First Sea Lord recognises outstanding efforts of Royal Navy pair

Two Royal Navy officers have been recognised for their exemplary efforts in ensuring submarines and ships have skilled engineers to keep them at sea.

Commander Adrian Coulthard and Lieutenant Commander Kim Mehta have been awarded the First Sea Lord’s Greenwich Hospital Prize.

The pair were welcomed on board HMS Victory by First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin to be given the prestigious award.

It is the highest achievement, short of state honours, that a member of the Naval Service can receive. It celebrates the hard work of those who have made an outstanding and unparalleled contribution to the service.

Training is at the heart of the Royal Navy's reputation as a world-class fighting force and both winners are recognised for their outstanding contribution while serving at the Defence School of Marine Engineering at HMS Sultan – an organisation that trains more than 4,000 personnel every year. 

Over the past 26 years Commander Coulthard has played a vital part in the delivery of this training, particularly in his role as Training Commander of the Gosport engineering school.

His citation said: “He has been the driving force in the training revolution of competent and confident marine engineers, without whom the fleet cannot go to sea.

“Throughout his service, he has given his all in his endeavours to provide the best possible training for service personnel. The Royal Navy could not have asked for a more capable, committed and loyal servant who has made an exceptional contribution to the marine engineering training and engineering branch.”

I can certainly say that it was a very much an unexpected and enjoyable surprise to be informed that I was to be awarded this prize

Commander Coulthard

Commander Coulthard said: “I am obviously absolutely delighted and regard it as a great honour to be receive it.  It is very much the icing on the cake of a career that started in 1991 and I look forward to continuing to serve in the Royal Navy for as long as possible.”

Lieutenant Commander Mehta’s performance while serving at the same engineering training establishment is vewed as outstanding. Having nurtured thousands of Royal Navy engineers in her 23 years as a Training Officer, she is commended for her tireless efforts to champion the cause of women in engineering.

In her citation, it said her contribution “should not be underestimated” and her improved training regime delivered more effective marine engineers to the fleet.

It added: “Lieutenant Commander Mehta has accomplished a great deal, improving the way in which Royal Navy engineers are trained while ensuring that the training fully embraces diversity and inclusivity.  A tireless champion for her branch, the cause of marine engineering in the Naval Service is immeasurably better for her tireless efforts.”

Lieutenant Commander Mehta, who now works in Navy Command HQ in Portsmouth, said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this award. I am passionate about improving the training we offer within the naval service, particularly to our engineers.

“My work within HMS Sultan will hopefully go some way to enhancing the learning facilities for staff and trainees as well as highlighting the wide-ranging opportunities that a STEM-based career can offer.”

The award is sponsored by the Royal Navy’s oldest affiliated charity the Greenwich Hospital who have worked in partnership with the First Sea Lord to recognise the extraordinary accomplishments and dedication of recipients.

Admiral Radakin said: “The First Sea Lord’s Greenwich Hospital Prize is the highest honour the Naval Service can award. Today’s recipients embody our values and standards of courage, commitment, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty.

“Their achievements are the finest traditions of the service and I am proud to be able to present these awards to them.”