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A University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) is a Royal Navy training establishment connected to a university, or a number of universities concentrated in one area. There are 14 URNUs nationwide in the UK, and each URNU has land-based facilities near the university in question, up to four training officers (members of the Royal Naval Reserve) and a dedicated training vessel (an Archer-class P2000 fast patrol boat).

Units and ships

The units and their ships are

Unit Ship
Edinburgh Archer
Birmingham Exploit
Bristol Dasher
Cambridge Trumpeter
Glasgow Pursuer
Liverpool Charger
London Puncher
Manchester & Salford Biter
Northumbria Example
Oxford Smiter
Southampton Blazer
Sussex Ranger
Wales Express
Yorkshire Explorer

URNU ships are part of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron, or "1PBS". 1PBS is commanded by Commander 1PBS, who is also Commander URNU. The mission statement of 1PBS is to provide high-quality sea training experiences in support of the URNU mission and to deliver P2000 operational capability in support of other fleet tasking.


"The aim of the URNU is to broaden Naval understanding and develop undergraduates who show the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow, through maritime experience and exposure to the values and ethos of the Royal Navy"

The aim of a URNU is to provide an insight into naval life for undergraduates - however, there is no commitment for the students to join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines after graduation (although a significant proportion of the Royal Navy's new officer intake each year comes from the URNUs). Even if the students do not choose to join the Navy afterwards, they will take away a greater understanding of modern naval forces with them into civilian life.


University Royal Naval Unit training vessels Charger (left) and Trumpeter in Bristol in 2004

While the URNUs are commanded by Commander URNU (also Commander 1PBS) they fall under the overall jurisdiction of Commodore BRNC (the officer-in-charge of the Britannia Royal Naval College), Dartmouth. Each URNU is commanded by a lieutenant RN or a lieutenant commander who also takes command of the unit's P2000. Each URNU comprises 51 undergraduates who join for the duration of their degree, with the option of taking years out or leaving at any time.

Undergraduates join for three years, or in some cases the duration of their course. Members hold the rank of honorary midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve. A notable difference between this and other ranks in the Royal Navy is that there is no call-up liability and members may leave at any time.


Example on the River Tyne at HMS Calliope, Gateshead

Training focuses on navigation and seamanship, and this is put into practice during sea weekends, and longer deployments during the summer and Easter vacations.

There is also a social element to URNU life from formal mess dinners including the main naval social event of the year, Trafalgar Night, to informal socialising in the unit's mess.

There are sporting activities held within the URNU units, informal contests between the units and an annual sports weekend between all units.

See also


External links

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