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Transferring from the Army to the Royal Navy


Hello all,

I am currently serving in the British Army and am looking at transferring to the Royal Navy as a Medical Assistant (MA). A little about myself first, I have been in the army for 6 years, have passed the All Arms Commando Course (AACC) and the Royal Marines Recce Leaders course and have done 2 Operational tours of Afghanistan with 3 Cdo Brigade, I have done several medical courses and have got hands on combat medical experience. I am currently a LCPL and am looking at promotion to CPL next year. The questions I have are:

1. If I transfer will my pay be affected? ie. Will I drop down to a new entrants pay level? I know that if I was to transfer branch within the Army my pay would not be affected but how does it work if you change service?
2. Would I have to attend Basic RN training at HMS Raleigh?
3. How long is the waiting list for MA courses?
4. Would I be able to work only with Commando Units or would I be expected to do time onboard ship as well?
5. Would my seniority from the Army count at all in the Navy? I understand that joining a specialist branch in a different service means starting from the bottom but would my experience count for anything?

Thank you in advance for your responses and assistance.

1. When you apply to transfer your paperwork will do across to the Medical drafting desk and they will see if they:-

a - want you

B - what, if any, increase above the basic entry pay levle they will offer

2. Yes it's very likely that you will have to attend HMS Raleigh, as you will not have done most of what is needed for safety in a sea environment.

3. The current waiting time for a new entry MA is approx 20 months.

4. You can ask to work with CDO units, but there's no way you will know until you transfer. Yes you will have to do sometime with the RN and possibly at sea.

5. You will start at the bottom of the promotion ladder the same as any new entrant, however, previous service I'm sure will be an advantage when it comes to settling in and cracking on with promotion task-books etc.

Good luck and get your transfer chit in soonest, the longer you do in the Army the less likely it is that they will take you



Thanks, that's really useful. Do you know if I can apply to join the Navy whilst I am still serving in the Army in order to allow a seamless transition from one service to the other? Or would I have to leave the Army before I could apply to the RN. Also having spoken to Commando MA's both RM and RN that I am serving with I am under the impression that there is a shortage of Commando trained MAs, therefore is a draft to a CDO unit more likely than not?


War Hero
Another route to consider, assuming you're under age 32, is joining as a Royal Marines Commando Recruit, starting from scratch & later specialising as an RM Medical Assistant. (Same course as RN MA).

Again wage & seniority will be determined by the RM branch manager. The good news is that we are pretty much doubling our requirement for Royal Marines next year.

In practical terms this means you'll spend a couple of years theoretically creating casualties & if selected, spend the rest of your career 'fixing' them, but pretty much sure to serve with 3 Commando Brigade or FPGRM.


Transferring to the Marines was another option that I looked at, but having already done the AACC I don't really fancy having to crack things like the 30 miler again so thought the RN might be a good option.


War Hero
Just showing my ignorance but, would you have to do all that again since you are already "commando" trained?

It's the RM Branch Managers call & amongst other things, boils down to the Army specialisation. If the Combat Infantrymans Course has been completed together with AACC then it's more likely a direct transfer maybe considered but in my experience, most guys should join in the expectation of completing RM Recruit Training.


I've always been under the impression that because I am from a Non-infantry capbadge I would have to do RM Recruit training complete, despite the fact that I am trained pretty much as an infantryman but have not done an official course to say so.
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