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It is a great honour to be selected to captain the team. The table below is the list of Navy Captains from 1878 annotated with whether they won an Inter Service title or not and also with the number of caps they won. The number after their name is their rank order in terms of the number of captains there have been since the formation of the RNRU if they have captained the team in a match where caps have been awarded.  If they have also won an Inter Services Title this is also annotated.   In 1979 there were two different captains for the Inter Service matches that year and they have both been included.  Currently this is the only occurrence I have found but there may be more, as the research continues.  If others are found then naturally the numbers will be amended.

Dave Pascoe, the fifty ninth skipper, has captained the side on the most occasions overtaking the previous longest serving captain (and former RNRU Chairman) Chris Alcock. However Moir, who captained the side in 1955 is interesting in so much as he only played in one Inter Service championship and was made captain for both his capped games. The nearest player to that feat was the more recent achievement of Iain Dixon who was captain on his Inter Service debut and again for his second cap.  However he won a third cap the subsequent year (1994) under the captaincy of Steve Jones.

The first rating to become captain of the Royal Navy was the great William Luddington who was made skipper as a MAA in 1926.  The Navy was to wait  another 30 years before the next rating led the side out.  It is unsurprising that it took another International, this time of Scotland,  to achieve this feat.  Alec Valentine, who as a CPO Armourer was made captain in 1956.  The wait for the third was shorter when in 1975 the Royal Navy Rugby Union appointed a truly great man of Navy Rugby, Paul Dunn, as their captain.  Paul served for four seasons from 1975-1978 overtaking WJA Davies as the Royal Navy's longest serving captain.  William 'Dave' Davies' place in Navy History is assured and currently he is the only captain to have won the Inter Service championship on more than one occasion.

There has only ever been one Able Rate who has captain the Navy Team and that was Dan Parkes when he led the side to their 2001 Inter Service victory as an AEM.  For completeness the other non commissioned players to captain the Royal Navy are the three backrow greats of Sgt Bob Armstrong, Sgt Roger Tinson and Sgt Mick Reece along with Mike Connolly as a PO, Nick Bartlett as a CPO and  Dave Pascoe, as first a Leading Hand, and then as a PO & CPO.  The current captain, Ben Priddey, is the latest to join this list.

Paul Dunn is also one of a very select group who have returned to captain the Royal Navy on a second occasion, following a break.  In 1980 he captained the side in the Inter Services during the year that Mike Connolly had been nominated captain but was injured (dislocated shoulder) just before the Army match.  He is joined as double captains by Chris Alcock, Dennis 'Squire' Wilkins , Walter 'Wallace' Eyres, D B 'Brian' Vaughan(who went on to manager the 1962 British Lions) and Trevor 'Tommy' Crick DSO.  A select group indeed.

My thanks go to former Navy centre and current Director of Rugby at Devonport Services RFC, Dave Oakley (9 caps from 1986-1994), for his help in compiling the list. If you visit Devonport Services RFC you will see the honours board for the Royal Navy Rugby Union where the official lists can be viewed.

YearCaptain [Captain No.]No of CapsInter Service Wins as Capt
2019AET S Makepeace [61]
2015-2019LPT B Priddey [60] [IS18]~ 2016
2006-2014CPOAET D Pascoe [59] [IS17]35 2010
2002-2005CPO(R) N Bartlett [58]20
2001AEM R D Parkes [57] [IS16] 23 2001
1997-2000Sgt R Armstrong [56]31
1995-1996Lt C B Palmer RM [55] [IS15]61995
1994POPT S Jones [54]11
1993Lt C I M Dixon RM [53]3
1992Lt C Alcock RN [51]18
1991Sgt M C Reece RM [52]10
1985-1990Lt C Alcock RN [51] [IS14] 181987
1984Sgt R Tinson [50]6
1982-1983POMEM(L) M H Connolly [49]12
1981Lt S J Hughes RM [48] [IS13]141981
1980CPO P Dunn [45]11
1979 Lt P R Lea (v RAF) [47]4
1979Lt C R English (v Army) [46]5
1975-1978CPO P Dunn [45] [IS12]111977
1974Lt A J W Higginson RM [44] [IS11]101974
1972-1973S/Lt T E Gatehouse [43] [IS10]141973
1971Lt L C P Merrick [42]14
1970Lt T L Scott [41] [IS9]71970
1969Surg Lt (D) D R A Lloyd-Edwards (v RAF) [37]5
1969Lt A P Hallett (v Army) [40] 8
1968Lt S J B Newsome [39]12
1966-1967Inst Lt A M Davis [38] [IS8] 61966
1965Surg Lt (D) D R A Lloyd-Edwards [37]5
1964Lt A R Godfrey [36]16
1963Surg Lt H S Cormack [35]6
1962Lt T C Jones [34]16
1961Lt J A T Rodd [33] [IS7] 71961
1960Inst Lt G P Thomas [32]16
1959Lt M A Pearey [31]15
1957-1958Lt Cdr D T Wilkins [27]10
1956CPO A R Valentine [30]7
1955Lt N R M Moir [29]2
1954Capt J P England RM [28]4
1953Inst Lt D B Vaughan [23]11
1952Lt D T Wilkins [27]10
1950-1951Inst Lt M C Thomas [26] [IS6] 61951
1949Lt G R d'A Hosking RM (v Army) [24]4
1949Inst Lt A Meredith (v RAF) [25]5
1948Inst Lt D B Vaughan [23]11
1947Surg Lt S Peel [22]5
1945-1946Cdr R J L Hammond [17]14
1939Lt G W Vavasour [21] [IS5]51939
1938Lt N L Evans [20] [IS4]121938
1937Lt W Elliot [19]5
1936Lt (E) J S W Walsham (v Army)[18]11
1936Lt R J L Hammond (v RAF)[17]14
1935Lt Cdr J W Forrest [14]12
1934Lt Cdr T G P Crick [16]11
1933Lt Cdr R C Harry [15]4
1932Lt J W Forrest [14]12
1931Lt C G Gosling [13] [IS3]141931
1930Lt W H Wood [12]10
1929Lt T G P Crick [11]11
1928Lt Cdr P B R William Powlett [10]8
1927Lt Cdr W C T Eyres [7] [IS2]81927
1926MAA W G E Luddington [9]16
1925Lt Cdr C A Kershaw RN [8]8
1924Lt W C T Eyres [7]8
1920-1923Const Lt W J A Davies [6] [IS1] 111922,1921,1920
Matches below are before the Royal Air Force joined with the Army and the Royal Navy to form the three way Inter Service Championship
1914Lt G C C Royle [5]5
1912-1913Lt N A Wodehouse [4] 7
1911Lt G H D O Lyon [3]5
1908-1910Surg Lt. L L Greig [2]3
1907Eng Lt E W Roberts [1]1
Matches below are before the formation of the Royal Navy Rugby Union
1878G Henderson

For those readers who have visited the Navy Wall at Devonport Services RFC you will note that the list above differs from the Captain's Board on display for the years 1908 and 1909.  The Captain's Board shows Roberts as Captain in 1908 and Watson as Captain in 1909.  In the 1907/1908 season the Army match was played in December with Grieg as Captain, a match which Roberts missed through injury.  He also captained the match the following season (6 Mar 1909) even though Watson was in the team.  In 1910 he again captained the team in the Army match and is also shown on the Honours Board as Captain.

Article  sourced and researched from the "Navy Wall"  at Devonport Services RFC, various match day programmes and press articles and official minutes ofthe Royal Navy Rugby Union by Geraint Ashton Jones