Troubridge 'survivors', what was your experience?

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by jaggers, Mar 21, 2013.

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  1. I went through BRNC in the late 90s and we got our share of guys who'd come back from Troubridge assigned to our division. They were good guys and none of us could imagine why they'd ever been sent there in the first place. We had three guys from our term go there and the ex-Troubridge guys told them it was nothing to worry about, just lots of command tasks and adventure training and when they came back they'd be fine, not least because they'd all passed their boat stuff by then and wouldn't have to spend so much time on the water (and wouldn't anyway as we were moving into winter and they'd call it a day down at Hindostan at sundown).

    So a few weeks later they're all quitting in droves. There was a new officer in charge of Troubridge since the previous term and his idea of 'boosting their leadership and confidence' was to decide who he wanted and then beast everyone else in the hope they'd quit. When they didn't (because if anything distinguished the guys sent to Troubridge they were the keenest of all of us) he'd take them to one side and tell them they were a waste of time and he wanted rid of them (his actual words according to 3 different guys I've spoken to). Those who listened to him quit broken hearted, those who saw him for the asshole he was and didn't listen to him when he told them to quit got through Troubridge and passed second time around effortlessly. You never saw such hatred between people as between this guy and those he tried to make quit who proved him wrong, they loathed each other. One later got posted under him when he was a Lt Cdr and immediately put in for a transfer, he was a real Bennet.

    My question is, which experience was typical and which atypical? Is Troubridge genuinely designed to help you get back and pass second time around or is it that the navy has already decided it wants to bin you and this is designed to make you quit of your own accord and spare them the embarrassment of forcing you?
  2. My cabin was the first non-Troubridge cabin in C Block, and on more than one occasion I was 'shaken' by accident. I know a couple of guys from my entry who went there and they seemed ok: a bit of phys, lots of Command tasks and some bullshit. All in all it seemed to be a 'train in not select out' attitude.
  3. fails_as_is

    fails_as_is Badgeman Book Reviewer

    iirc, the Commodore at the time remarked that ideally he'd like to put everyone through the programme available to Troubridge division, with the levels of command tasks, Adventure Training and so on that it involved, it made people much stronger in many aspects. Clearly the experience is going to be driven a lot by the staff i/c at the time, but it's too expensive to be a route through which the RN bins it's people who aren't making the grade. It is indeed meant to be a "train in, not select out" philosophy.
  4. Must have missed this at the time - still, FWIW and in the spirit of thread resurrection... I'll stick my head above the parapet and own up to being a Trout (early 2000s). Bits of it were horrendous, not least the "selection" process for being there. I'm saying nothing on that.

    There was also a rather unhealthy coincidence that the numbers in Troubridge exactly matched the number of new entry divisions the following term (so they could all be given one), which did make us question the selection criteria a bit more than I was already doing....

    Anyway.... Troubridge itself was pretty full on - if you read the horror threads on Arrse about RoCo or the IJLBs in the 80s then it wasn't too far off that (8 weeks at 20 mins notice to move round the clock; swimming off the Atlantic coast of Cornwall at 6am in December fully clothed; being beasted around the Ecole Navale by French Marine Infantry - we did a 60 mins PT session in combats where you couldn't remove your hands from your pockets on pain of, well, pain, etc). At the same time, I got my longest kip in the navy - 16 hours laid up in a patrol harbour round the back of Ditsworthy Warren House, got fitter than I'd ever been in my life, and picked up some decent friends. Some of the staff also took pity on us, from sometimes unexpected quarters. I remember having a week of getting absolutely shredded on Bodmin Moor, getting back to the college after about 5 hours sleep in a week, and getting kicked awake at 6am on the following morning for swimming circuits. The POPTI at the pool, hitherto not exactly known for common sense or understanding, took one look at the broken, bloodied bodies lined up in front of him and literally said something like "just get in and have a float."

    Troubridge Section were a class apart, black name badges, our own accommodation (complete with intimidatory "Troubridge Section Only, No Gangway" notice on the door to the corridor), and our very own RM sgt just to keep us on the straight and narrow. Anyway, it must have worked, we had no drop outs, everyone in my Troubridge passed out, and by the end of it I was a Sqn Sub.

    Happy days. Sort of. Oddly, I'd do it again without a moment's hesitation. Not sure anything like that still exists though, even in 2002 we were operating on the edge of the H&S envelope...
  5. That sounds both typical and atypical of our term, those guys would come back from Oakington after being beasted around the assault course laughing and joking but be in tears later when their training officer had taken them individually aside and told them he wanted rid of them (one guy told me that he and a few others had made a point of socialising with him on their run ashore and all those who'd avoided him were the one's he'd told to quit).
    Let me ask this, did you have any girls on your Troubridge? Or non white guys? If so, how were they treated?
  6. Just to be sure of the Lt Cdr we're gobbing off about, he was non-Warfare, had a Naval nickname and had a bit of a temper? About 2000 - 2002ish?
  7. Slightly earlier but don't want to go into specifics about people, still in the RNA and you never know who you might bump into (frankly had enough fistfights when I was a copper). We could all name a few people we loathed but thankfully they were the exception rather than the norm. Really want to know if the guys in our year had a typical Troubridge experience or were just unlucky?
  8. Ah, in that case, slightly before my time. We had a trout in my division (UY actually) who span some interesting dits. The individual I was talking about seemed to be full-on but fair, but then I wasn't in his tender mercies.
  9. No girls. One Kuwaiti who was useless but we dragged him kicking and screaming through it because he was a nice guy. 7 of the rest of us. It was hard but we were busy being broken and rebuilt so no issues with Troubridge per se. Our TTI (Troubridge DO) was ok, still in contact with him. It was the selection that I had issues with, (and the subsequent sweepstake in the wardroom on how quickly I could be made to wrap my hand in - found that gem out from a chaplain). But it's water under the bridge, and I made damn sure I proved my point when I went round again. Hence the Sqn Sub job. And the nice shiny sword I won.
  10. I do know who you mean. I think you're ever so slightly ahead of me, I was sept 02 entry, if you were there in 02 and don't know me, you would almost certainly have come across my brother...
  11. Actually, the selection, i.e. failing ACE in every circumstance, alongside generally being gash, was fairly non-contentious in my intake. There were no 'WTF is s/he doing as a Trout' moments. Indeed, there should've been more; my division was turned into the Re-ACE division, quite, quite dispiriting to be in when the 'originals' had all done well on ACE.

    But it was a long time ago, and who really cares?!
  12. Not me, first time I've given it proper thought for years! Went back to brnc for the first time since I passed out the other week for a wedding. Deeply odd being back, stirred up all sorts of things probably best left alone.
  13. I've never been back to BRNC, don't really intend to.

    Which makes it all the more amusing when people on here stress about it all.
  14. Congrats although a little horrified about the idea of a sweepstake considering how devestating it was for the guys who did get chucked? Different I suppose if you were allowed to get back to division and get through second time around.
  15. Easy to say if you got through, not so easy if you were one of the poor bastards who got chucked. Our guys' attitude was just get through it and we'll pass second time around but some never got the chance. I'm still friends with an ex-Troubridge guy who got me into the Met (and later served in the RNR) and he's still prickly about how he was treated. Part of his job now is to let people go from Hendon police college and he always says Dartmouth taught him how NOT to do it! I'm always on at him to post on here but I think it would anger him too much.
  16. For those of us that were not 'the chosen ones' what are you all talking about? Was it a back-classing type thingy? Or was it to 'harden' you up?

    Genuinely interested.
  17. Oh believe me you didn't want to get 'chosen'. At Dartmouth guys who'd had difficulties in their first term 'failing to adapt to the naval environment' as their reports put it were supposed to rejoin the second term and start again from the beginning. In between then they were sent to Troubridge, the 'Leper Colony' we nicknamed it after 12 O'Clock High where they'd do command tasks and adventure training to 'boost their leadership and confidence' before rejoining the next term. From our talk some years were obviously just that but in our year the training officer in charge decided whom he wanted rid off and forced them out without giving them a second chance.
  18. both. Halfway through the first 13 week term there was an exercise on Dartmoor. Pass it, fine. Fail it, either goodbye or, prior to 2003 when it was binned as too expensive, Troubridge for 7-8 weeks of fun and frolics on Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor, Brittany, and RNSLAM.

    Sort of a cross between a 1950s national service OCTU, Ganges, and The Hill. I'm only half joking. Make it through that, and you got to start all over again with the following term.
  19. More specifically, 'Trouts' were selected after ACE (Assessed Command Exercise, the bit on the Moor after 6 weeks). If you failed ACE, in addition to the failure to adapt, you were back-classed and sent to the Troubridge Division. There were never more than 18 - 20 in Troubridge.

    They did lots of phys, lots of Command Tasks, and for the period I was there, also did some leadership development theory and AT. It was pretty harsh at times (classic work long hours, wake up early, continual time pressure), but nearly every Trout I met seemed to enjoy it - if only after the fact!

    After 6 weeks in Troubridge (i.e. at the end of that term), they returned to a new Division from Day 1, Week 1 of BRNC. Generally we relied on the Trouts to see us right in the first couple of days (they knew where everything is in BRNC, how to get the dhobi done, where to queue up etc etc) and then they mucked in with the rest of us.

    It was scrapped as a savings measure, I don't know what's done nowadays.
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  20. The current equivalent is "Conqueror Division" - for those who fail ABLE/MARL (the assessed exercises for the "Militrisation" and "Marinisation" phases).

    The basic idea seems much the same as Troubridge - lots of PLTs/ Command tasks, leadership theory, and AT for a few weeks before joining a new division from the next entry at BLD/ MLD (the preparatory exercises for ABLE/MARL).

    Those who went through it all seemed to think very highly of it, especially the bespoke coaching and mentoring they got from the RNLA staff at BRNC. The guys from my entry also went off and did the SRLC field exercise with the Collingwood RNLA - not sure if that's always the case.

    Most of them went on to do very well second time around. The general feeling at the college seemed to be that they'd like everyone to do it, but couldn't afford it.

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