Church is always well attended at sea, people tend to go who otherwise wouldn’t go at home, and for a variety of reasons.

The Reverend Scott Brown

While in Navy Command Headquarters at HMS Excellent he oversaw a number of changes to the Chaplaincy service following the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010 including cutting the two Principal Chaplain roles (Captain level) down to one.

There are now just two chaplains at the headquarters with 58 on the frontline – and of those 15 are seagoing or serving at the naval bases and air stations.

There are also three chaplains serving abroad – in the US, Gibraltar and one at a brand new billet in Bahrain.

Some of Revd Brown’s highlights include serving with HMS Cardiff during the second Gulf war where he was one of 300 people on board and working as part of the exchange programme – Ex Long Look – with the Australian and New Zealand navies.

Based in Canberra with the Australian Defence Force Academy he enjoyed his time working with the chaplaincy family aboard – and took the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to abseil off the Sydney Harbour Bridge with a White Ensign.

Yet despite the foreign deployments, he cites his favourite post as working with HMS Raleigh and the Phase 1 trainees.

“It is a place with a real buzz,” he said, “and there is a chance to affect people and see them come to faith. There were 55 confirmations there last year for example which is more than the Bishop of Truro had in his whole diocese.”

“It has been a great career, I will miss the people I have worked with but I am also looking forward to a new challenge and to seeing what else life has to offer.

“There are qualities that I have learnt in the Royal Navy that I know I will take with me – punctuality and discipline for example – because that is something we take for granted in the Armed Forces and I know that will stay with me.

“In terms of organisational changes I think in terms of equality we have come a long way – going from women not being allowed to go to sea to now being able to serve on ships and submarines. And homosexuality used to be illegal – that is unthinkable today.

“But there are those things that will never change – Jackspeak for example.

“We in the Navy have a whole different language that just creeps in and you don’t really realise it.

“And then there is the camaraderie, as you can see someone after four or five years and you are still friends despite a huge time gap. It is the way of the Service life.”

As well as the Anglican and Catholic Royal Navy chaplains there are also five multi-faith civilian chaplains who can be called upon – of the Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim faiths.

And prayer rooms are established at all bases to cater for those personnel of different faiths who wish for a place to pray and reflect.

“Having a Chaplain is extremely important still., said Revd Brown. “Commanding Officers of deploying ships always request one.

“They perform an important role on board which is that of confidant to both the ship’s company and also the CO, which can be a lonely role.

“Church is always well attended at sea, people tend to go who otherwise wouldn’t go at home, and for a variety of reasons.

“Perhaps a family member has passed away and they want to reflect or they may enjoy the time in a different environment with their shipmates.”