The most senior officer in the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope GCB OBE ADC visited HM Naval Base, Devonport, Plymouth, as part of his farewell tour of the South West.
As the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, since 2009, Admiral Stanhope is the Royal Navy’s professional head and chairman of the Navy Board. He is responsible to Secretary of State for the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and as a member of the Armed Forces Committee supports the Chief of Defence Staff in the management and direction of the Armed Forces.
Reflecting on the present and upbeat about the future he said: ”It has been a great privilege to be the First Sea Lord. The Royal Navy continues to make a positive difference on operations around the world, has highly professional, motivated and courageous men and women, and in only 5 years time will be flying jets from the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. If I could rejoin I would.”
He visited the submarine HMS Talent and the vessel’s captain Commander John Aitken said: “It was an absolute pleasure to host the First Sea Lord, a fellow submariner, for lunch onboard HMS Talent. We were honoured to present him with a brass commemorative model submarine fabricated onboard by Leading Engineering Technician Ben Paul in appreciation of his strong leadership of the Royal Navy. ”
The visit concluded the next day with a ceremonial sail-past of all Flag Officer Sea Training units, hosted by Rear Admiral Clive Johnstone CBE. The First Sea Lord embarked on the training boat HMS Dasher and was surprised to receive a 17-gun salute from the Plymouth-based frigate HMS Montrose. This was followed by a visit to the new landing craft centre, Royal Marine Tamar. After a lunch onboard the submarine HMS Talent, the First Sea Lord’s tour to the South West concluded with a fond farewell from naval personnel who lined his route as he departed. He will hand over the office of First Sea Lord to Admiral Sir George Zambellas in April.