The home of the Royal Navy Officer Corps has a new Commanding Officer providing tomorrow’s Fleet with the leaders it needs. Captain Sarah Oakley, who also served as commander of the former Falklands' patrol HMS Clyde, formally took charge of Britannia Royal Naval College from Captain Roger Readwin in a handover ceremony. Captain Readwin reflected on his two and a half years at the helm of one of the most prestigious training establishments in the world.
“It has been an absolute honor to have been the Captain of Britannia Royal Naval College. Throughout my tenure in command, I could not have wished for a more engaging and professional whole force, whose unrelenting hard work, dedication, and sense of humor, has commendably sustained training output despite the clear challenges of the global pandemic; I thank them all.
“To all our friends in the Town of Dartmouth and the surrounding South Hams. I would like to also add a personal thank you too, for their immense support to BRNC over the last few years.”
Capt Readwin has welcomed both the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal as guests of honor at Lord High Admiral Divisions; seen sailors and officers pass out side-by-side for the first time; hosted national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh; welcomed the prime minister to an April pass-out parade.
“The highlight which consistently trumps all, is the privilege to witness the final slow march on pass out of our newest officers,” Capt Readwin added.
“I truly believe that with BRNC's unrivalled, proud maritime heritage, alongside high-caliber divisional training teams, this sets the uncompromising tone, vital for our fighting ethos into the future.”
Captain Sarah Oakley takes over from him almost 27 years after walking through the college’s gates for the first time as a cadet, beginning her Royal Navy career. “There is no greater honor for me than to be returning as the Captain of the place where my naval career began,” she said.
“I look forward to playing my role in instilling the values and ethos of the Royal Navy into the next generation of Naval Officers. I will strive to balance upholding the best of our traditions whilst embracing innovation and diverse thinking.
“I know I will be supported by a superb whole force team who are committed to delivering first class training to our Royal Navy and International Cadets. I am sure I will enjoy being part of the local Dartmouth community.”
Captain Oakley joined the Service in 1995 after completing a Modern History degree at Trinity College, Oxford. Much of her early career was spent at sea or on operational tours overseas, from gunnery officer in fishery protection ship HMS Alderney through Communications Officer in HMS Kent, and navigator of HMS Norfolk.
She served as both the principal warfare officer and operations officer of HMS Chatham on operations in the Gulf, and on the staffs of task forces in the Middle East tackling terrorism and drugs smuggling.
She’s commanded two patrol ships – HMS Mersey in home waters and HMS Clyde in the Falklands – and then the Fishery Protection Squadron which oversaw all their activities from July 2017 to April 2019.
Her shore time has been spent teaching at Dartmouth (2003-2005), as a trials officer in Portsmouth (2009), and several postings to the Ministry of Defense, most recently as a member of the Naval Staff Strategy team supporting the 2020 Integrated Review.
When not at work, she can often be found on the touchline cheering on the Royal Navy Rugby Union teams as the sport’s vice chair.
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