The Royal Navy Board and Search School

The Royal Navy Board and Search School (As known at  February 2020)

The Board and Search School (BSS), MV Cossack, was designed and constructed to meet the training requirements of the FLEET and the ever evolving Operations that RN Boarding Teams are faced with.

The BSS is a lodger unit within HMS RALEIGH owned by 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) who are located at RM TAMAR in HMNB DEVONPORT.  The BSS is co-located with the Military Training Unit (MTU) in the South Eastern corner of HMS RALEIGH.

It now comes under 47Cdo Raiding Group RM (formerly 1 AGRM).

The BSS is responsible for training all Royal Navy Boarding Teams tasked with conducting the search and exploitation of Merchant Vessels.  This is achieved in the form of a 15 day Board and Search Course (BCS).  The School delivers 11 courses each year loaded with a maximum of 30 students per course.  10 International Defence Training (IDT) 5 day theory only boarding modules are also available through MWS COLLINGWOOD.

The “Cossack” building was named after HMS Cossack, who on the 14th February 1940 under the direct orders of the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, was given clear instructions to Board and Search the German ship ALTMARK. The ALTMARK was in Norwegian territorial waters but her voyage was quite legal if she was a genuine merchant ship. Against her were reports that she was carrying 300 British prisoners liberated from the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee from the prizes that she sunk or captured. There were in fact 299 merchant seamen held prisoner which were freed when the boarding party from COSSACK went onto ALTMARK in Jossing Fjord. The merchant seamen were brought back to Leith in Scotland.

The first Trainer was opened at HMS Cambridge on the 25th July 1999 by the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB. LVO. ADC. The new building at HMS Raleigh commenced training on 14th January 2002 after HMS Cambridge decommissioned and was formally opened by the Princess Royal on 17th May 2002.

The new Ship in a Box (SIAB) Board & Search Training facility which is designed to further enhance RNBTs search and exploitation techniques of Merchant vessel was opened by FOST Rear Admiral Key 12th June 2014. This facility will allow for enhanced training in Fast Rope Helicopter insertion training, blank fire exercises and Simulated ammunition close quarters training