Royal Naval College, Dartmouth

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The Royal Naval Naval College, Dartmouth was opened in 1905 as the senior training establishment for naval cadets of the Military Branch of the Royal Navy. Cadets were educated there for two years after two years at the junior training establishment, Royal Naval College, Osborne. After Osborne's closure in 1921 all early entry naval cadets were trained at Dartmouth. Officers continue to be trained there today in its guise as Britannia Royal Naval College.


When the college opened in September, 1905, a term of 40 cadets was entered under the old scheme, and a final one of 30 in January, 1906.[1]


Captain Stanley and the Staff and Masters of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth at Christmas, 1912.

The College was commanded by a Royal Navy Captain on the Active List. He had command of the ship Pomone, upon whose books all the College's naval staff were borne. An Engineer Captain had charge of the extensive College workshops. There were on average thirty officers and warrant officers on the naval staff, with another six in charge of the College's tenders.

The professorial staff was headed by a Headmaster. There were five departments; Modern Languages, History and English, Science, Navigation and Mathematics, each with a Head of Department. The remaining staff consisted of Senior Masters, Masters and Naval Instructors.

In the Navy Estimates for 1914-1915, the number of staff budgeted for was 373.[2]

Term Organisation

The Cadets were organised into six terms based on when they entered the college. Each term was named after a famous naval officer. For example, in May, 1914 the six terms were named; "Blake", "Drake", "St. Vincent", "Exmouth", "Greynvile" and "Hawke". Each term had two "Officers of Term", a Lieutenant and an Engineer Lieutenant, assisted by three to four "Cadet Captains" selected from the term's cadets. In some cases a "Chief Cadet Captain" was also selected.

First World War

One Dartmouth cadet described his going away to war:

I was 5th term, Greynvile, in July 1914 when we hurried away. Actually, another chap in my term and I were playing cricket for an "A" team at Kingswear on Saturday afternoon when one K. G. Reid, a master, head of Science and later a Lieut. R.N.V.R. in the old Tiger, advanced across the ground shouting "Mobilise!" Very shortly afterwards we went to sea and guarded the flank of troopships carrying the British Expeditionary Force to France. We in the Vengeance on the Western Patrol used to stop at sea and take our mail from a destroyer. Why we were never torpedoed I can't think! Eventually, about March 1915, the old Prince George took us to the Dardanelles.[3]


Dates of appointment given:


  1. Report of the Director of Naval Education, for the Year 1905. f. 6. In The National Archives. ADM 7/936.
  2. Navy Estimates for the Year 1914–1915. p. 69.
  3. Quoted in Pack. p. 193.
  4. Goodenough Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 433.
  5. Napier Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 440.
  6. Evan-Thomas Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 105.
  7. Stanley Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 432.
  8. Napier Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 440.
  9. Parker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 2.
  10. Palmer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 416.
  11. Ruck-Keene Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 451.
  12. The Navy List. (December, 1920). p. 1865c.


  • Davies, E. L.; Grove, E. J. (1980). The Royal Naval College Dartmouth: Seventy-five years in Pictures. Portsmouth: Gieves & Hawkes Limited. ISBN 0-85997-462-6.
  • Pack, Captain S. W. C. (1966). Britannia at Dartmouth: The Story of H.M.S. Britannia and the Britannia Royal Naval College. London: Alvin Redman Limited.

See Also