New Head for Royal Fleet Auxiliary – Navy’s crucial support in war and peace

The Navy’s crucial support ships have a new head today as Commodore David Eagles takes the helm of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Formal command of the 13-strong flotilla of tankers, supply vessels, amphibious support ships and the UK’s sole aviation training/casualty treatment ship passed to Cdre Eagles aboard HMS Victory.

He takes over from Commodore Duncan Lamb, whose five-year tenure as RFA Head of Service and Deputy Director of RN Afloat Support ­– marked the climax of a career spanning more than 43 years.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary provides the vital fuel, supplies, ammunition, and cargo space to support the Royal Navy wherever it deploys around the world.

It ships are currently supporting front-line operations and exercises around the UK, in the Mediterranean and Gulf, and leading a UK task group in the Caribbean.

Cdre Eagles, from West Devon, started his seagoing career with BP before joining the RFA, which he has served in for more than 30-years. Most recently he commanded the Navy’s ‘floating warehouse/garage’, RFA Fort Victoria, which provides ships deployed at sea with spare parts, ammunition, food and fuel.

He was presented with a Ceremonial Telescope signifying the transfer of overall command of the RFA Service during a social-distanced ceremony on Admiral Nelson’s flagship in Portsmouth.

It is a great honour and privilege to assume the duty as Head of Service and I look forward to working with our superb team of seafarers and civil servants

Commodore David Eagles RFA

“It is a great honour and privilege to assume the duty as Head of Service and I look forward to working with our superb team of seafarers and civil servants to deliver our operational outputs and promote the RFA Service across Defence and Government,” Cdre Eagles said.

“May I also recognise the hard work and leadership of my predecessor, Duncan Lamb, in leading the RFA through the past five years and, latterly, the unforeseen ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

His predecessor has overseen the introduction of four new Tide-class tankers – the largest ships under the RFA banner – which are crucial to supporting the operations of HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales and their carrier battle groups into the mid-21st Century.

Cdre Lamb, who joined the RFA in 1977 – the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, launch of new aircraft carrier HMS Invincible and Roger Moore saving the world as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me – now intends to enjoy his retirement.

“It has been an immense privilege to be Head of Service during five challenging but rewarding years,” said Cdre Lamb from Clackmannshire, near Stirling.

“I wish all our brilliant people at sea and ashore the very best of luck with their careers, family and their ambitions.”