Whanganui 21-year-old Patrick Richardson has celebrated his formal commissioning as a Royal Navy Officer on parade at Britannia Royal Naval College in the United Kingdom.

Midshipman Richardson was one of 160 officer cadets who took part in the parade, watched by their families, friends and distinguished guests. The guest of honour was Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, the Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, who inspected the parade and took the salute during the march pass.

To earn his place on the parade ground, Mr Richardson completed an intensive 30-week training course.

It mainly took place at the college in Dartmouth, but included a three-week ship acquaint when he was assigned to HMS Bulwark. During his time on board the ship was operating in home waters around Liverpool, Plymouth and Portsmouth.


"The course was challenging but rewarding, tough but enjoyable. I have never pushed myself so hard," Mr Richardson said.

A graduate of Victoria University, he is a former member of the Territorial Royal New Zealand Air Force.

His father Peter is a Squadron Leader in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. His uncle, Philip Gilling, is a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force, based at Cranwell in England.

"I joined the Royal Navy to fly in the Fleet Air Arm, to challenge myself and have a fulfilling and rewarding career while making a difference in the world," Mr Richardson said.

With the first phase of his training complete he will remain at the Dartmouth college to begin his professional course to ultimately qualify as 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. The course 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 cadets are equipped to undertake assignments both at sea and on land, working with other parts of the UK armed forces and in partnership with other nations.

They get a disciplined military fitness training, which focuses on developing co-ordination and individual physical strength and endurance. Command, leadership and management training is a constant thread, with an emphasis on coaching, mentoring and development activities.

Details of career opportunities in the Royal Navy are available online at www.royalnavy.mod.uk.