HMS Somerset welcomes new Commanding Officer

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet Storyline: HMS Somerset

Devonport based Type 23 Frigate HMS Somerset has taken another step forward in her regeneration by welcoming her new Commanding Officer (CO), Commander Dave Mason.

Commander Mason took the reins on 11 Jan 22 in preparation for HMS Somerset proceeding to sea for the first time since 2018, generating her capabilities ready to re-join the Royal Navy’s front-line Fleet later in 2022.

The extensive refit package has included not only well needed repairs and updates to her hull and living spaces, but significant improvements to her systems across the board. Most notably the ship has been upgraded with the more advanced Sea Ceptor missile capability, the latest in command system IT, a new suite of communication control methods, state of the art satellite communications, and several other first of class fits which will pave the way for wider roll out across the Fleet in due course once fully tested.

Cdr Mason assumes command of HMS Somerset having previously served on two other Type 23’s, HMS St Albans as a Principal Warfare Officer, and HMS Lancaster as Executive Officer. 

Dave joined the Royal Navy in 2004 and after training at BRNC Dartmouth, he joined the Fishery Protection Squadron initially serving on HMS Severn as Gunnery Officer. Attending a Mine Warfare course in 2008, he went on to serve in the Gulf on several Mine Warfare Ships on Operation Kipion. He completed a Principal Warfare Officers course in 2015 and joined HMS St Albans where he enjoyed a diverse programme spanning deployments to the Gulf again, included a nine-month period as Operations Officer. The deployment also saw prolonged periods of support to the Aircraft Carriers USS Harry S Truman and the French FS Charles de Gaulle, as well as Counter-Narcotics Operations and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Patrols in the Gulf of Aden.


He subsequently served at Fleet Operation Sea Training (FOST), where he was responsible for the training and development of ASW techniques and procedures to many Royal Navy and multi-national units. As a member of the Towed Array Response team, he also played a major role in their award of a Fleet Commander’s Commendation in 2019.

Most recently assigned as the Executive Officer of HMS Lancaster in Aug 2019 and as Senior Naval Officer, he led her delivery from refit before a busy generation as Fleet Readiness Escort ship, with an extremely varied programme in support of maritime security operations as far as the High North and Baltic. Appointed as the Commanding Officer for his final few months onboard, he completed his time with ‘The Queen’s Frigate’, continuing to deliver operations as well as Carrier Escort Duties alongside HMS Prince of Wales. 

On assuming Command of HMS Somerset 11 Jan 22, Commander Mason said, “It is a privilege to be able to take command of HMS Somerset as she emerges from a significant upkeep period, preparing her to counter the ever-evolving Global threats to the UK and our allies. I look forward to leading her through the next stage of her regeneration, proving our cutting-edge capabilities at sea, and preparing to deliver anything required of us by the Fleet Commander once we re-join the Fleet”.