Leeds University Royal Navy Unit on the High Seas


On a bright and sunny Thursday in October Becky Seddon the Schools Cadet Expansion Officer (SCEO) for Y&H RFCA and Mark Alker (SCEO EM RFCA) entertained staff and students from a school in Hull who have expressed an interest in having a Navy based Combined Cadet Force (CCF) under the new Cadet Expansion initiative.

The opportunity to host guests on board HMS Explorer was kindly supplied to the RFCA by Lieutenant Dafydd Bryden who is the commanding officer for the University Royal Navy Unit (URNU) based at Leeds, and who is assigned to HMS Explorer (berthed in Hull) at this time. Lt Bryden had with him a number of university students who were very welcoming both to the SCEO and her guests, and were able to speak with the Maritime tutor of the Hull Trinity Academy (Mr Sherwood) and the two year 9 junior officers Conor and Chris about the Royal Navy, and the opportunities within the cadets and reserves.

Of the university students on board Tom Ravenscroft, 19 who studies Aviation and Technology at the University of Leeds spoke with various guests and dignitaries about the roles on board the ship, and how he will be studying leadership and navigation skills as well as developing an understanding of the Royal Navy and the wider military. Tom also found that he and the EM SCEO had a shared love of planes so rejoiced in stories of legend! Hollie Jones, 21 studying MA in Social Research also at the University of Leeds spoke of how she manages to juggle her studies and her time completing the Royal Navy activities and of the support that they received from the Commanding officer with accessing the time on board ship.

During the trip on the Humber Estuary we passed under the iconic Humber Bridge and the two young students from Hull Trinity Academy were fortunate enough to be able to pilot the ship. It is fair to say that the two young men had very different piloting styles (one enabled fellow passengers to have a smooth journey; the other not quite so!) but they both very much enjoyed this amazing opportunity to pilot HMS Explorer under the guidance of Lt Bryden.

The day provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the URNU and the opportunities associated with the Royal Navy for the benefit of the school who are currently considering a Royal Navy CCF. It also was an excellent opportunity for the staff and students from the school to ask questions about the Cadet Expansion initiative.

As we pulled back into the harbour, and given that the fine weather had held out, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared on board and served on the top deck by a very helpful high Sherriff.

RFCA, in particular Becky Seddon would very much like to thank all of those involved for extending the invitation and for enabling us to showcase the wonderful activities and opportunities available to us in Y&H. Particular thanks to Lt Bryden and also Commodore Baum for sharing his experience and expertise with the students from Hull Trinity Academy.

Report by Rebecca Seddon, Schools Cadet Expansion Officer for Yorkshire and The Humber RFCA.

For further information on the Schools Cadet Expansion Programme click here. If you would like to learn more about the Leeds University Royal Naval Unit please visit their website here.  

Reserve Forces