Wales URNU has been kept very busy since the start of the new academic year, initially with recruitment taking place in the space of three days and four universities and later with acquaints, mess dinners and training weekends. But there has still been time to continue the “work hard, play hard” tradition of the unit.
After a few initial nights out with the new recruits to the hallowed space that is Live Lounge, the first major social event of the year, aptly dubbed “Welcome Drinks”, took place in early October. The theme for this year was Cowboys and Indians, with the senior students as the cowboys (and girls) and the new intake as the Indians. The night started in the Flora, and then continued through the remainder of the pubs in Cathays, eventually ending in Live Lounge yet again. This was a great night for all involved, and provided a good opportunity for the senior students to properly get to know the new intake and vice-versa.
This was followed on 27th October by HMS Cambria’s annual Trafalgar Night Mess Dinner, where our very own SMID became Mess Vice President. This dinner is always an interesting experience for the new recruits, as it is their first real taste of the social aspects of the Royal Navy. Nonetheless, all acquitted themselves extremely well, and a good time was had by all, particularly in the bar afterwards, with a large number of WURNU recruits taking part in the traditional mess games. Another first for the new WURNU intake came at the New Entry Weekend in early November, organised with Bristol URNU at HMS Flying Fox. This provided an opportunity to improve inter-URNU relations with our local unit, and, by all accounts, the WURNU contingent performed excellently, both in the day-to-day exercises and at the social in Bristol on the Saturday night, although some may have enjoyed themselves too much, if that is possible!
In mid-November, CPO Steph Cahill, the MEO of HMS Express for just over two years, left the ship and the unit for his next draft. So in true Wales URNU fashion, the Unit and the Ship’s Company saw him off in fine style with a meal and a final night out in Live Lounge.
Later on in the month, the unit took on the University of Wales Air Squadron in a fiercely contested paintball match, which, after WURNU fought back from an initial 2-0 deficit, ended as a well-fought draw. Although the weather could have been better, this did not dampen spirits, and an enjoyable afternoon was had by all, with several members of both units meeting up in Cardiff for a few drinks later in the day.
At the time of writing this article, the unit is looking forward to its annual Secret Santa drill night and Christmas jumper social, to be followed the next week by the Christmas Ball; both of which should be very fun occasions. Looking ahead to the New Year, there are several plans in place, including: the Alumni Sports Weekend Social and a visit to Playzone in Swansea for their adults-only night. And of course, there is the Martinique Mess Night Dinner to look forward to and so the social life of the unit will continue to thrive throughout the year.