Girvan cadet sails through royal navy officer training

Matthew McGinlay.
Matthew McGinlay.

A 24-year-old from Lendalfoot, Girvan, is celebrating the start of a new career as a Royal Navy Officer.

Midshipman Matthew McGinlay 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 his place on the parade ground Matthew 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, Matthew spent the final phase on board one of the Royal Navy’s newest Type 45 destroyers HMS Defender, operating in UK waters.

Matthew said: “I am delighted to have made this first step in a career that I have been chasing for a number of years. The course at BRNC is well respected and I am pleased to have successfully passed. Meeting, living and training with people who I wouldn’t usually get to meet, and forming lasting friendships have been among the highlights.

“It was also very satisfying to successfully complete the tough challenges such as the five-day leadership exercise on Dartmoor and the maritime leadership exercise on the River Dart.

“I hope in the future to progress in the warfare branch, specialising in navigation. Ultimately I’d love to be the navigating officer on board one of the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers, before taking on a Command of my own.”

Prior to joining the Royal Navy, Matthew worked as a waiter. He was a member of the Bristol Royal Navy University Unit between 2008 and 2011. Matthew said: “I joined the Royal Navy because I wanted a life at sea, doing a job that makes a difference.”

With the first phase of his training complete Matthew will stay at Britannia Royal Naval College to undergo specialist warfare training.

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 or by calling the Recruitment Line on 08456 07 55 55.