contingent interact wih each other was like going back to the 70s(the 1870s).
Unless you served on ships that did IST, then perhaps you would not have been aware of its existence while you where in. In 85 for example, the DTS was Minerva.
 

slim

War Hero
clanky said:
Slim
Maintaining your level resentment and bitterness for 22 years must have been really painful. Getting out was obviously the right thing for you. I'm not a grunter and I'm not going to sit here and defend the officer corps. I can remember the way things are in the 80s, and you'll have to trust me that things have changed for the better.
I dont see how you can say the Brazilians do their business any better. When we handed the Brill over to them, watching the BN contingent interact wih each other was like going back to the 70s(the 1870s).
Unless you served on ships that did IST, then perhaps you would not have been aware of its existence while you where in. In 85 for example, the DTS was Minerva.
Thanks Clanky. If things have changed then I am extremely pleased. As you stated, the way forward for me was to leave the RN and carve a new life for myself. My last ship was HMS Manchester on first commission and I must admit that the SLUTS (sub lts under training) were a good bunch of guys. Having said that the Manch was a ship which had both a remarkable captain in the late Tony Wigley and a great MAA two men who were held in high esteem by all members of the ships company.
 

silverfox

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
slim said:
clanky said:
Slim
I must admit that the SLUTS (sub lts under training) were a good bunch of guys.

Hang on - that can't be right... I thought you said Officers were a throwback to the feudal system... first 80% were ok and now all the YOs pass muster as well. Make your mind up.

If I were you I'd leave Officer training and selection to those of us who know what we are doing (and still doing it..)

I'm glad retirement has been so good to you.
 

dunkers

War Hero
Slim
You may be interested to know that since January 2005, the AIB has not had a headmaster or padre on the board asking what school you went to, what books/newspapers you read etc.
Also gone is the one-to-one interview where they asked about your family background.
The AIB now only cares about candidates giving them proof of leadership ability.
Also, the system you suggest of officer candidates spending 6 months as ratings already exists to some extent - new recruits to BRNC spend 7 weeks at sea in JR messdecks, which happens prior to them being commissioned.
 

slim

War Hero
Ah Silverfox I also stated that Manchester had a remarkable captain and MAA. In fact if all officers were of that captains calibre this thread would never have been started. As you reminded me I also said that 80% of officers that I served with were good. That leaves the 20%. Well for starters lets regurgitate the fact that 10% of one entry consisted of officers graduating who had been given a public school education. That is 10% who in all probability have led very sheltered and privileged lives and may well benefit from living albeit for a short time with their subordinates.
Dunkers I am gladdened to hear that since 2005 the AIB are not asking these questions. Promotion to officer should depend on the calibre of the man and not his family background. It looks like the RN is starting to act at last and is starting to fix a system which if not broken was certainly damaged. Only one question, this 7 weeks at sea in JRs messdecks? are the junior officers segregated or are they split between messdecks and eat and live with the JRs?
 

slim

War Hero
Looks like things have changed somewhat in the 21 years since my retirement from the RN. I like the Gloucester way of splitting up between messdecks, not so sure about having a separate messdeck. I must admit that I would liked to have heard more input from non officers on this subject though.
 

F169

War Hero
Slim, your comments on public schools that is the 10% "who in all probability have led very sheltered and privileged lives" is a bit rich and riddled with the same class-consciousness of some of your other posts.

I didnt go to public schools but my kids have (dont we all want the best for our children?) Neither of them were the slightest bit interested in the military but if either had joined I can guarantee you they would have been much better rounded characters than I or many of my contempories from state schools when we joined. You may be surprised by some of the community activites, D of E schemes etc public schools get involved with, not to mention sport and other practical outdoor activities. By their nature public schools also instil many of the characteristics valuable in a military environment. I think the most impressive thing they did, from my perspective was take part in a school WW1 battlefield tour, something I never had the opportunity to do.
Public schools have changed since thirty years ago but even then it was still the individual who made a good/bad officer/human being not the school he went to.
 

silverfox

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
slim said:
Looks like things have changed somewhat in the 21 years since my retirement from the RN. I like the Gloucester way of splitting up between messdecks, not so sure about having a separate messdeck. I must admit that I would liked to have heard more input from non officers on this subject though.
Well goodness me, things HAVE moved on in the past 21 years - as everyone has been trying to tell you!! I'll pass your approval about messdecks to the Admiralty Board as I know there has been a few sleepless nights amongst them. And as to the non-officer contributions? Well maybe its because you are slightly isolated in your views and everyone else realises how well integrated ships companies are and that fact that during IST and Fleet Time, SRs and JRs have a tremendous and lasting opportunity to influence the way a YO thinks - one that is unique amongst the other services.
 
slim said:
From the responses to this post made by officers or ex officers I can see that nothing has changed. It still seems to be a them & us situation.
Many are still misguided enough to be still believing the crap that they were taught at Dartmouth, i.e. The officer class are superior beings.
After 22 years in the RN followed by over 21 years as a civilian I thimk that I am qualified to speak for both sides. In civie street there may be class distinction but it certainly has not been taught during training
Well I can assure you that at no time during my training was I informed that I was a superior being, and I would suggest that you are perhaps a suffere from reverse snobbery. Certainly as a cadet and a midshipman I had the good fortune to be educated by 3 badge ABs, something that I would agree is not so common these days. Even so I would expect that mutch of the basic stuff we were taught stays much the same. Whilst I may not have shared a mess with sailors or stokers I spent a fair ammount of time working part of ship, or as a tiffies bagman during my training.

Perhaps your sig line says it all

PS I never felt a feeling of some special poewer on the brdge, but working a steam throttle now that gives yo a feeling of power.
 
jesse650 said:
This appraisal would of course be done by the SR's conducting the course and by deffinition have those skills.........
Who do you think does a fair proportion of the training of officers, it is senior rates. Do you think they just spout their lectures etc and never pass comment. No they are just as involved in the assesment of the trainees as any one else.

Peter
 
Having been through AIB and the OASC (RAF officer selection) I can wholeheartedly agree that the AIB is a million times fairer then the OASC.

1. Before AIB, your qualifications are assessed, if they meet the grade for forwarding to AIB, you have a brief interview with a careers officer, then you are forwarded to AIB, thats it qualifications assessed, met the grade forwarded to AIB. No question of what school you went to our what background you are from.

2. At AIB the academic qualifications are not discussed they have already been passed or you wouldn't be there! The AIB is assessing leadership, fitness, intelligence, communication and teamwork. At no point was your class background relevant or talked about.

3. At OASC i was asked some fairly pointless question in the interview they included:
What are your parents jobs?
What newspapers do you read?
Where did you go to school?
How many siblings do you have?
Do you have a girlfriend?
Why they asked me these i do not know.
At AIB i was asked (word for word)
Tell me about when you have led a team
Have you ever been in any dangerous situations and how did you deal with it?
Have you ever witnessed any racial or religious abuse and how did you deal with it.
Why do you want to join the Navy? (although to be fair the RAF asked this too)
Have you ever had to work in a team with someone you disliked.
These are all IMHO pertinent and relevant questions.

I feel that the RN has completed removed any of the "daddy owns half of hampshire" type of easy entry for applicants and that it is truly merit based. I am sad to say i do not believe the same of the RAF, cant comment on the Army havent been to through their selection.

Obviously i cannot comment on the training, but am personally looking forward to IST. I think given the choice I would not turn down IST, if I'm going to be in charge of ratings i WANT (and need) to know and understand how they live. I WANT (and need) to spend time in their shoes! I strongly believe you should not ask someone to do something you wouldn't do yourself.

Obviously having been selected for BRNC i am slightly biased towards the RN. However my views were shared by others on my AIB who had also been to OASC
 

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