In a recent visit to the Oxford Union, Ollie Johnson (Class of 2010) had the privilege to interview Sir Admiral Mark Stanhope, the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.
As well as being a third year History student at Exeter College, Oxford, Ollie is a Midshipman in the Oxford University Royal Naval Unit. Through his role as Chief of Staff of the Oxford Union, he invited Sir Admiral Stanhope to speak about his experiences as Head of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Fleet Air Arm (think Top Gun) and the Trident Nuclear Deterrent.
At the First Sea Lord's conference at the Royal United Services Institute in Whitehall this summer, Ollie was asked to make the final speech, and he states this as his motivation for inviting Lord Admiral Stanhope to speak. Ollie was the first person ever below the rank of Commander to address the conference, which was comprised of top ranking officers from British and international militaries.
"Having spoken at the First Sea Lord’s conference this summer, it was an honour to interview him on my home turf,” says Ollie. “The room was packed and his responses were insightful, interesting and witty, making a fantastic case as to why the Royal Navy is vital to keeping this country and its economy alive, a case so many people are still blissfully ignorant of. Starting my application to join the Navy the next day, I was reminded why the service is so worthwhile".