Two students from Bristol University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) were given the opportunity to experience life on board the fleet ready escort, HMS St Albans, during her journey from Portsmouth into London.

The ship gave the two Officer Cadets (OC) the full works of maritime experiences, including visits to every department as well as witnessing a man-overboard and fire exercise.

The Cadets were even given the chance to get their hands on one of the ship’s mini-guns during a small-arms firing.

The students have spent plenty of time at sea in HMS Dasher, the designated P2000 for Bristol URNU, but the step up to the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate was an eye-opener for the Bristol University students.

OC Charlotte Grey said: “It was daunting at first but a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve enjoyed the whole trip immensely but the highlight was a flight in the ship’s embarked Merlin helicopter which offered a fantastic and unique view of the ship.”

The long journey up the Thames was particularly enjoyed by OC Ignacio Parellada. He said: “The ship’s bridge at night is amazing. It’s so different to anything I have experienced before. I even got to escort the maritime pilot there when he boarded the ship from his pilot vessel.”

HMS St Albans spent four days in the capital and took part in a number of events to mark International Women’s Day and the launch of commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Women’s Royal Navy Service.

Local school children were among those welcomed on board to learn about the opportunities for women in the Royal Navy today.

There are 14 URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 700 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.

Bristol URNU primarily draws its members from the University of Bristol, University of West England and University of Bath.

The URNU aims to broaden understanding of the Royal Navy among university students.

It offers students who show leadership potential the chance to develop these skills through maritime experience and exposure to the Royal Navy’s values and ethos.