Sir Ben Kingsley sits in on classes with Navy trainees
Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley got a taste of what it was like to be a raw recruit in the Royal Navy when he visited a Cornish training establishment.
The actor, best known for his performance as Gandhi, is currently working on a film project about the First World War.
In order to see what it was like for new recruits, the actor, along with scriptwriter Prasanna Puwanarajah, took the chance to sit in on classes at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, South East Cornwall.
Captain Bob Fancy, the commanding officer of the base, said it was an honour to welcome such distinguished visitors.
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"We were very pleased to welcome Sir Ben and Mr Puwanarajah to HMS Raleigh and hope that we have given him a true sense of what it means to be in the Royal Navy and our pride in its heritage."
During the visit, Sir Ben and Mr Puwanarajah met recruits at varying stages of their ten-week course and also witnessed the pride of the successful Cornwell 15 class and their families during their passing-out parade.
Sir Ben was already acquainted with the story behind the Cornwell class after visiting Raleigh in 2011 to view the painting of the Boy Seaman John Travers Cornwell VC, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, aged just 16.
The portrait was painted by the renowned society artist Frank Salisbury in 1916. It currently hangs in St Paul's church at HMS Raleigh and depicts Jack, as John was known, standing next to the gun on board HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland.
The gun received four direct hits although mortally wounded Jack remained at his post until HMS Chester retired from the battle.
The sole survivor of the gun crews, Jack died from his wounds at Grimsby General Hospital, two days after the battle.
He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for bravery, as a result of his actions.
Captain Fancy said: "One of our training divisions is named in honour of Jack Cornwell.
"At 16 he was very close in age to the recruits and we regularly tell his story to inspire them as an example of someone who displayed the Royal Navy's core values of commitment, courage, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty."