HMS AMBUSH returning to HMNB Clyde on the Clyde estuary under moody summer skies and (above) Twenty-four submariner trainees passing-out parade with instructors and Commodore Jim Perks, OBE..

Picture by Tam McDonald

By Kim Hardie

TWENTY-FOUR submariner trainees at HM Naval Base Clyde recently passed-out from the first phase of their Submarine Qualifying Course.

On Thursday, the students – being trained for service on board Astute Class submarines – reached the culmination of their ten-week “dry phase”, the classroom part of the course conducted on dry land at Clyde’s Fleet Operational Sea Training (North) (FOST)(N).

The class of 24 students, the first Astute-class of 2021, graduated on the day with Commodore Jim Perks OBE, Commodore Submarine Service presenting each student with their certificates in the HMS Neptune Supermess under strict social distancing conditions.

“The SMQ dry phase is an intensive course designed to test the mettle of the students and all those that are successful have achieved a great deal in a short space of time,” said SMQ Training Officer, Warrant Officer 1 Brown.

“They are now ready to be released to submarines and continue with their wet phase and subsequently earn their coveted dolphins.”

The best student award was presented to Able Rating Chef Oliver Jenkins for delivering the best overall performance during the course. This award is based not only on the trainee’s academic achievements but also on their attitude, commitment and, most importantly, their teamwork and support of their peers whilst on course.

In addition to the passing-out, one of the SMQ instructors, Petty Officer (Communications and Information Systems Submarines) (PO (CISSM)) Thomas Reece was also awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct award to recognise 15 years of service.

PO(CISSM) Reece said: “It is a very proud day for myself after receiving my medal for 15 years continuous service and good conduct in the Royal Navy. I remember passing out from SMQ(Dry) myself and it was also a very proud moment. All of these successful students will feel a great deal of achievement.”

Prospective submariners join FOST (North) at HM Naval Base Clyde for the “dry phase” of their training.  After successfully completing a final exam, oral board and walk-rounds of a nuclear submarine, they pass-out, eventually joining a nuclear submarine.

It is there the second phase of training begins – known as the “wet phase”.  Students complete their SMQ training at sea on board a Royal Navy submarine and it is only then that they are entitled to wear the coveted “dolphins” badge – the mark of a qualified submariner.


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