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Transferring from the RN

Evening all,

I'm a Matelot officer who's been in for 5 years and I'm considering trying to transfer to the Army. I quite fancy joining the Artillery, but I'm open to other ideas. I wondered if anyone knew how easy it would be to transfer? I've passed my minimum return of service point, so I don't think that getting permission to go would be too difficult, but it's the other end that I want to know about.

In addition, I'm guessing I would have to start, in job equivalence terms, as a 2Lt, which having been used to much more responsibility as a mid seniority SO3 I might find difficult.

I just wondered if anyone would be able to shed any light on this. I'm currently not in the UK so popping to the local careers office isn't an option. I just wanted a bit more information before I talked to (a) my appointer and (b) my girlfriend!
You leave the RN and join the Army - you don't transfer. Therefore you would have to do the entire process, pretty much from scratch. The only thing that you may not need to do is the AOSB - I know guys who left at BRNC did have to do the RCB (as was), and I know a senior Lt Cdr who only did the PQO Course at RMAS before heading into a senior Maj job with one of the Corps.

I've no doubt you'd have to start again at the bottom, but a) you'll have quite a lot of an advantage with the "divisional" side life of stuff, and b) I hope you're quite good anyway (i.e. you're not leaving the RN because you're on quarterlies....) which can only aid your promotion in the Army.

I suggest that you have a proper grown-up sit down with your HoD, and get permission to make some visits to the units you might wish to transfer to. Before you do so, you need to have a solid answer as to "why leave the RN, and why join the Army" (and others like - "why don't you go on an OpTour to see how you like it", "is this a gambit to get a green lid" (which is actually fairly easy to do) and "don't be f*cking stupid, get on watch").

I suspect that you'll have quite a hard time selling this to your Chain of Command, and it will need you to be fairly robust with it. Given that you will be leaving the RN, it may well be easier to just put your notice in, take some leave and join the Army the conventional way!
Have you considered the RM - I know at least one RN officer (a submariner) who transferred - however that was some time back.


Book Reviewer
Unless you have a very specialised skill set that the Army wants and the Navy can live without (cue jokes and witty asides) you are going to have to resign your commission (ie submit your notice and most likely work the 12 months) and take your chances with everyone else trying to join the Army.
Hopefully you've already been told this in pms, but just in case... I don't think that were you to join the Army you would have to go through the "whole process" necessarily. A very good friend of mine left his RAF SO3 job and transferred straight (when I say straight, a fairly laborious application process and eye-bleeding amount of paperwork and interviews may well have been involved) to his Regt, without attending RMAS, with the rank of full Lt. He completed Phase 2 trng and picked up Capt soon after having done the obligatory career courses. He transferred to an RAC Regt, so I don't see the objection to your transferring to an RA Regt. However, I did know of one person who was MD'd from the RM having completed officer training, and yet was still required by the Army to complete RMAS. Whether this was because he had already left the RM and so it wasn't a transfer per se, or because someone had taken it upon themselves to be particularly obtuse the day that his file arrived on their desk I have absolutely no idea.
Hopefully you've already been told this in pms, but just in case... I don't think that were you to join the Army you would have to go through the "whole process" necessarily. .
A chap I met on my AOSB a couple of years ago was coming from the RN, as a serving officer. He'd originally been told he would be able to transfer without RMAS, then they changed their minds and said he'd have to go through RMAS, then that he had to go and do AOSB first! That's what he told us anyway.


I recall meeting in Kellys garden in 1985 a General sea going officer who was ticking about getting his transfer to the FAA through. It seemed the sea going branch look dimly upon those who wish to leave and in those days made it damn difficult to do so!


Book Reviewer
I think you mean the Warfare Branch of officers. All pilots and observers are Warfare Officers who have specialised in flying. The reason it was/is difficult to transfer is a numbers game and only take the top of that pile.


You are so kind, I sadly was already legal in most US states and already had done a tour in west Belfast 2 years before that. Not so bold as old.
Interesting question - I don't know the technical answer, but I think generally "short cuts" to becoming an Army officer are few and far between. I have known of people who come from other services that had to do the CC, others that didn't and went to YOs course to re-trade. It must depend on your personal circumstances, what the interviewing officer thinks and what the accepting arm thinks. I knew an ex-navy guy in my regiment - he went to Sandhurst, but an ex-RAF female Officer who came straight to YOs at Larkhill.

Another aspect is your point about being 5 years in and being a mid-seniority SO3 - really? 5 years in, I was a FOO in the RA. Then you would go Adjt or SO3 - what do you see yourself joining the RA to become? Even if they let you skip RMAS (unlikely, but maybe), you would probably go to YOs, do a year or 2 as a Lt then get fast tracked onto FOO course (now FST commanders) due to your maturity and previous experience. I have known older entrants (joined Army at 29) do this - effectively they get to do Captain's jobs quicker.

If however you don't much fancy crossing over and taking the chance of becoming Lt (you wont be 2Lt I suspect due to seniority) Funknuts for a period, then do you really want to be an Army Officer? where do you see the straight jump taking you? I don't know much about Navy command structure, but if at your 5 year point you are doing an SO3's job early or even in line with normal career path, you would struggle to get to that point in the Army as a joiner from anywhere - I doubt that they would chuck you straight across to be an Adjt (no green experience) or an SO3, unless it had naval connotations (there are probably some SO3 jobs in fleet for Army Officers, defo SO2 posts for the future).

I don't know if that part has been helpful.

Another angle could be to do the commando course, or even try for 148 Bty (Naval gunfire Support - is that possible as a non-army officer? They take navy ratings) or 4/73 Bty or one of the other SF volunteer units. You could possibly gain green experience and cross over after that. There were navy officers on my Commando course.


Book Reviewer
You also may wish to think carefully about the conotations of SDSR and what that will do for manning structures/levels. Whilst recruitment cannot and will not stop, entry will probably be more difficult. You also have to think about promotion if/when you succesfully get into the Army. Whilst your previous RN service will be accounted for, it will be very difficult to assess you on a par with fellow Army Officers who will have an established Army career history, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. I know this because a while back we had an Army Officer join the RN, with 12yrs experience and was adamant he'd be an SO1 in the blink of an eye - 3 years later he was a civvy because promotion boards consistently said "so what" to his Army time. I strongly suspect the reverse could be the case.

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