Christmas came early for a two men from Cornwall as they celebrated their formal commissioning as Royal Navy Officers on parade at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

Midshipmen Sam Burton and Charles Homer were among the latest group of Officer Cadets who took part in the passing-out parade, watched by their families, friends and distinguished guests. Vice Admiral Duncan Potts, Director General Joint Force Development and Defence Academy, was the VIP inspecting officer.

To earn their place on the parade ground, Sam and Charles completed an intensive 30-week training course, which was split into two distinct 15-week phases. While the course predominately takes place at the world renowned College in Dartmouth, the training also includes a six-week ship acquaint. Sam was assigned to the amphibious assault ship HMS Albion operating in UK waters, while Charles spent time on board HMS Ocean, which was acting as the Flagship for the Standing NATO Maritime Group, for her last deployment in the Mediterranean before decommissioning.

Sam, aged 24, from Helston said: “The 30-weeks training at BRNC was tough, but very rewarding. You are immediately thrown into the deep end and expected to perform at all times, particularly during the assessed leadership exercises on Dartmoor and the River Dart. It has always been an ambition of mine to become a Naval Officer, so to have finally completed this training and commission feels fantastic and I look forward to my further training as aircrew

Charles hails from St Day. The 25-year-old said: “I am extremely excited to start the next phase of my training and get to fly. Completing the assessed leadership exercise on Dartmoor was one of my highlights of training. Overall I’ve reached the highest level of fitness I’ve ever held.”

With both men destined for careers in the Fleet Air Arm, Sam will return home to Cornwall for his professional course at the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. Charles will remain at BRNC to begin his professional training before moving on to his flying training to become a pilot.

The Royal Navy’s initial naval training course for Officers is underpinned by nine Core Maritime Skills that are the foundations of naval life and essential to operational effectiveness. It involves maritime training on the River Dart and also uses the rugged environment of Dartmoor to teach the Cadets how to operate and lead in the field. The course is progressive and designed to ensure that the Cadets are equipped to undertake assignments both at sea and on land, working jointly with other parts of the UK Armed Forces and in partnership with other nations. Fitness training is delivered using a disciplined method of military fitness, which focuses on developing co-ordination and individual physical strength and endurance. Command, leadership and management training is a constant thread throughout the course with an emphasis on coaching, mentoring and development activities.