HERMES - fast track young officers

For those interested in spending 7 weeks this summer getting from post AIB to Fleetboard, with a load of cash to go with it, below is an outline, yet to be confirmed, plan.
13 July to 28 Aug, to include, Military and Marinisation elements, NMT100, Confirmation Course, Seatime and Fleetboard.
If you are yet to join the RNR as an officer or a rating who wishes to attain a commission, and have the ability to get 7 weeks off (ideal for students), then contact your AFCO and local Unit.

I don't have full details, and believe that the course is yet to be fully scoped, as I've only heard 4th hand, but the concept is up and running, similar, but an enhanced version of the old OPUS scheme.

Sounds ideal.


War Hero
SR - what always confused me was why OPUS was scrapped, it seemed a sensible solution to getting officers through the pipeline. The only minor reservation I'd have is whether the 7 week course gives enough time to give the 'common sense' skills acquired through sustained contact with the Service that can't be taught, but make a difference in how you go about things.

That said, if this works then thats fine, and it gives branches a bunch of people earlier than would otherwise be the case. The retention issue may be the age old problem of reality arriving and people hitting branch to discover that the branch life is very different from the training regime.
I remember OPUS (and its pilot predecessor, CORPUS); it was not really a solution to getting officers through the pipeline. It was a solution to attracting officer candidates at a time when (if I recall) direct entry officer to the RNR was turned off.
It was a fast(er) track to AIB, but that was it. It went through a few changes during its time (I seem to recall CORPUS was in 2000, and OPUS clung on for at least two or three years), but at least once it ran in a summer, followed by two weeks at Raleigh that Autumn, followed by an AIB around the new year, so a good six months just to get to the AIB, with all the opportunity for wastage and AIB fails. Following that, they were then at the start of the officer training pipeline, and two years later they'd be at fleetboard (so some 130 or so weeks from turning up at OPUS, to an officer entering branch).
If this can give people the AIB at the start, and have them post-fleetboard and entering a branch 7 weeks later, I've got only one question; can I come down and pitch my branch during HERMES, or do I have to wait until they walk out of their fleetboard?
PT, it will be interesting, but I'd hazard a guess (and not a guess with any clear research behind it) that 7 full weeks, inc weekends, all on the bounce, will create a beast with more common dog than 3.5 years languishing in a unit that might not develop it's YOs? Only a guess mind!!!!
The Army Reserve have/had a similar process that used to be called Summer Leader.

Aimed at students it actually turned out some very good officers. The course was very demanding loosing those along the way who couldn't keep up.


War Hero
The AR is running a scheme at the moment to do the sandhurst commissioning course over a summer, primarily to address the scary shortage of YO's in the AR. It started last summer, but not sure on take up yet.
I think I'm quite likely to apply towards doing this. You mentioned the Army equivalent is done at Sandhurst, is this one done at Dartmouth, or at the RNR unit? Also for those of us who are already in an URNU, would doing this transfer us out of the URNU and into the RNR, or would it be like the UOTC where they return to the University unit? I realise its 4th hand information, but on the off chance its known...
it's at BRNC. As for transferring from URNU, that would have to happen. I'd recommend am email on boss's desk on 1st Jan applying for AIB &HERMES. Ps where is closest RNR unit?
SR. & PT.

The TA in London started to run a "high intensity" course called Summer Leader about 4 or 5 years ago. It was formed of 3 componant parts with short breaks between.

The first was the high intesity Modual 1 course (Basic Training). This already existed but was scheduled to fit the program.

The second was a new high intensity Modual 2 and 3 course (7 Question estimates & orders, command of a section/platoon in the field). These had existed separately before but we're run together into a three week course at Grantham.

Lastly Modual 4. The 4 week commissioning course at RMAS. This remained unchanged and in moved.

As I said above it produced alot of good officers. Those who failed at any stage didn't go on. A handful had to pull out due to injury. Over that period of time there is no coasting, no "it's only a weekend I will do .... when I get home".
Fitness improved amazingly. Being totally immersed in a millitary environment set a high standard.

Depending on availability/current training level you could book on any single part of the course.

The course as a whole was aimed at university students who could take the whole time off for all three parts but it did always attract those with flexable employers or those between jobs or between uni and jobs.

As has been mentioned the Army Reserve course is very different to the RNR course and the separate high intensity courses already existed (excluding the merged mod 2&3 course which existed as separate high intensity courses).
As to the second part of your question.

Take up was good, you couldn't run the course with less than 16 students.

I have no information about current situation. I would suggest speeking with London District Officer Training based at Russell Square in the same building as ULOTC.

Not his job any more but ask after Major C. of the Paras. (Probably Lt Col by now) but he pioneered much of the current Army Reserves officer training (got his MBE for it) and had an almost 100% pass rate when he sent people for assessment.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Within striking distance of Portsmouth?, get in touch with me. I can make this happen for you, Ladies and Gents.... I'm looking for a Few Good Men (and Women).
I did one of the original OPUS in 2004. In my opinion it was scrapped because it offered poor value for money for the RNR. Of the 20 or so candidates I joined with, 7 or so past the AIB, and 5 of those then ticked the 'Join the RN' box instead of the 'Join the RNR box' on the day of the races. So basically a fast track to a regular commission, whilst getting a nice chunk of holiday money from the RNR.
Good feedback, and something I'm sure SO1Units, who I have now been told is officially running the project, would be keen to hear. If you are still at HMS VIVID, I'm sure Cdr M, would really appreciate you chatting it through with her so she can pass it up the chain.

Meanwhile, on paper, it sounds a great way of increasing numbers of RNR JOs, and if 100 join, we lose 25 as "not quite suitable" along the way, and in the end another 25 join the regulars, would 50% be different from the "normal" RNR JO attrition rate?
Hi gents,

Just became aware of this scheme and am very tempted to join up.
The main question I have that I haven't been able to find out thus far is is it possible to join the regular Navy having gone through this course and served as a Reserve?

Any help on this greatly appreciated.


Lantern Swinger
Not yet, but such things are being discussed. You could go back to BRNC and start all over again of course.....

Nija Stoker; Service Call Gangway......
Firstly, you can conduct a seamless transfer to the regulars s an officer. However, the question over going back to BRNC etc will depend on what experience you have gained in the regulars. As an example an IO lieutenant with 4 years seniority and a mobilisation under his belt started the junior Pusser's course without any new entry malarkey. He kept his pay as a 4 yr Lt, but lost his seniority. So it can be done.
As for HERMES, it is a a superb way to catapult your way (almost) on to the trained strength of the RNR where you will then be useful in the unit and or spec that you join..

Where is your closest unit?
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