- OCdt Rachel Mawer
Friday the 26th of January marked the annual G&SURNU Burns night dinner, and it was not a night to be missed. As our guests arrived, they were ushered upstairs to the bar and given a warm welcome. Once all had arrived, we were seated in the dining hall and served a delicious three-course meal. Our meal was punctuated by a series of entertaining sketches, detailing the life of Robert Burns, starring some of our talented students: OCdts Bell, Kay, Ballantyne and Mills. This was supplemented by a thoughtful speech by OCdt Harries, who went into more detail about the life of the bard and related it to modern times. Everyone was also treated to the humorous toasts to the Lads and Lassies, by OCdts Jones and Clark respectively. All URNU members waited anxiously to hear if the pair had any gossip on them! After the dinner ended, tables were hastily cleared for a spot of ceilidh dancing with a live band. Overall, it was an excellent and entertaining night, with plenty of fun to be had. I would like to thank the organisers of the event, particularly Mid MacKenzie, for a superb evening.
- OCdt Rachel Mawer
On the 20 October 2017, nearly 212 years after the battle itself, G&S URNU hosted its annual Trafalgar Night Dinner. As usual the evening began with welcome drinks in the mess before we moved through to the drill hall which was dressed from head to toe in bunting and white ensigns. Our entertainment throughout the meal was of course a re-enactment of the battle of Trafalgar which was brought to life by 3 of our very talented students. OCdt Mairi Watt-Cooper gave a fantastic performance as Napoleon, complete with French accent and baguette sword (that she may or may not have snacked on between courses). Lady Hamilton was portrayed by OCdt Joshua Green who proved to be extremely committed to the role and looked fantastic in a skirt and bonnet. Mid Cameron Wragg gave an excellent performance as Lord Nelson and Mid Kieran Smith played a convincing Captain Hardy. After dinner the Deacon of the Hammermen gave his speech which included a lot of bad puns and then it was our guest speaker’s turn, Captain Carl Lias, to deliver his speech which reminds us why we celebrate this battle every year. Mess fines were handed out and then of course it was time for some out of tune sea shanties to end our fantastic dinner.
After a few drinks in the mess, everyone went back through into the drill hall for the usual after dinner ceilidh. The band was fantastic and even the newcomers to ceilidh dancing were enjoying themselves. Mess games were played and we celebrated the rest of the night with many drinks.
A special thanks must go to OCdt Ciara MacKenzie who produced a fantastic night which was enjoyed by everyone, as well as thanks to our guest speakers for entertaining us all after dinner. I think it’s safe to say it was unforgettable night and one of the highlights of the year for the unit.
Trafalgar night is always one of the highlights of the URNU calendar and 2016 was no exception. The evening began with a drinks reception in the bar, where VIP and student guests were welcomed to the occasion. Once everyone had arrived we were seated in the drill hall, the walls of which were decorated with White Ensigns and signal flag bunting. It was to my bitter disappointment that not even Lt. Botfield knew the signal flags well enough to decode the carefully constructed messages: GS RN 4 LYF and Trafalgar 1805… We were served a delicious meal and the interludes between courses were filled with entertaining sketches of the battle brought to us by the talented Mid Wragg and O/Cdts Bonham, MacKenzie and Clark. These re-enactments remind us the reason for the dinner and why the Battle of Trafalgar is still commemorated today, 211 years on. O/Cdt Bonham played an excellent Lord Nelson as he took on the Franco-Spanish fleet of 41 ships with a British strength of 33 vessels. Despite this, and through use of unorthodox naval tactics, Nelson and the fleet secured one of the most decisive victories in Royal Navy history, losing not a single ship compared to the enemy’s 22. This reasserted Britain’s supremacy of the seas and prevented the French from ever challenging the Royal Navy to battle again. During the conflict, Nelson was shot by a French sniper and died of his wounds shortly afterwards on-board HMS Victory. He never lived to see the British victorious. After the sketches we were treated with a few dances from the OTC highland dancers before our guest speaker, Brigadier Ian Gardiner, spoke to us of leadership, his time as a serving Royal Marine and the Dhofar War. Mess fines were dished out and we attempted to tunefully sing the usual sea shanties as a conclusion to the dinner. The tables were then cleared and everyone threw themselves into the ceilidh dancing, with live Scottish Country Dance music from the band. Drinks were drunk, mess games got messy and I’m sure there were a lot of sore heads the following morning! I would like to thank Mid Anna Aitken, who took on the role of formal socials not long before the dinner and also our SMid Kerrie Walker, for working hard to produce such a fantastic and unforgettable evening. I will remember the event merrily as my last Trafalgar Night as a member of G&S URNU.
Mid Iona Urquhart