URNU - University Real Numpties Unit???


Yes im awaiting my interview so far for a certain URNU too.
It all looks very good, exciting and well orgainised BUT....

I do have one concern, at this URNU it seemed to contain only fresh faced students (and training staff who appear to be desperatley clinging to the sociable aspects of university life by hiding from real responsibilty and playing navy in the URNU)

The current members i met all seemed like a decent bunch and a good laugh, but they seemed horrified at the mention of physical training which i was really surprised by.
I couldnt help but notice that the only common interest in the place was smashing your liver in at every opportunity by the bar.
Don't get me wrong, i love the university lifestyle and the stella that comes with it, but for god's sake there is more to life, i thought this was a professional outfit?

I do have my reasons for wanting to join and i will see how things go - after all there is no real committment (as everyone there kept telling me).

Glad i got that chip off my shoulder, i may be completely wrong and if so please correct me, what are your impressions of other URNU'S and what do you get up to on weekend training etc?


War Hero
Book Reviewer
You'll never fit in - you need to be a well-balanced person to join URNU...

...I suggest you get a chip for the other shoulder too!

:wink: :lol:


War Hero
I had the absolute honour to be the 2i/c (Coxswain) at one of the Oxbridge URNUs for a couple of years.

Despite my ill disposed pre-conceptions about the URNU organisation, it's probably been one of the most rewarding jobs I've done, with a fantastic bunch of people.

First & foremost before you climb too far up your own ar*e, the membership are undergraduate civilians first and foremost.

They are, for the purpose of payment, List 7 RNR Officer cadets/ Midshipmen with no military liability, nor have they passed the AIB unless they are Bursars or University Cadet Entrants (UCE's), who are borne additional to the main body of the URNU.

There are only usually 17 students taken on in each of the 3 years (Medical grads excepted) & it is as much a university society as any other.

The UNRU is NOT financed or run by Naval Recruiting, indeed the the vast majority of the membership will never join the services. The aim is to educate a wide range of potential future civilian employers into the workings of the Royal Navy.

Whilst a fair percentage of BRNC entrants are ex-URNU, that is not it's function. If you want to be part of a more formal outfit, whilst at Uni, with a view to joining the RN afterwards join the RNR & let someone who would otherwise not have had the insight into the RN join the URNU.


I'm now starting my 2nd year in an URNU and I can tell you, there is a lot of emphasis on drink. That does not, however, mean that that is all it is about.
What I would advise is this: you say that you enjoy the uni drinking culture as much as the next man. If that's true, join, but I suspect that that is you trying to sound less like a loser.
There is plenty of room to do a lot more than drink and if you don't want to drink, then don't. Just don't turn up to an URNU with a disapproving attitude that puts the dampers on other people's good time.


Lantern Swinger
As I enter my second year at my URNU I am sorely tempted, for reasons detailed above and previously, to join the RNR or RMR. However, I'm stopped from jumping ship immediately because of the following things:
1. I have a new and fairly keen boss, who seems willing to try to do some non-standard things. He's supplementing and supplemented by a very experienced and motivated crew.
2. Most of the "bad" people have left from the last year, though taking some very decent and well motivated people with them.
3. Most of my year (well those who attend regularly) are also keen and want to try and do as much as they can whether with the RN, RNR, URNUs or whoever else.
4. I actually do quite like it, for its faults.

Despite this, I would leave due to the extreme emphasis on getting drunk until dawn, whatever the location/situation or whatever, and the lack of any seeming desire to do anything but the regular training programme; such as fitness/AT/etc, though there are plenty in other units who you may meet who do do such stuff as well - allowing for some inter-URNU stuff to go on. However, this can be changed, hopefully, over time by asking around and seeing what the boss would like to do/let us do.
As for the weekend training my lot go to sea most times and do general seamanship stuff as well as the regular cleaning ship and going out in the "sea" boat - named more due to the sea in the boat than out, probably.

For a 'professional' unit that depends on how you define it. The training is professional as the crew are professional and generally seem to take pride in doing what they do well, and you do get out what you put in providing you do put something in. The students can't really be called professional since they are first and foremost students, though the UCEs and Bursars are also a good source of chat, information, etc.

All in all it depends, it's just like any other university extra-curriicular organisation but you wear a dark-blue suit and get to do things you wouldn't do for free/paid in civvy street proper as easily. Give it a go, you can always leave later (not that you'll want to...really).

PS: Which URNU are you going to join?


War Hero
persona_non_grata said:
As I enter my second year at my URNU I am sorely tempted, for reasons detailed above and previously, to join the RNR or RMR.

If your ultimate aim is to join the regular RM, you're probably better off joining the Army sponsored OTC & gaining their Military Training Qualifications (MTQ1 & 2) off them, but not letting on about your goal! Whilst seaborne navigation with RYC qualifications through the URNU maybe helpful for a potential RN Officer, & civilian recreational boat handler, they're not that useful for a potential RM Officer.

If you play it close to your chest, you could be a paid member of one & an honourary (unpaid) member of t'other, thereby gaining heaps of leadership, navigation & fieldcraft skills. It's been done before & ultimately, regardless of allegiance, the same organisation funds it & we're supposedly on the same side anyway.


War Hero
Ninja_Stoker said:
Whilst seaborne navigation with RYC qualifications through the URNU maybe helpful for a potential RN Officer, & civilian recreational boat handler, they're not that useful for a potential RM Officer.

Landing Craft specialisation would benefit from it though, I think they gain RYA qualifications during their training at Poole.

I think the RM Officer in Endurance is on the watchbill as well, and I do remember a couple of embarked RM Officer spending some time as 2OOW in other ships.


War Hero
Fair comments, I'll wind my neck in with regard the useful aspects of the RYA qualifications.

Still think a bit of Field Craft would be beneficial IF, an RM candidate.


As i said, I have no real insight into the URNU and could be completely wrong!

I think the things they are doing look great and will offer fantastic experiences. It seems that other URNU's activities vary greatly too.

I have my own reasons for wanting to join and didn't want to come across as being too far up my own ar*se, but the forum is here to ask questions and express one's self!


Lantern Swinger
I'm not going to bite, but thought I'd give my take. I have been an URNU student, and have just become an URNU TO, so I'm speaking from a bit of experience...

Don't take the conversations you've had on one presentation evening as the be-all and end-all of life in an URNU. A lot of the chat at drill nights is just that, chat. Most students, when they put their 4s on and go to sea are motivated, keen to learn and hard working.

At the same time they are students, and they want to have a good time. The URNU is designed to let them do that- if it prevented them then it would be failing as an organisation.

There are a lot of very good URNU students- the best of them, at the end of their 3 years, are probably not far of the standard expected of young officers on the JWO course. They balance that with being great characters who know how to work hard and play hard.

I hope that makes things a little clearer for you. If you do get into an URNU you will love every moment of it and wonder why you were worried. If it's not for you then fair play.

PS Ninja stoker- which Oxbridge URNU were you with, and are you, by chance, Scouse?