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Commodore praises RFA's 'exemplary reputation' in Christmas message

22 December 2016
The Commodore of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Commodore Duncan Lamb, has issued a Christmas message praising the dedication of the RFA's uniformed and civilian staff.

As the end of another busy year approaches I am well aware of the challenges the RFA Service has faced to ensure it maintains an exemplary reputation for consistent worldwide operational delivery across a wide spectrum of maritime logistical support outputs. 

Whilst it is important to recognise the challenges faced it is equally important to place those challenges in context by paying tribute to the many achievements in both afloat operational delivery and in the headquarters which is testament to the dedication of uniformed and civilian staff alike.

I would like to wish you all, seafarer and civil servant, and your families a well-deserved and peaceful Christmas and best wishes for a successful 2017.

Commodore Duncan L Lamb RFA


Operational success has been delivered in the Mediterranean across a diverse range of tasks including humanitarian support, traditional amphibious operations, the removal of chemical materials from Libya and latterly support to the political partnership with Libya; in the Gulf, our ships have provided sterling continuity; in the South Atlantic we have delivered significant capacity building from the Gulf of Guinea to South Africa; in the North Atlantic, we have delivered the full spectrum of hurricane relief in the wake of Matthew and Nicole, counter narcotics seizures and a high-profile Royal embarkation.

Closer to home, around the UK, we have responded to higher than normal levels of foreign navy activity, supported a unique Hindu ceremony, provided support to FOST and our own RFA trainees.


Our team in DE&S, alongside our ship repair partners, have delivered high quality technical upkeep.

In Navy Command, we have switched focus from Junior Officer to Senior Officer recruitment, bedded in our Rating apprenticeship schemes; our Heads of Specialisations have completed comprehensive reviews of their respective branch career frameworks utilising the Branch Advisory Group and Maritime Trade Union stakeholder process; we have emphasised the reward and recognition of our personnel through the Awards and Honours process, the Special Bonus Award Scheme and the second RFA Annual Awards Ceremony held in September.

Employee engagement has been supported by the promulgation of an appointment length survey and the ‘Your Say’ survey providing RFA personnel with the opportunity to comment and have input on present and future policy.  

To meet the challenges of the New Year I am committed to making improvements by employee engagement at every level beginning with a series of Senior Officer Working Groups to be followed by seminars, all informed by an action plan as a result of the Your Say responses. 

As we prepare to say farewell to the Rover Class which have served us so well there is the excitement of new ships and particularly imminent delivery of Tide Class Tankers.

Work has started in earnest to develop three new Solid Support Ships, manned by RFA seafarers which underpin a secure future for the Service. 

None of these achievements would have been possible without your professionalism, dedication and determination to succeed.

It should be noted that the significant operational output of the RFA is highly regarded and understood in senior Navy and wider Defence circles.

I appreciate that not all of you will be able to spend the festive break with your families and friends and I particularly empathise with those new joiners spending their first Christmas away – a situation I experienced many years ago.

I would like to wish you all, seafarer and civil servant, and your families a well-deserved and peaceful Christmas and best wishes for a successful 2017.  

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