Case Study: Glasgow URNU 50th Anniversary

Officer Cadets from Glasgow and Strathclyde URNU who helped arrange the anniversary event.

The 50th anniversary of Glasgow URNU (University Royal Naval Unit) saw many generations of former Officer Cadets (OCs) gather together to celebrate and share fond memories of their time with the unit.

The event was hailed as a great success by the URNU’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Lynsey Youngson, who praised the OCs for their extensive involvement in the planning and preparations for the evening.

Lowland RFCA spoke with two members of the current URNU generation to find out more about the opportunities they enjoy as OCs and what the 50-year milestone meant to them.


Senior Midshipman Ashall:

Senior Midshipman Bess Ashall, one of the Officer Cadets who helped to co-ordinate the URNU 50th anniversary event.


Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name’s Bess Ashall, I’m a Senior Midshipman with Glasgow URNU and I’m currently in the final year of my Marine Biology course.

When and how did you get involved with the URNU?

I joined the URNU during the pandemic and I got involved as a way to have some more structure in place throughout that academic year. It also offered me a chance to meet more people once the restrictions started lifting.

What do you love most about being a member of the URNU?

I love how keen everyone is to get involved, including the alumni, and I really appreciate the like-mindedness we all share. Everyone’s always motivated and will support you whenever you ask them to, and they’re always up for having some fun as well.

Have there been any highlights from your time in the URNU so far?

For me, it has to be Adventure Training. I’m quite an adventurous person and I like to be outside and get as much experience as possible, so the opportunities I’ve had to travel to Aviemore, Northern Ireland and even the Baltic Sea have been very enjoyable.

Have you learned anything through Glasgow URNU that you feel you wouldn’t have been able to learn elsewhere?

Absolutely! I’m quite a confident person generally but I used to struggle with public speaking and anything that involved standing up in front of a crowd. Being a part of the URNU has really helped to boost my confidence and I’m much more able to articulate myself which is just massive to me.

We’re here to celebrate the URNU’s 50th anniversary, what does a milestone like that say to you about this organisation?

It’s revealed so much that I didn’t know about before. I was already a keen advocate for the URNU because it’s given me so much but I didn’t realise how much it’s given to everyone else too. Standing in a room full of people where I get to see their memories through photos and hear their stories and see how much the URNU has impacted their lives, it’s really exciting to be a part of so I’m really glad to have been here for this event.

What are you hoping to do once you graduate?

My plan is to move to Canada straight after university. I’m not completely sure what I’m going to do just yet but I’m hoping to train as a firefighter, then apply to the Navy and come back as a Warfare Officer.


Acting Officer Cadet Panaretou

Acting Officer Cadet Evan Panaretou of Glasgow URNU


Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Acting Officer Cadet Evan Panaretou. I’m a third-year student studying Mechanical Engineering but this is my first year as a member of Glasgow URNU.

How did you get involved with the URNU?

I was really interested in joining the Armed Forces, and when I phoned up the recruitment office they mentioned the URNU so I thought that would be a good place to start.

What do you love most about being a member of the URNU?

It has to be the people I’ve met through it, they’re a really great group and the activities we get up to together are a lot of fun as well.

What has been the highlight of being part of the URNU?

The biggest highlight for me has been the firefighting New Entry weekends. We spent a weekend at MOD Caledonia with about 60-80 other OCs and everyone had a lot of fun trying to bash through doors and getting drenched by the fire hoses.

Have you learned anything from the URNU that you might not have learned elsewhere?

I think it would be hard to develop the kind of leadership skills you gain through the URNU anywhere else, and I’ve also improved my presentation skills here. There are a lot of opportunities to get up and present to audiences which I’ve tried to take advantage of and it’s helped me a lot in the rest of my university life.

What does an event like the 50th anniversary say to you about Glasgow URNU as an organisation?

I think it shows a real sense of community; everyone’s willing to come back and celebrate the time they’ve spent here and share their experience with other people. It really shows the lasting impact it’s had on their lives.

What are you hoping to do once you graduate?

The plan for me is to join the Army once I finish my degree and become an Officer with the Royal Engineers.

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