Weapon Engineer

"Running my own Unit of 50 personnel is a great privilege and responsibility. It is unique as it allows a WE Officer the opportunity to hold Command."

After completing my BSc Degree in Computing at Oxford Brookes University I went to work in the private sector as a Junior Software Developer for 2 years. Frustrated with the lack of variety and opportunity with the role, I joined the RN and began Initial Officer Training at BRNC in 2008.

My initial sea training phases were on HMS ARK ROYAL visiting Gibraltar and HMS RICHMOND returning from a Middle East deployment via Palma and Rhodes and following that, I was the Assistant Weapon Engineer Officer on HMS LIVERPOOL and HMS EDINBURGH. My sea training was progressive with ever-increasing responsibility and with every day being different it was exactly what I was looking for.

Prior to my first appointment I had the chance to temporarily assume post as the Area Careers Liaison Officer for the Oxford and Reading areas which involved working within the recruiting organisation of the RN. It was strange at first to be sitting on the other side of the desk from where I had been just over a year previously but I thoroughly enjoyed the role which allowed me to advise potential recruits on the variety of roles available in the RN.

My first appointment was in the last T42 Destroyer, HMS EDINBURGH, as the Weapon Section Officer for the Ship's final year prior to decommissioning. During this time the Ship deployed an Atlantic Patrol Task (South) which provided on-going protection and reassurance to British interests in the region. During the deployment I was fortunate enough to visit Cape Town, South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Barbados, St Vincent, Jacksonville and New York. Upon return to the UK and I achieved a very satisfactory pass in my Ready for Charge assessment which is a crucial milestone for the career progression of a WE Officer.

My second appointment was in the T45 Destroyer HMS DAUNTLESS as the Deputy Weapon Engineer Officer responsible for the day-to-day running of a Weapon Engineering Department of 50 engineers. I had to rapidly make the transition from the oldest Ship in the RN to one of the newest and during this time I had the opportunity to step up to the role of Head of Department during the 2 week JOINT WARRIOR exercise. This was a fantastic experience which allowed me to further develop my management skills and I felt hugely valued as my boss, with permission from the Captain, left the Ship for the period and trusted me to carry out his role without him there as a safety net.

I was then appointed as Deputy Weapon Engineer Officer Course Manager for 2 and a half years at HMS COLLINGWOOD. Whilst in post I was responsible for overseeing the year-long training pipeline for all Phase 2 Weapon Engineer Officers and instructed them in the management and administration techniques required to be effective at sea. Mentoring young officers was a rewarding experience as was the experience of being an instructor, which was something I never considered doing previously but it certainly enhanced my confidence and skill set.

I then returned to my home city of Oxford to assume Command of the Oxford University Royal Naval Unit, which is an extremely rewarding role that is quite different from working within a team in a large training establishment of 3,000 personnel. Running my own Unit of 50 personnel is a great privilege and responsibility. It is unique as it allows a WE Officer the opportunity to hold Command which is rare and highly-prized.

Throughout my time in the Navy I have also had the opportunity to earn a diving qualification which involved diving on the wreck of HMS SCYLLA, undertake a solo static line parachute jump from 3,000 feet, earn a kayaking qualification in Bavaria and also compete in the annual Queen's Medal shooting competition against the best shots in the Service.

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