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See a different side of the world with the Royal Navy Reserves


Each week, ShortList talks with a member of the Royal Navy Reserves about how they juggle a job with an exciting life with the Reserves.

Rab Renouf, Amphibious Warfare Officer

Many of us have dreamed of seeing the world, but never quite got around to it.

By joining the Royal Navy Reserves, you’ll get to see some of the most incredible places on the planet, while undergoing the sort of life-changing experiences you just don’t get from your regular 9 to 5 desk job.

Rab Renouf, from Limekilns, Fife, was one such person who fancied making the change. So, while he’s a drilling supervisor in the North Sea for an oil company, he leads an extraordinary double life with the Royal Navy Reserves.

“I’ve been to some really interesting places with the Navy, both hot and cold,” he says. “Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Malta, Sicily, Greece and Cyprus. Plus winter exercises in Norway and a lot of time off the west coast of Scotland in foul weather.”

If the thought of winter exercises in Norway makes you grimace, make no mistake: a life with the Reserves means both gruelling work and frontline action.

“I was mobilised from my civilian employer in 2011 for Operation Ellamy, which was the anti-Gaddafi operation in Libya,” says Renouf.

“I was on board HMS Ocean, from which British Apache attack helicopters were flying missions over Libya almost every night. It was a great experience, quite different from my day job.”

He adds: “I’m an amphibious warfare officer, so my job is to work on our amphibious ships to coordinate an amphibious assault, putting troops on the ground with landing craft or helicopters, or both. It is called ‘Stom’, or ‘Ship To Objective Manoeuvre’.”

If the thought of representing your country has your heart racing a little faster, what’s stopping you?

“Certainly it helps if you are quite active, but the Navy PTIs will help anyone to get fit, as long as they show dedication and work hard,” says Renouf. “The Reserves will basically pay you to get fit, as they offer free gym facilities at every Royal Navy Reserves base.”