Royal Navy officer commission for Lauren

Dorset Echo: Midshipman Lauren Webber. PIcture Craig Keating. Midshipman Lauren Webber. PIcture Craig Keating.

A WEYMOUTH woman who was involved in the massive humanitarian and disaster relief operation in the Philippines, is celebrating a new career as a Royal Navy Officer.

Midshipman Lauren Webber, 21, was among the latest Cadets who marked their formal commissioning as an Officer on parade at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Devon.

To earn her place on the parade ground Lauren has completed an intensive 30 week training course, which was split into three distinct 10 week phases. While the first two took place predominately at the world renowned College, Lauren spent the final phase on board HMS Illustrious, which was re-tasked at short-notice to take part in the relief effort in the Philippines following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Lauren and her fellow Cadets were fully involved in the operation, working alongside the Ship's Company and the embarked Royal Marines to deliver emergency food, shelter and other essential supplies to the people of the Philippines and also help with the clean-up operation.

The former pupil of Thomas Hardye Sixth Form said: “In the Philippines I helped to distribute the food and aid and also helped to re-build a school. It was a really humbling experience. To be involved in a humanitarian operation on that scale so early in my career was amazing and I was just glad to be able to help. Overall completing the training was a challenge but an amazing opportunity. I feel I've achieved more here in a few short months than in my previous employment and I hope to keep taking the opportunities in front of me.”

Before joining the Royal Navy Lauren worked in a bank. Her father, Chris, completed 25 years in the Royal Navy reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander and is now a member of the Royal Navy Reserve Air Branch. Lauren said: “With my Father being in the Royal Navy, it's always interested me. I did work experience as a 16-year-old and have wanted to join ever since.”

With the first phase of her training complete Lauren will remain at BRNC to begin her professional training.

HMS Illustrious has been deployed from the UK since August as part of the UK's high readiness maritime Response Force Task Group autumn deployment - Cougar 13. The ship was re-tasked to take part in the relief effort and arrived in the Philippines on Monday 25 November. Further details of the aid operation can be found on the Royal Navy website at www.royalnavy.mod.uk 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.

Details of career opportunities within the Royal Navy are available online at www.royalnavy.mod.uk or by calling the Recruitment Line on 08456 07 55 55.

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