Interview with Captain Woodard of BRNC Dartmouth Part 1

Harry top dog of Woofstock UK, had the pleasure recently of attending the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth a couple of weeks ago to meet with Captain Woodard and his dog Pumpkin to find out about what he does. Captain Woodard is opening this year’s Woofstock UK so I felt it was impawtant to find out about the top man at the BRNC and his gorgeous dog Pumpkin. After all he is opening my festival!

Thank you for meeting with me Captain Woodard and of course Pumpkin. How long have you been in the Navy?

“25 years. I joined on the 18th September 1991.”

Is it something you always wanted to do since you were a small human?

“Yes. My Dad was in the Navy and flew jets and helicopters. I grew up around aircraft carriers, exciting aircraft and fun people. It was always going to be the Navy.”

What role did you have before taking over as Captain of the Britannia Royal Naval College?

“I worked in Army Headquarters with responsibility for future helicopter requirements for the Navy, Army and RAF.”

Do you carry a sword and have you ever used it to open a bottle of champagne?

“On ceremonial occasions I carry a sword. I have successfully open a bottle of champagne with my sword twice and once was not so successful.”

Do sailors still wear the big flared trousers and have you ever worn them?

“Sadly not. Yes I have, but probably not in the sense you mean. I played Boatswain in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ at school. I danced the Hornpip in them too!”

In the USA they have Navy Seals. Are there any plans to have something similar in the Royal Navy say like Navy Dolphins? Dolphins have sonar so that would be pawsome.

“What a great idea. We have a group of people that are even more special than the ‘Seals’ but their name’s not as good. The Royal Navy Submariners have stolen the ‘Dolphins’ badge, so maybe it should be something like ‘Barracudas’ ’cause they’ve got big teeth.”

I understand you are a pilot. Do you get to bring the helicopter home with you?

“No, but I do have a toy one I play with instead.”

Do you get sea sick?

“I have been yes. What a horrible feeling. Fresh air and eyes on the horizon is the trick.”

Have you ever had to shout “man overboard”?

“Yes, lots of times. Fortunately it’s always turned out well. We also shout it at cadets when they walk on the grass at the College rather than on the paths and roads.”

Can you play the whistle like they do on ships when someone comes on-board?

“Yes, it’s called a ‘Boatswain’s Whistle’. My Mum and Dad actually gave me one when I was 8, so by the time I joined the Navy I was already pretty good on it. Trouble is, if you play it too well all the dogs come running.”

Do you have to have special training because you have a sword?

“Yes, ‘Sword Drill’. We need to make sure we’re not going to stab anyone by accident.”

As part of your duties at the Britannia Royal naval College you have to inspect the troops. Who inspects you?

“Yes, I inspect lots of troops and cadets. My wife always inspects me and before her, my Mum did.”

Who is the most famous person you have met apart from me of course?

“I’ve been very lucky and met lots of famous people. The Queen and most of the Royal Family but sadly not the Corgi’s I’ve also met a couple of Presidents of the United States – Bill Clinton and George Bush.”

If you could have four people to dinner who would you choose?

“Great question. Will my wife read this? Her obviously and 3 guests. Hmmmm. I reckon we’d enjoy dining with Lara Croft and James Bond. I’m not sure we’d need anyone else.”

You are the Captain of the Britannia Royal naval College so, the big boss. Are you also the boss at home as I heard you are not? Bark out loud!

“Of course I’m not in charge at home. At work I’m the driver, at home very much the passenger (although I do help with the navigation….and washing up).”

Does anybody ever say “Ahoy captain” to you?


What is it like being the Captain of the Britannia Royal Naval College? What do you have to do?

“It’s the best job in the Navy. I do lots of things but all of them fun. I’m in charge of helping young men and women realise their dreams. What better job could there be?”

So there you have it. What a pawsome interview. I certainly think Captain Woodard is the man for the job of opening this year’s Woofstock UK. Coming up in the next blog I get to meet and interview Captain Woodard’s dog Pumpkin.

To find out more about Woofstock go to:

To find out more about the BRNC go to:

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