Gone but not forgotten
Rosie (third from left) on Royalist's final voyage
Gone but not forgotten
A blog post from POC Rosie about decommissioning TS Royalist
POC Rosie, Navy Board Cadet for Eastern Area
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POC Rosie, Navy Board Cadet for Eastern Area

I’m Rosie, I am 17 and live in West Yorkshire. I joined Barnsley Sea Cadets when I was just 10, and progressed through the ranks to become a Petty Officer Cadet – the highest rank at Sea Cadets!

As a Sea Cadet I have discovered a love of the outdoors and I have passed a NVQ level three in outdoor adventure, and also gained qualifications in climbing and canoeing. I have been on training courses in catering, first aid, engineering, boating skills and public services. I’m also a trained Royal Yachting Association (RYA) dinghy instructor. I regularly spend time at Sea Cadets training centres and at my unit, showing volunteers and cadets how to sail. My next challenge is to train as a RYA windsurfing instructor.

I’ve done lots of offshore voyaging with Sea Cadets, including going on TS Royalist, the Sea Cadets tall ship, and on the 35ft yachts – that was how I gained my offshore sailing watch leader qualification.

As part of my role as a Navy Board Cadet for Eastern Area, I went to Spain to be part of a traditional ceremony for Sea Cadets’ new flagship. I witnessed the keel laying, which sees the initial placement of the central timber that forms the backbone of the ship!

POC Rosie, Navy Board Cadet for Eastern Area

Well, what can I say? On Thursday 20th of November, I took part in something amazing, in my eyes: the decommissioning ceremony for TS Royalist.

As crew of the brig the day started early for us, at 6:00am. Call the hands was sounded and the ship was a hive of activity from that point onwards. It was a sombre moment when we left Cowes with the bagpipes playing, and the Royal Britannia yacht club fired a gunshot for us.

Action stations on board Royalist

You could feel the pride of the crew when leaving Cowes. It was overwhelming. From that point on, the ship’s atmosphere was filled with songs and dancing – just the mad, crazy spirit she needed for her last voyage.

Rosie snaps a Royalist selfie

As the offshore fleet and the tugs for the procession came together, ready to sail past Fort Blockhouse, I think everybody on board had the same thought: ‘this is it’. Her last time sailing down here, dressed in all her flags, looking proud as the Sea Cadets flagship, with 43 years of service under her belt. And boy, she has done us so well. No matter what, her spirit will live on in the new ship. I can guarantee it.

By this point, the display was kicking off, showing everyone what Royalist is made of, bracing yards and setting sails. Working together as one big team to show the crowd she is worthy of a send-off fit for royalty.

Homecoming: coming into port for the final time

As we reached her berth one final time, it hit people hard and tears did fall from multiple eyes, including my own. It was great to see so many faces welcoming her home and celebrating her life with us.

I’m lucky to have been given the opportunity to do a reading at the decommissioning ceremony, which was an incredible moment that I will cherish for many years. She may be gone but she will never be forgotten. Long live the mighty TS Royalist, the finest and prettiest vessel afloat. 

Ghost of Christmas past - the last supper on board TS Royalist