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P165 HMS Example, P164 HMS Explorer, P275 HMS Raider in Dover Marina, Kent, UK

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Comments (7)

John Latter on April 24, 2011

The P165 HMS Example (ex-A153 XSV Example), along with P164 HMS Explorer (ex-A154 XSV Explorer) and P275 HMS Raider, arrived in Dover Harbour on Monday, 18th of April, 2011.

This photo, taken at 6.57 am on Tuesday, 19th of April, a few hours before the mini-flotilla left port, shows the fast training boats at their moorings in the Tidal Harbour of Dover Marina.

HMS Example (pennant 165) is just above centre on the left-hand edge of the photo. Above her is Dover Harbour Board's blue-hulled David Church dredger in the Tug Haven.

HMS Explorer (pennant 164) is in the centre of the photograph, behind a floating pontoon pile.

On the right, HMS Raider (pennant 275) lies astern of the Dover Lifeboat below the Lifeboat Station on Crosswall Quay. More information on the Severn-class lifeboat can be found at RNLB 17-09 City of London II and Lifeboat Station.

Each of the three fast patrol boats has had an individual photo uploaded; click on any of the names for more information:

P165 HMS Example

P164 HMS Explorer

P275 HMS Raider

The patrol boats each belong to a University Royal Naval Unit:


A University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) is a Royal Navy training establishment connected to a university, or a number of universities concentrated in one area. There are 14 URNUs nationwide in the UK, and each URNU has land-based facilities near the university in question, up to four training officers (members of the Royal Naval Reserve) and a dedicated training vessel (an Archer-class P2000, or P2000-type, fast patrol boat).

Units and Ships

Aberdeen: P264 HMS Archer

Birmingham: P167 HMS Exploit

Bristol: P275 HMS Raider

Cambridge: P294 HMS Trumpeter

Glasgow: P272 HMS Smiter

Liverpool: P292 HMS Charger

London: P291 HMS Puncher

Manchester and Salford P270 HMS Biter

Northumbria: P165 HMS Example

Oxford: P274 HMS Tracker

Southampton: P279 HMS Blazer

Sussex: P293 HMS Ranger

Wales: P163 HMS Express

Yorkshire: P164 HMS _Explorer

URNU ships are part of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron (alt. First Patrol Boat Squadron), 1PBS. 1PBS is commanded by Commander 1PBS, who is also Commander URNU. The mission statement of the 1PBS is to "provide support to allow the conduct of safe and effective P2000 operations in support of the URNU sea-training syllabus".


"The aim of the URNU organisation is to educate a wide spectrum of high calibre undergraduates who show potential as society's future leaders and opinion formers in the role and need for the Royal Navy."

The aim of a URNU is to provide an insight into naval life for undergraduates - however, there is no commitment for the students to join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines after graduation (although a significant proportion of the Royal Navy's new officer intake each year comes from the URNUs). Even if the students do not choose to join the Navy afterwards, they will take away a greater understanding of modern naval forces with them into civilian life.


While the URNUs are commanded by Commander URNU (also Commander 1PBS) they fall under the overall jurisdiction of Commodore BRNC (the officer-in-charge of the Britannia Royal Naval College (or BRNC), Dartmouth. Each URNU is commanded by a Lieutenant RN or a Lt Cdr who also takes command of the unit's P2000. Each URNU comprises 51 undergraduates who join for the duration of their degree, with the option of taking years out or leaving at any time.

Undergraduates join for three years, or in some cases the duration of their course. Members hold the rank of Honorary Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve. A notable difference between this and other ranks in the Royal Navy is that there is no call-up liability and members may leave at any time.


Training focuses on navigation and seamanship, and this is put into practice during sea weekends, and longer deployments during the summer and Easter vacations.

There is also a social element to URNU life from formal mess dinners including the main naval social event of the year, Trafalgar Night, to informal socialising in the unit's mess.

There are sporting activities held within the URNU units, informal contests between the units and an annual sports weekend between all units.


About pennant numbers: In the modern Royal Navy, and other navies of Europe and the Commonwealth, ships are identified by pennant numbers (sometimes referred to as pendant numbers). The name pennant number arises from the fact that ships were originally allocated a pennant (flag) identifying a flotilla or particular type of vessel: for example, in the Royal Navy, the red burgee for torpedo boats, H for torpedo boat destroyers. By the addition of a number to the identifying pennant, each ship could be uniquely identified. A pennant number thus consists of letters and numbers. Where a letter precedes a number it is known as a flag superior and where it is a suffix it is known as a flag inferior. Not all pennants have a flag superior.

Source: Wikipedia entry for University Royal Naval Unit.

Click to see all Navy and Boat photos (related tags: Cruise Ship, Ferries, Lifeboats, Sailing Ships, Ships, Tugs, and Workboats).

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on March 25, 2013

Also see the UK Border Agency cutter photo:

HMC Vigilant and Old Customs House, Dover Harbour, United Kingdom

(UKBA Customs Cutter)

John Latter on March 29, 2013

When in range of AIS, the current positions of the warships are shown at:

HMS Example (Call Sign: GABA, IMO: 0, MMSI: 235009890)

HMS Explorer (Call Sign: GABB, IMO: 0, MMSI: 235009910)

HMS Raider (Call Sign: GCUV, IMO: 0, MMSI: 235009940)

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 23, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/04/19 06:57:14
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 33.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash