University Royal Naval Unit

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A University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) is a Royal Navy training establishment connected to a university, or a number of universities concentrated in one area. There are 14 URNUs nationwide in the UK, and each URNU has land-based facilities near the university in question, up to four training officers (members of the Royal Naval Reserve) and a dedicated training vessel (an Archer-class P2000 fast patrol boat).

Units and ships[edit]

The units and their ships are

Unit Ship Home Port
Edinburgh Archer HMS Calliope, Gateshead
Birmingham Exploit HMNB Portsmouth
Bristol Dasher HMNB Devonport
Cambridge Trumpeter Ipswich
Glasgow & Strathclyde Pursuer HMNB Clyde
Liverpool Charger Liverpool
London Puncher HMNB Portsmouth
Manchester & Salford Biter Liverpool
Northumbria Example HMS Calliope, Gateshead
Oxford Smiter HMNB Portsmouth
Southampton Blazer HMNB Portsmouth
Sussex Ranger HMNB Portsmouth
Wales Express Penarth Marina, Cardiff
Yorkshire Explorer Kingston-upon-Hull

URNU ships are part of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron, or "1PBS". 1PBS is commanded by Commander 1PBS, who is also Commander URNU. The mission statement of 1PBS is to provide high-quality sea training experiences in support of the URNU mission and to deliver P2000 operational capability in support of other fleet tasking.


University Royal Naval Unit training vessels Charger (left) and Trumpeter in Bristol in 2004

While the URNUs are commanded by Commander URNU they fall under the overall jurisdiction of Commodore BRNC (the officer-in-charge of the Britannia Royal Naval College), Dartmouth. Each URNU is commanded by a Lieutenant RN, Lieutenant Commander or RM Captain, and is associated with a P2000 patrol boat of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron. Each URNU comprises 51 undergraduates who join for the duration of their degree, with the option of taking years out or leaving at any time.

Undergraduates join for three years, or in some cases the duration of their course. Members hold the rank of honorary Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve. A notable difference between this and other ranks in the Royal Navy is that there is no call-up liability and members may leave at any time.

During the first year URNU students wear URNU slides on their shoulders and are Officer Cadets (O/CDTS) and on completion of the first taskbook they receive a white officer cadet tab in addition to the URNU slide. They can then be referred to as Midshipmen RNR(MID) and on completion of the second taskbook students will wear Midshipman "Turnbacks".

Each URNU has a Senior Midshipman (SMID) and Deputy Senior Midshipman (DSMID) and alongside unit staff assist in the running of the Unit.


Training focuses on navigation and seamanship, and this is put into practice during sea weekends, and longer deployments during the summer and Easter vacations.

There is also a social element to URNU life from formal mess dinners including the main naval social event of the year, Trafalgar Night, to informal socialising in the unit's mess.

There are sporting activities held within the URNU units, informal contests between the units and an annual sports weekend between all units.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]