Commander John Payne has been appointed Commanding Officer of the frigate, HMS Sutherland, which will deploy to the Caribbean this summer on the front line in the global war against drugs.
Commander Payne’s interest in a life at sea was raised when a Royal Navy presentation team came to visit his class at school. He said: “It looked like a great life, full of adventure and challenge. I haven’t regretted a day of it.” John convinced his parents to let him apply to join up as soon as he could and he won a sponsorship from the Royal Navy to help him through university before going to Officer training at Dartmouth.
Since joining, John has travelled the world, learning his trade at sea as a Gunnery Officer, Navigator, Principle Warfare Officer and Executive Officer. He has now been given command of his own warship.
When he is home from sea John is a keen supporter of his local Rugby Football Club, where he is now one of the Vice Presidents after playing in the centre for 20 years. John said: “Being able to play sport and keep fit is one of the best things about the Navy. Not many jobs give you time off to play rugby every week. In the Royal Navy it is encouraged.”
HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 ‘Duke’ Class frigate which has just emerged from refit with some of the most modern and capable weapons and sensors of any ship in the world. Her role in the Caribbean this summer will be to provide visible support to the local authorities in the international fight against drugs whilst using her cutting edge to locate, track and apprehend personnel smuggling narcotics.