Sailors recognised for outstanding work in Operational Honours list

While sailors and Royal Marines stand ready to respond to save lives during the coronavirus outbreak, other members of the Naval Service have today been recognised for their bravery and commitment on global operations.

From ensuring the protection of British-flagged shipping in the Gulf to handing out life-saving aid in the Caribbean, the work of sailors from across the naval service has been recognised in the 53rd operational honours list.

The latest recipients include the former Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, Captain Rob Anders who was at the helm of the ship during a three-year deployment to the Caribbean. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

During his time in command, the ship was called upon to deliver vital humanitarian aid to the Bahamas after the islands were devastated by Hurricane Dorian last year.

Capt Anders said he was humbled by the OBE but added the ship’s company “earned the award more than he did”.

“A ship will only be effective if it’s a team – everyone on Mounts Bay no matter which service was part of that team,” he said.

“The engineers who went ashore, the Army's Royal Logistic Corps team that took them ashore or the embarked flight that identified where to help and flew in some marginal conditions to deliver aid to more remote areas. 

“Throughout it all the Royal Fleet Auxiliary team supported this. You take away any part of that and the whole enterprise fails.”

I am immensely proud of what they achieved and the difference they made.

Captain Rob Anders, former Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay

Talking about his time as commanding officer, he added: “I truly learned about the privilege of command. Every member of that crew was amazing, they performed beyond what was expected and never complained – I am immensely proud of what they achieved and the difference they made.”

Meanwhile, the former Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose Commander Will King was also appointed an OBE. The Type 23 frigate is in the Gulf as part of the Royal Navy’s forward presence vision. This allows her to be stationed in the region long term, to carry out operations without having to sail to and from the UK. She is run by two crews, starboard and port, who alternate every six months.

While in the Middle East, Montrose has been accompanying British-flagged shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. She has carried out dozens of transits as part of Operation Sentinel.

On being appointed his OBE, Cdr King said: “I did what any other tactical commander would have done; but I feel honoured to be recognised and very privileged to have had such a strong ship’s company with me when the going got tough.”

HMS Montrose’s Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Sam Nightingale and Marine Engineering Officer Lt Cdr Jamie “Frankie” Vaughan were also recognised, with a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

Other recipients of an Operational Honour included former Commanding Officer of HMS Astute Commander Ben Haskins who was appointed an OBE. He served as Astute’s captain for 19 months, during which time the boat was awarded the Conqueror Prize for Operational Excellence.

Elsewhere, Commander Gus Carnie received a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for his complex work in Afghanistan which included making plans for the future of the Afghan Nation Police.