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AN INTERVIEW WITH Captain Jerry Kyd


COMMANDING OFFICER OF BRITANNIA ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE


When the college opened in 1905, the Commanding Officer was a Captain of the Royal Navy. This changed in the mid1990s when it was decided the institution was to be led by a Commodore. However, this year the Royal Navy reverted back to the tradition of appointing a Captain to head up the College. Captain Kyd trained to become a naval officer at BRNC in


1985. He has since served on the front line in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, the South Atlantic and the Gulf.


Apart from taking command of Britannia Royal Naval College, what have been the highlights of your career to date? There are too many to mention! But I suppose commanding fantastic people at the front-line over the years has been my inspiration and something I really enjoy. I have been really privileged to have been the Commanding Officer of three ships in my career – the frigate HMS Monmouth and two aircraft carriers, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious. For any naval officer, being put in a position of leading men and women is the greatest honour and privilege one can have and doing so at sea with a ship’s company of motivated and dedicated professionals – well, there’s nothing like it.


How do you feel about your appointment as commanding officer of BRNC? To be asked to come back to the College 27 years after I came through as a cadet myself is a dream come true – I am the envy of all my peers. It’s a very special place for any naval officer because we all came through here for our basic training and it is where man and maritime are nurtured formerly at a young age. The College makes an immediate and powerful impression on anyone arriving here, even as a temporary visitor, let alone as a


nervous young cadet. This sticks with you over the years, indeed your psyche and personality is very much shaped by the extraordinary training BRNC gives you. So whenever you come back, look up at the College, walk the corridors, smell the polish and feel the incessant activity and purpose, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Arriving here in September as a senior Naval Captain triggered all these feelings, much as they did in 1985 when I joined the Royal Navy - a feeling of comfort and excitement at the same time.


What does the Commanding Officer of BRNC do?


My job is to command the college. I am responsible to the First Sea Lord and my immediate superior, Flag Officer Sea Training, to train young men and women to join the Fleet and specialist training establishments at the required standard. My aim is to take civilians with potential and develop their leadership and management skills, plus inculcate in them the strong ethos and heritage of the Royal Navy. I am also responsible for the Leadership Academy both here at Dartmouth and at HMS Collingwood, where not only do we teach leadership to cadets but also provide training to officers and senior ratings throughout their careers.


But essentially I am responsible for everything that happens here at BRNC.


Are you here to instigate any major changes? Clearly BRNC has been here for 107 years and in that time it has had to adapt and evolve to meet the changing requirements of the modern Royal Navy. I don’t think the fundamentals of training young people to be officers have changed over those 107 years but clearly we have to reflect the changing world we see around us to make sure the Royal Navy is fit and able to fight and operate around the world. That means we have to change aspects of training here and there as required. I have no intentions here to change anything fundamental because the recipe is good, but you may have to change the ingredients a little from time to time.


What are you most looking forward to about your new job? Having come straight from the front line commanding an aircraft carrier it’s fantastic now to have an impact on the very people I was seeing joining my ship last year. Being back training young, energetic, motivated and keen young people is incredibly invigorating and if I can do my little bit to give them the benefit of my experience and also to shape their


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