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RNIOA Articles

Former RNIOs are invited to submit articles here:
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Please keep your article succinct, no more than 2 or 3 pages in length. They should relate to your career or the RNIO branch (past or contemporary perspectives). Articles are edited in accordance with site policies. Comments are screened by us before being posted.



#19 ---- 30/07/2020 ---- Duncan Baker
 image  A Married Accompanied 'Down Under'
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#18 ---- 23/06/2020 ---- Ieuan Roach
 image  My Memories of being a Royal Naval Schoolmaster
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#17 ---- 23/06/2020 ---- Ieuan Roach
 image  My Memories of being a Royal Navy Instructor Officer
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#16 ---- 17/06/2020 ---- Bob Young
 image  Two Invasions
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#15 ---- 17/05/2020 ---- Mike Rose
 image  Digital Safety & Security
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#14 ---- 11/03/2020 ---- NHSA/RAN
 image  WWI Instructors Frederick Wheatley and Morton Moyes RAN
#14a ---- 23/03/2020 ---- NHSA/RAN
 image  Biography of Dr Frederick Wheately RAN
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#13 ---- 19/11/2019 ---- Bob Young
 image  Brief Reflections of an RNIO Appointer
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[1] An excellent, succinct and informative article which describes the strategy and mechanisms of managing a dynamic and fluid appointment plan. I imagine the thick skin you acquired as a METOC, equipped you well when you had to “disappoint” some of your IO population. Mike Channon. 23/11/2019.

[2] I really enjoyed reading this piece by Bob Young because appointers played such a pivotal and supportive role in the careers and lives of schoolies. I especially appreciated the 'appointer days' he describes and recall the 'open door' policy of my own appointer (Alan Prosser), who was always approachable and sympathetic in listening to my career and job preferences, whilst (understandably) prioritising the needs of the Service as Bob helpfully outlines in this article. John Nixon. 24/11/2019.

[3] A succinct but informative article, and an interesting read. It was how I more or less imagined an appointer's job to be like. Not the sort of job for a disorganized person! Mike Rose. 24/11/2019.

[4] I was on the same met course as Bob Young and he was a bit different in that he pondered on problems before spouting forth - unlike some! Careful before speaking and then sticking to his decision. I completed 10 years in the RN. with the inevitable time in “the hole”. My RN time gave me my career for the next 27 years with marine forecasting in the Middle East Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai (and that included a Trafalgar Night dinner in Muscat with old RN friends then North Sea forecasting (including the recovery of the Piper Alpha accommodation block and the explosive removal of the Piper jacket). [Note: "the hole" refers to the Fleet Weather Centre meteorological office, located in an underground bunker at CINCFLEET HQ, Northwood.] Al Williamson. 23/03/2020.



#12 ---- 12/11/2019 ---- RNIOA
 image  Teaching Methods and Personal Experiences of Three RNIOs
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#11 ---- 25/08/2019 ---- RNIOA
 image  Instructor Officer Branch brochure, 1965
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[1] The document presented here is a scanned version of a recruitment brochure for the Instructor Officer Branch, produced in 1965. The original booklet has been kindly donated to the RNIOA and should be of interest to those who wish to know more about all aspects of the work of RNIOs at that time, entrance requirements, possible appointments, sub-specialisations and opportunities at sea and abroad. The photographs in the brochure include iconic images of Royal Navy ships of the 1960s, IOs operating computers, giving weather forecast briefings and releasing weather balloons, teaching at the Royal Marines Depot, Deal, the Wardroom at the Royal Naval Engineering College Manadon, the Royal Naval College Greenwich, navigation on board an operational ship, and more. We hope it will bring back fond memories for former Schoolies and provide a comprehensive overview of the work carried out by RNIOs for other readers. The brochure was produced by the Ministry of Defence (Navy) and the Central Office of Information, in1965, but does not have a copyright statement, so we believe that there are no restrictions to us reproducing it here. Readers should, however, take note of the statement on the brochure's disclaimer on the back page. We are very grateful to Commander Mike Channon OBE RN for making the brochure available to us. John Nixon. 25/08/2019.



#10 ---- 22/06/2019 ---- Mike Channon
 image  The Ups and Downs of a Newly Qualified RNIO Weather Forecaster at Sea
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#9 ---- 09/06/2019 ---- RNIOA
 image  HMS Rapid and HMS Cavalier race for the title of "Fastest ship in the fleet" (1971)
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[1] I was delighted when we found this iconic and historic video on the Imperial War Museum's website and were able to embed it onto the RNIOA website and produce a summary text with stirring accompanying music. I say this because as a boy sailor at HMS Ganges, many years before my schoolie days, I spent one week aboard the famous HMS Rapid in Scotland doing sea training, and we did similar speeds at sea to those we see on this superb video. The result of the race always stirred up strong viewpoints among my colleagues of the 1970s as Rapid was leading until the end. Schoolies of that era, and other eras, should be extremely proud that their indispensable teaching of RN personnel facilitated such high achievements in their students. John Nixon. 09/06/2019.

[2] A great video! HMS Rapid was a fine looking vessel; her bow wave in the video is a sight to behold! The open bridge on Cavalier was nostalgic too. My ageing brain does not remember the race that well - I was at sea in HMS Plymouth at the time. I do remember HMS Cavalier operating out of Chatham in 1969, while I was in the Supply School, HMS Pembroke, and I was invited on board at least once. I vaguely recall her officers talking about her speed prowess, and some of those officers would undoubtedly have taken part in the race. Mike Channon. 09/06/2019.



#8 ---- 30/05/2019 ---- Mike Channon
 image  A NATO Post in Norfolk, Virginia (Twice!)
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[1] I thoroughly enjoyed reading this highly informative article on the structures of NATO and Mike's work as a Schoolie (Metoc) Commander at SACLANT. The piece itself is very educational without being too detailed on the countless acronyms associated with NATO, and it was interesting to read about those high-level NATO meetings in Germany and Athens, among others (with iconic images). It was also encouraging to read about the involvement of spouses and family members, as well as sport. Excellent to see a fellow Schoolie being awarded a clearly well-deserved OBE for many years of dedicated service. John Nixon. 01/06/2019.



#7 ---- 23/05/2019 ---- John Nixon
 image  NATO HQ Brussels, 1989
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[1] I enjoyed this article which invoked a certain amount of nostalgia. Although I never served in Brussels, my NATO appointments at SACLANT in the late 80s and 90s, took me to NATO HQ (and SHAPE in Mons) for meetings quite frequently. Like the author, I certainly enjoyed the iconic Grand Place de Bruxelles (and the smaller one in Mons), the waffles and good coffee and also some good beers! Les Moules et Frites were a regular favourite of mine too but there were several good eateries in the lanes near the Grand Place to enjoy. Of course, I had to buy the obligatory box of Belgian chocolates for my wife, normally from the Leonidas stalls. I also experienced the transition from being supported by a secretarial pool to self-administration with a provided PC for my work use. This increased efficiency no end, but there were the inevitable complaints from some senior naval staff, that they didn't join to be typists! Mike Channon. 24/05/2019.



#6 ---- 22/05/2019 ---- Mike Rose
 image  MSc Studies at RMC Shrivenham
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[1] I know Peter Ross quite well, a very fine fellow. I was always interested in computers too, and did a couple of courses at Blandford. In the METOC world we were among the first to use specialist computer systems. When at SACLANT, after transitioning from Word Perfect to Microsoft applications, I was designated a so-called "superuser" for Word and Powerpoint, and used to train other staff officers to use these applications more efficiently. Later, as a civilian, I was a trainer for NATO Military C2IS. For efficiency, I had to learn how to install and set up the systems (originally HP UNIX) in a client-server model so that it was only necessary to send one person to set up and then train the capabilities of the system in Europe. We later migrated to LINUX and had an open source philosophy as the system developed further. What I have discovered, especially since retirement, is that I am now a dinosaur with regard to computers. Technology advances exponentially and I have fallen off the train! Mike Channon. 24/05/2019.

[2] This interesting article shows how fortunate many of us were when taking up valuable opportunities to advance our academic qualifications and careers in the RN - keeping our salaries at the same time! Although I worked with Michael Rose at HMS Sultan, and Peter Ross at HMS Collingwood, I didn't know a great deal about the obviously superb university at RMC Shrivenham. The almost empty car park in the main image is in stark contrast to what we see nowadays in universities! I appreciate the positive influence of working with other nationalities and services (clearly some risk lovers among our Army colleagues), described by Michael, as this is what I experienced in my own computing training at Blandford Forum, though not at MSc level. John Nixon. 09/06/2019.



#5 ---- 13/05/2019 ---- Mike Channon
 image  Hong Kong, HMS Tamar and the Royal Observatory
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[1] This excellent article brought back some fond memories as my ship, HMS Bulwark, visited Hong Kong several times in the 1970 far east deployment. I particularly remember shopping for Seiko watches and the territories close to the border as I visited that area to watch a football match between a British forces team and a Chinese team. The stadium was packed (probably 20,000) and the atmosphere extremely competitive to say the least. I also have great memories of the Hong Kong Hilton and visiting friends aboard the Ton-class minesweepers mentioned in this article. Banyans were also a wonderful aspect of sailing around the islands of the South China Sea. The descriptions of meteorology in the HK area, and the Royal Observatory, brought to life the daily experiences of RN schoolie forecasters like Mike. Thanks for sharing this story! John Nixon. 15/05/2019.



#4 ---- 29/04/2019 ---- John Nixon
 image  RN Lists & the IO Specialisation
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[1] This is a good, concise summary. When I joined on a five year Short Service Commission (SCC) (in 1968) there were just 2 routes to a longer commission which were a Permanent Commission on the Permanent List, a full career, or a 16 year commission on the 16 year list. After 1978, as per this article, schoolies on the Permanent List became General List officers on Full Career Commissions (FCC), and all others became Supplementary List officers. Those on 16 year commissions joined the SL ranks on Medium Career Commissions (MCC). These officers were intended to be the deep specialists of the schoolie branch, the idea being they would stay in their chosen sub-specialisations. The highest rank achievable for MCC officers was Lieutenant Commander, but later it was realised that for some of them it would be a loss to retire them after just 16 years and the Extended Medium Career Commission (EMCC) to age 50 was introduced. To provide some incentive for these officers a small number of SL Commander positions was introduced. As a keen METOC, the MCC and then EMCC routes enabled me to remain in my field and I was fortunate enough to be one of the few SLs to make Commander. For a time, I even had the dubious honour of being the senior ranking SL in the whole of the Navy (all branches), appearing as the first entry in the SL officers section of the Navy List for 4 years running! Mike Channon. 02/05/2019.



#3 ---- 30/01/2019 ---- Jacqueline Yule
 image  RNIOs and Royal Naval Schools: TAL-HANDAQ, Malta
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#2 ---- 03/08/2018 ---- Mike Rose
 image  Creating the RNIOA website
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[1] A really informative article on the advantages (and pleasure) of doing things from first principles. Being lazy, I use Microsoft Expression Web 4 but it's a blessing, as editor of RNIOA, to be free to suggest anything, such as: "Mike, can you take 10 images from the gallery and make them fade in and out with a 4 second delay on the home page?" In absolutely no time at all, that's precisely what happens! John Nixon. 03/08/2018.



#1 ---- 02/08/2018 ---- John Nixon
 image  A Gondola Ride Down Memory Lane - Malta, 2018
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[1] I visited Malta in the 1980s and my predominant memory is that a full English breakfast was available on every street corner! The videos of Bulwark in Grand Harbour are impressive - must be really nostalgic for those like John who were actually there during their service time. Mike Rose. 02/08/2018.

[2] Your article sent me down memory lane also. I never served in Malta but I was on board HMS Plymouth (Type 12 Rothesay Class Frigate), under the command of Commander Mike Livesay (who eventually became Admiral Sir Michael Livesay and Second Sea Lord) when she pulled in for a six week Assisted Maintenance Period (AMP) in May/June 1971. We berthed in Sliema Creek and remained there the entire time. Our main mode of transport across Grand Harbour to Valletta was the the iconic 'dghajsa' and Victor is likely to have been one of the many drivers/pilots that ferried us. These vessels were amazing value for money until the American Fleet arrived when their price quadrupled or more! During that 6 week period we worked a tropical routine and so had plenty of time to play a lot of sports, attend many cocktail parties and see the island. I was looked after royally by the staff of the Weather Centre at COMNAVSOUTH which later relocated to Naples, and even managed to see a military Polo match. Our ship also forged a relationship with Sweden's Ladies Gymnastics Team who were visiting Malta at the time but no need to elaborate on that! The videos of Bulwark were very nostalgic. Mike Channon. 05/02/2019.


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