Commodore Mark praised for 39-year commitment to Navy and nation

Topic: People Storyline: People

THIRTY-NINE years’ service as an officer – the last eight of them in Saudi Arabia working side-by-side with our Middle East allies – were recognised when Commodore Mark Durkin was honoured by his contemporaries.

Joined by his family, the senior RN officer received his Valedictory Certificate from Air Vice-Marshal Chris Snaith RAF, Director MOD Saudi Armed Forces Projects (MODSAP), marking the end of an illustrious – and incredibly varied – career in the Royal Navy.

Cdre Durkin joined BRNC Dartmouth in January 1984 and has a had successful career as a warfare officer.

Beyond staple warfare roles and posts such as Principal Warfare Officer and two commands (minehunter HMS Atherstone and Type 42 destroyer HMS Exeter), his career has involved mine clearance diver, career manager, public relations officer, and head of RN Sport.

He completed operational tours in Afghanistan, supported the military response to the firefighters’ strike in 2002/03 (Operation Fresco) and also served as Captain Mine Warfare, Diving and Fishery Protection. 

“It has been a great privilege to serve for 39 years in the Royal Navy,” said Cdre Durkin, who was accompanied by his wife, Karen, and his two adult children, for the valedictory presentation in London.

“A hugely-demanding yet rewarding career has given me the opportunity to live in Hong Kong, Australia and Saudi Arabia, undertake many deployments at sea and operational tours in Afghanistan and USA. “Highlights will always be command of HM Ships Atherstone and Exeter and the extraordinary and talented people that I have worked with.

“Given the chance I would certainly do it all again.”

The commodore leaves the service this month after serving the past eight years in Saudi Arabia, as Commodore Naval Programmes within MODSAP.

This role has allowed him to foster extremely strong RN relations with a key UK ally and partner in the Gulf region, particularly in terms of mine warfare capability; the Saudi Navy operates Sandown-class hunters like the RN and regularly trains/exercises with the UK’s vessels permanently stationed in the Gulf.

“Cdre Mark is a Royal Navy officer who has served in nearly all areas of defence and has contributed much over many years,” said Air Vice Marshal Snaith. “We wish him an equally fulfilled and happy life out of uniform.”

It has been a great privilege to serve for 39 years in the Royal Navy.

Commodore Mark Durkin