A new commander of the Royal Naval flotilla at Plymouth has taken over the helm as the out-going officer retires to fulfil a dream to sail round the world.
Commodore Richard Farrington handed over as Commander Devonport Flotilla to Commodore Paul Halton after two years overseeing the fleet of submarines, frigates, survey vessels, and amphibious ships HMS Ocean, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark based at HM Naval Base, Devonport, Plymouth.
Cdre Farrington wished his successor well and said the most rewarding aspect of his job was working with people – giving him the opportunity to inspire and mentor others to succeed in the Navy. A keen yachtsman, together with his wife Julie he is now planning to sail round the world.
Among his wider achievements and projects whilst in the West Country are a burgeoning partnership between the ships and submarines of the flotilla with Plymouth and the South West, helping show off the region round the world. He has been pushing to exploit the synergies between the Navy’s leadership programmes, engineering apprenticeships in Plymouth, the Maritime reserves at HMS Vivid and Plymouth University .
He said: “With luck we will have a University Royal Navy Unit serving Exeter, Plymouth and the South West up and running by the end of 2016 based round the Devonport flotilla.’’
Cdre Farrington said: “I look back on my career in the Navy, which I am very privileged to have had and remember most those people who have inspired and supported me. In the same way, I have tried to give back to the Navy by giving my best as a commanding officer and senior officer. The Navy really gives people opportunities to grow, so the best bit is always when other commanding officers tell me how people I have worked with stand out as amongst their peer groups.’’
He has spent the majority of his 36 years in the Navy serving at sea around the world. Highlights include patrol boat command in Northern Ireland where he was the Navy’s youngest commanding officer, two years with the Royal Australian Navy during the first Gulf War in the warship HMAS Sydney, rebuilding the Guyanese Coastguard whilst serving in the assault ship HMS Fearless, serving in the Bosnia campaign of the early 1990s in HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible and commanding the destroyer HMS Nottingham.
Ashore he was appointed OBE in 2000 for work on counter-narcotics in the Caribbean as part of UK Government strategy to stifle the flow of drugs into Europe. Cdre Farrington served with US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, representing UK interests in the ‘Global War on Terror’ and the Horn of Africa and ran the Navy’s ‘Think Tank’ – the Maritime Warfare Centre.
He had a ‘fascinating’ and rewarding tour in Pakistan acting as the NATO liaison officer to the Pakistan military at the height of the war in Afghanistan.
An expert in maritime security, he has been at the forefront of global issues such as the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, helping to safeguard the UK’s global trade while ensuring partners such as the EU and Somalian politicians, shipping industry, international navies and NATO worked together. This is known as Operation Atlanta – set up by the EU and is is regarded as among the best examples of international co-operation and he was appointed CBE for this work.
Most recently he has held senior positions in the Portsmouth and Devonport flotillas helping to bring the world-leading Type 45 destroyer into service and preparing ships and submarines for operations worldwide.
He said: “I am very lucky to have had such a wonderful range of experiences and opportunities afforded to me by the Navy. At the back of all this is my passion for the sea and I am never happier than being on the water. I nearly became a commercial fisherman in West Cork where I grew up until my parents encouraged me to join the Royal Navy instead and see a bit of the world – I haven’t regretted it for a moment. I’m sad to leave, but there are plenty of top quality people coming up behind me with fresh ideas and plenty of passion.’’