On Saturday 4 March Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) welcomed generations of alumni to a reception in the University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC) to celebrate the unit’s 50th anniversary.
Established in 1971, the Glasgow and Strathclyde URNU was the third unit of its kind to launch in the UK, and today it numbers among 17 other URNUs. The aim of the URNU was to offer students from all across the Glasgow and Strathclyde area the opportunity to experience what life in the Royal Navy could be like. Students were also to be equipped with the skills and resources needed to secure a Naval career if they settled on that career path.
From the decorations and impressive buffet to the custom-designed URNU cocktail offered to guests, the Glasgow and Strathclyde URNU’s Officer Cadets had evidently put in a great deal of time and effort to ensure their guests had an unforgettable evening. Those in attendance included alumni from as far back as the URNU’s founding year, members of the Military Education Committee and local dignitaries.
The evening began with guests meeting and mingling in the UOTC Mess, before everyone was officially welcomed by a performance from the OTC Piper and Drums. Lieutenant Commander Lynsey Youngson, the URNU’s Commanding Officer (CO), then gave a warm welcome of her own before handing over to the Officer Cadets. A presentation on the unit’s long and eventful history was entertainingly given, with the occasional names of former COs and Staff dropped to the delight and applause of the guests.
Further highlights of the anniversary reception included the passing round of a quaich to toast 50 happy and successful years, the cutting of a Glasgow and Strathclyde URNU cake and a further presentation from the Officer Cadets on the unit’s more recent history. By the end of the event, the guests had enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining evening with many stories from across the decades shared among friends old and new.
‘The Glasgow URNU’s 50th anniversary has been a great success!’ said Lieutenant Commander Lynsey Youngson, the URNU’s Commanding Officer. ‘The unit has a proud history and fearsome reputation and it was a privilege to spend time with those who made this possible, as well as our regional friends and colleagues.
‘Having founding members involved in the planning and preparation was a particular highlight; I cannot describe how much our Officer Cadets enjoyed this interaction and how much they have learned.’
Tim Eley, an alumnus whose involvement with the URNU dates back to 1973, reflected fondly on his time as an Officer Cadet: ‘It was a wonderful experience for me and gave me a lot of firsts, such as my first parachute jump and my time flying a plane with the University Air Squadron.
‘Being a part of the URNU really helped me through university. I used to love going out on the Clyde every weekend and it taught me some great skills. I work in the oil industry now but the positive outlook and respect for the Armed Forces that I gained through the URNU has remained with me throughout. I’m so happy to be back tonight and to see that the URNU is still going strong.’