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Re-Joining the Royal Navy


Hi all, hope someone out there could give me more info!

I Joined the RN in 95 and left in 97 due to pregnancy, I then joined the RAF (did basic training for RAF aswell) and finally left the forces in December 2006. Now my children are older and about to start boarding school I'm looking to resume my Naval career. Here is the question, I've been told by my matelot mates, RAF mates and squaddies mates that I wont have to do my basic again or the tests (just the fitness and interview) because I've been out less than 18 months and have my GCSE's and NAMET, when I went to AFCO the chap there didn't seem to know and said it'd be up to HQ (?) he basically said (in not so many words) that my RAF service didnt really count.

I'm just getting a lot of mixed info, hope someone can clear it up!

cheers Dizzy


War Hero
As far as I am aware it's a lot easier if you have been out less than five years. Also your particular skills / trade will make a difference esp if it is a shortage category (or the branch you are planning to re-enter into if different).

Bit disappointing that your local AFCO couldn't answer the bloody question though. Doesn't help the situation.



I was an OM(AW) but would like to go in as a DSA, the bloke at the AFCO said there's a 12 month waiting list, which I said was fine, but just wanted to get the ball rolling. I've filled out the application form and they've taken photocopies of my discharge certificates and records of service. Just had the feeling that the bloke at the AFCO couldnt be bothered, came away feeling a bit frustrated.


War Hero
Hello Dizzy,

Below is a general format I've put together for re-entries. Hope it helps give you an idea of the process. I've tailored it to answer your queries with regard re-joining as a DSA.

To process your application you must first provide all of the listed documentation (1-9 below), the onus is on you to provide them at your earliest opportunity.

1. Discharge Certificate

2. Last RORRS Report (RN/RM only). This must indicate whether you are recommended further service.(If the report states you are not recommended for further service then we can not process your application, if it says after "x" months, you must wait for that time to elapse before you may re-apply)

3. Your last pay statement (This ensures you get paid for your service seniority were applicable- Yes, your former RAF service does count towards your pension).

4. Passport (You must have a valid one as a condition of entry into the service)

5. NHS Number

6. NI Number

7. Birth Certificate

8. Last 3 RAF service reports

9. Original GCSE certificates

When you provide above listed documentation, you should complete a new application form, sign the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act & you MUST sign your consent for the release of:

a) Your former service records.
b) Your former medical records.

The AFCO can not process your application without first taking copies of the above documentation.

The AFCO will then apply for your former records. (Typically this takes about 3-4 weeks for former RN/RM & RAF applicants, former ARMY applicants is approx 6-8 weeks). On receipt the AFCO will then apply for permission to process your application- this takes a further 3-4 weeks & is granted by your future Branch Manager. Providing you are considered a viable candidate for re-entry, the AFCO can then proceed with your application. If you left with a poor RAF or RN service record, your application will most lkelly be turned down by the Branch Manager.

If you were rejoining as a Trained OM(AW)- ie qualified as OM(AW)1, you have to be interviewed, pass medical, PJFT & have your Security Clearance renewed before the AFCO can apply for permission for you to re-enter service. Your Branch Manager will advise what additional training you must undergo upon re-joining, subject to when you left the service.

As you wish to join as a DSA, assuming you fill the academic requirements, the following applies:

Your Royal Navy Recruiting Test (RT) has to have been passed within the last three years, and have scored high enough for the DSA branch. ALL former RAF & ARMY candidates, together with RN/RM applicants who have underscored or are out of date will be required to sit the RT. If you score high enough, you will be interviewed & if found suitable you will be medically examined & if you are passed fit for service you will undergo the pre-joining fitness test. In addition, as a DSA, you need to be CRB checked also. (Any civil offences involving dishonesty are a bar to entry for DSA).

If you pass all of that the AFCO will then re-apply for security clearance, which takes about 6-8 weeks. After being granted security clearance the AFCO then apply for permission for you to re-enter the service.

You should be aware that the waiting time to enter the service can vary from month to month and is subject to variance because of the limited amount of training places available and the number of applicants at any given time. DSA is currently around 12 months, as advised already.

There are several things you should also take in to consideration when re-joining the Service, but two major considerations are as follows:

1. You may be required to undergo phase one training at HMS Raleigh if you are a former RN/RAF/ARMY applicant or did not complete phase one training to an adequate standard previously, or depending on the Branch Manager & your former service records, if you have been out of the Royal Navy over 18 months & wish to change trades. Your future Branch Manager will decide under which circumstances you may re-join, it is not negotiable.

2. You will re-join the service on the AFPS 05 pension scheme regardless of which scheme you left on - this is significantly different to the earlier AFPS 75 scheme and you would be strongly advised to investigate further how this will affect you.

The thing to remember is that re-entry is by no means guaranteed & your former records of RN & RAF service is a key factor in your being permitted to re-enter. If you submitted PVR from the RN previously, that option is no longer available to you & you will be required to complete phase two training, complete 2.5 years return of service, before you may submit 12 months notice to leave..

Hope that makes it all a little clearer for you & the very best of luck.


Can't thank you enough for all that! The AFCO did take copies of all my certificates, and I completed the application and signed the Rehabilitation of offenders act and the med release form, phew! at least thats out the way!

Ive actually started to get fit again just in case I get sent back to dreaded Raleigh (am I mad doing basic THREE times??!!??)

Ive got very good reports from the RAF, high recommendation for promotion on last 3 (even though slow promotion in RAF Police).

So fingers crossed, all looks good.

Is it ok to still ask questions if I need to?


Just feeling really nervous about the whole thing. Have really sat down and thought it all through, but now the application has been done, and the thought of Raleigh hahahah bricking it! Ive even bought a psychometric test book to practise so I get a high enough score for DSA!

All my mates are senior rates now, so for me to start again at 31, they all think I'm mad! They're being really supportive and so is my husband, where as in 95 when I was a naive 18 year old, I didnt prepare for Raleigh at all, and hated it. I'm thinking this time round I really know what I want, but because of this, will be so disappointed if it all goes T*&s up.


War Hero
We've had people join for the first time aged 36 & at least you know what to expect.

The only thing you have to be aware of is that you are liable for sea-service & must be prepared for that regardless of the change in your home circumstances.

Hopefully your husband is prepared for that & aware that it'll all land on his lap should the children need to come home through sickness whilst you're away or need to have someone at home during the holidays.

Many manage it very well, so I wouldn't be put off if I were you.


Thanks again NS, I'm feeling a lot more postive. We have discussed sea time and I'm actually look forward to it! My husband has supported me through my RAF career and as he's serving (Army) also we have employed an Au pair (a minger of course lol!) for when the kids are at home. We have gone over everything with a fine tooth comb and hopefully have all bases covered. Thanks again for all the PM's of support everyone.


War Hero
The wife of one of the instructors in Phase One just passed out. She held off her career until the kids were old enough...she's thirty something...did well on course by all accounts. Odd situation though. They were allowed to have little or no contact even though they live in Torpoint. When she got home, there was eight weeks worth of dirty washing and plates in the sink...apparently!! :thumright:


War Hero
Polto said:
When she got home, there was eight weeks worth of dirty washing and plates in the sink...apparently!! :thumright:

Well at least she'll now be well qualified to make short work of the dhobying.

Fancy her not appointing a local acting Class leader whilst she was away, tsk, tsk,.

Sooner or later we're going to have a Mother & Daughter, Father/Son (make up your own combination) joining Raleigh at the same time, now that the entry age is 37.

Imagine being your Dad's class leader? or Sea-Dad? The list of potential "nightmare scenarios" is endless & probably best left in the gash barge!
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