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From picking up the phone to Britannia - A guide to Officer Selection


Hi guys, first post here. Really interesting reading all this and seeing how little has changed from 1989, so here's my dit. I went down for the AIB as an LMA in the RNR, with about six years' rating service behind me. Two leading Wrens from my division came with me. We'd been CW officer candidates for about a year, getting the coaching in-house which took us away from our branches a lot of the time. Medicals, fitness etc was sorted and as we were all current with our PULHEEMS, that eased things somewhat.

Come the big date and arrival at Sultan, after settling in we hit the pub. We'd been warned about a "plant" sitting with us to see how we behaved and interacted, and there was a PO with us for the evening. I think we all restricted ourselves to a couple of pints, though half of us were smoking like crazy as there was no ban then and we had the full-on nerves!

The gym tests came on the next day and it was pot luck if you got a dry or wet one. Mine was dry, as was my mouth after sitting on a bench with my briefing notes and thinking: "I'm f*cked!" Anyway, we all cracked on in our numbered stokers' overalls, loads of encouragement, delegation and "Good idea, Number 3, we'll go with that!" after I had my team stuck up in the air. Anyway, the objective wasn't achieved!

We had PSO interviews the next day (personnel selection officers, not sure if they still do this) which went really well for me. It was a Wren officer who I think may have been a psychologist or shrink of some kind. She was a great looker and I felt we were getting on fine, talking about life experience, political views, family stuff. It just flowed. I do remember her asking how I'd deal with my former messmates if I passed and came back an officer. I just said: "I'll not let them have a go at me, Ma'am." Truth is I hadn't anticipated the question, obvious as it was!

PLT's came after that; my syndicate had Jungle Fever with the crucial serum to be delivered by boat against a current flow/speed/time/distance variable. Not my strongest subject working that kind of thing out - or even knowing what I should be working out - but we pulled together and spoke when we felt we could contribute.

Next up was the board interview. "Be yourself" and all that other stuff was ringing in my head so I snatched a quick look at the ship picture on the wall on the way in, which was just as well as I was ready to reply: "Rolls Royce Olympus turbines Sir - same as Concorde," when the question came up. I hadn't been to uni at that point so I felt I was up against it, although I'd done certificate courses at night school and being in my mid-20s, had life experience of working since I was 17. Also I was already a trained rate, so it felt to me they probably had a handle on me already. Anyway, I felt it went OK.

On the train home, the two Wrens and I tried to relax but they were quite pessimistic so it was hard not to find it rubbing off. When I was on duty the following Tuesday I was desperate to find out if the results were in. The Cap Sec told me to come in a suit and not my usual No 8s (called 4s now). I asked him if anything was in yet and he said he couldn't tell me. I then asked if I he thought I had anything to worry about and he said: "Oh, I shouldn't think so." Ahah! My final duty as a killick was taking my squad of new entries to safety in a fire drill before being summoned by my divisional officer for congrats. He called me by my first name and took me into the wardroom to meet all the officers, which was quite freaky and nerve-wracking.

It was a surreal time as the Berlin Wall was just coming down but we still faced the "Red Menace" so it was same as usual - at least initially. Being a new acting subby but not being a doctor meant leaving the medical branch and entering NCS (naval control of shipping) but meantime working through the task book. Then it was Options for Change due to the Red Menace having receded, or something. The division closed as did a chapter of my life, but I'm still in uniform, having swapped a stripe for a PO's badge as a Sea Cadet instructor, meaning life has gone full circle as I started out as a cadet aged 12. Gen dit.

Good luck in your careers all. Go safely. Remember, when it stops being fun it's time to swallow the anchor :)


Sorry for bumping a slightly old thread but I was reading through this hoping to get some insight... Ive just passed my medical and arranged my fitness test for a couple of weeks from now which I should pass, but my AFCO recruiter told me after I pass my fitness he can start bidding for me? (Going in as an ET(ME) At the time I didn't know this place existed so didn't question it, but reading this, does he mean he can start bidding for me to have my SIFT interview? Cheers.


This post is so incredibly helpful, thank you!!

I am new to the forum - currently in the process of joining the RN as Warfare Officer and would welcome any helpful comments from people currently serving/joining!


Hi there!

How long after your medical did your fitness get booked in?



My recruitment timeline:
Initial application to RT - 4 months
RT to Medical - 1 month
Medical to PJFT - 6 weeks
PJFT to SIFT - 2 weeks
SIFT to AIB - 3 and a half months

I got my letter to book PJFT just over a month from my medical date and booked it for the closest weekend.


Super helpful! Thank you! I'm feeling less anxious about waiting times now!
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