Bristol Naval Reservist graduates from unique course at Britannia Royal Naval College


A Bristol Royal Naval Reservist has completed a unique ten week course at the Britannia Royal Naval College which gave her the opportunity to train alongside Royal Navy regulars.

Midshipman Claire Rossiter, aged 35, joined the Royal Navy Reserves (RNR) at Bristol’s HMS Flying Fox last October.

Mid Claire Rossiter receives her Midshipman 'rank slides' from the COCaptain Jerry Kyd of Britannia Royal Naval College

Mid Claire Rossiter receives her Midshipman ‘rank slides’ from the COCaptain Jerry Kyd of Britannia Royal Naval College

Swiftly after joining up, in October 2014, Claire Rossiter joined Royal Navy regulars for the first phase of their 30 weeks initial naval training course, known as “militarisation”.

Claire quickly became indistinguishable from her full time colleagues as she threw herself into all aspects of training, which included a thorough induction into naval life; learning how to march and look after her kit, weapon handling, fire-fighting techniques, maritime navigation and seamanship skills whilst on board Royal Navy vessels.

She was also introduced to the principles of command and management and was tested throughout her training including an overnight maritime exercise and a four day leadership final exercise on Dartmoor.

“I’ve loved every minute of training,” she said, “It’s been great to build on the knowledge we’ve been given as the course has progressed and for the opportunity to have the contact with the regulars.”

“This has enabled me to consolidate a lot of my training in one go, so I can get through basic training more quickly and ultimately get started in my reserve role as an officer sooner.”

Having been brought up in France, Claire came to the UK at the age of 14. She has a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters at the Institute of Latin American Studies.

In parallel to her employment with the RNR, the 35 year-old runs her own business as a freelance photographer.

It was her passion for photography that first brought her into contact with the Royal Navy when she was asked to work with the Abbeywood Royal Navy Field Gun crew.

She said:  “I knew nothing about the Royal Navy and went into the job photographing the Field Gunners with absolutely no idea what to expect. Wiithin two days I was a convert.

“It was the team spirit, the ethos, the dedication, the commitment and the way the crew worked towards a common goal that made me want to join the RNR.

“That experience sucked me in and brought me to where I am now.”

Claire graduated from her ten week course at a traditional ‘Passing out Parade’ – a ceremony held to celebrate those who have completed their basic training – on February 6, 2014.

It was witnessed by her Commanding Officer, Commander Dave Bucknell RNR and other members of HMS Flying Fox.

Commander Bucknell said: “It was great to see Claire complete her initial training today and we are looking forward to her return to Bristol where she can start to make a real difference”

He added “This has been a unique experience for the Royal Navy with one of our Reserves being trained full time, it demonstrates a flexible and seamless integration of Reserves into the Regular Royal Navy”.

Claire is amongst a new generation in the Royal Navy Reserves that is growing rapidly and HMS Flying Fox is welcoming new recruits into the Ship’s company. 

To find out more and to register your interest please visit or call 08456 075555. There are frequent information and recruiting evenings usually held on the first Thursday of each month at HMS Flying Fox.

Reserve Forces