The crew of the Plymouth-based warship HMS Monmouth welcomed its new commanding officer during a traditional ceremony.
Commander Gordon Ruddock addressed his new ship’s company at the event on board the Type 23 frigate berthed at HM Naval Base Devonport having received a command hand-over from out-going commanding officer Commander Gordon Ruddock.
Cdr Ruddock said how proud he was to be commanding a ship with a distinguished line of former ships of the same name and to be leading a crew of proven ability.
He emphasised the importance of operational capability for the ship and its equipment and for the ship’s company and personally and collectively. This was especially vital in an ever-changing and unpredictable world where the ship could be called on at any time and any place to operate at high levels of readiness.
Cdr Ruddock said previous ships named HMS Monmouth had shown the way forward by the top battle honours they had won. Their example showed how the battles could be lost and lives lost if the ship and her crew were not at operational peak form.
Each one of his crew should daily ask themselves what they had done to improve operational capability, he said while addressing them for the first time in the flight hangar on board.
In terms of individuals, in order to operate at the expected high level on patrol, on exercise and in combat and other times of high readiness personnel should be well trained, educated, fit, healthy and concentrated on missions. To accomplish the latter their family and work lives should be balanced and families aware of the expectations on both sides.
Cdr Bassett, who leaves to join the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood, praised a gathering of his ship’s company for the last time for their operational excellence before joining a farewell sail-past as his former crew lined the ship’s side.
The commands of frontline warships change regularly to maintain skilled captains fresh for the challenge and to keep the promotion process evolving. HMS Monmouth is now due to undergo tough operational training under the staff of Plymouth-based Flag Officer Sea Training.
Cdr Ruddock was educated at Methodist College Belfast, Gordon Ruddock embarked on his career in the Royal Navy in 1991. Following training in HM Ships Bristol, Peacock, Avenger and on Active, and on completion of professional courses, he joined the trained strength as an Officer of the Watch in HMS Brilliant in 1993.
Subsequent navigation assignments to HMS Guernsey, and HMS Exeter were interrupted by an appointment as Flag Lieutenant to Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland from 1996 to 1998. Whilst serving as Navigation Officer of HMS Exeter he was selected for sea command and was appointed as commanding officer of HMS Puncher and University of London Royal Naval Unit in 2000, where he spent the next two years exposing university students to the business of the Royal Navy.
On completion of principal warfare officer’s course, co-incident with promotion to lieutenant commander, he completed an assignment as gunnery and operations officer of HMS St Albans and on qualification as an air warfare officer in 2005 he returned to sea as operations officer of HMS Gloucester and subsequently as senior warfare officer of HMS Ark Royal, whilst she was re-roled as an helicopter carrier.
Further sea command beckoned and he assumed command of mine countermeasure groups in 2009, conducting two deployments in HMS Atherstone. This appointment also included a short period in command of HMS Ledbury between East of Suez tours. In 2011, short appointments to the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training in Faslane, as deputy commander sea training, and the Joint Services Command and Staff College, as directing staff in the Royal Navy Division, gave him a taste of the broad spectrum of training and education in the Armed Forces. He was promoted to commander last January.
Gordon is a keen long distance runner over all types of terrain and a very amateur guitar player. However, his greatest passion is cricket and he is a keen supporter of Hampshire CCC. No longer a player, he is an ECB Level 1 umpire and he stands in matches for Portsmouth and Southsea CC and the RNCC.