Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Proud dads welcome sons into the Royal Navy

21 June 2017
It’s a case of like father, like son, for two Royal Navy Warrant Officers (WO) from Plymouth who have proudly welcomed their sons into the Service.

WO1 Andy Welch and WO1 Kevan ‘Jan’ Stoddard are both Seaman Specialists by trade and are currently based in Plymouth working on the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training.

Their sons, Able Rate (AB) Jack Welch and AB Ben Stoddard are currently under training at the Royal Naval School of Seamanship based at HMS Raleigh.

WO1 Welch joined the Royal Navy in 1988 and has served on eight warships and ashore in Plymouth, Portsmouth and the Falkland Islands.  He saw action early on his career while serving on board HMS Brilliant during the liberation of Kuwait.

AB Welch joined the Royal Navy last October.  The 21-year-old attended Ridgeway School and is currently undergoing his specialist training.  Father and son share a love of rugby.

AB Welch has recently been selected for the Royal Navy rugby sevens squad.

I joined the Royal Navy because I wanted to travel and for the career.

AB Welch

AB Welch said:  “I joined the Royal Navy because I wanted to travel and for the career, plus dad’s had a good career and I’ve grown up with that.

"I did my initial training here at Raleigh and then went to HMS Collingwood for five months learning the tactical side of the branch and now I’m back here learning the seamanship side, driving boats, which is brilliant.”  

While WO1 Welch is proud and delighted that his son has chosen the same trade as him, he thinks his son may not have it easy.  He joked:  “It’s a bit difficult for him because I’m a hard act to follow, but he’s done really well with the first part of his training.

"He seems a lot more confident in himself, very content and happy in what he’s doing.  He’s getting that bit of Navy swagger now, which I’m glad to see. 

"He seems very keen to promoted, which is a good thing, so I hope he does well when he gets to his ship.

"I’d be delighted to serve with him at sea, but I don’t know if we are going to have that chance, but you never say never. I’ve had a good career for 30 years so I hope it’s the same for him and he gets the same enjoyment as I have.”

WO Stoddard began his Naval career in 1982 and is a former pupil of Kelly College, near Tavistock.  He has served on a range of patrol ships, frigates, survey vessels and also on one of the Royal Navy’s large amphibious ship.  WO Stoddard’s last appointment at sea was as the Executive Warrant Officer of HMS Monmouth.

AB Stoddard, aged 26, is a former pupil of Plymouth College. He joined the Royal Navy in February this year and has just started his professional training to qualify as a Hydrographic and Meteorology (HM) specialist.

AB Stoddard spent time with his father on board ships during his childhood and credits that as his inspiration for joining the Royal Navy. His grand-fathers were also part of the Naval Service.  One was a Royal Marine and the other was in the Royal Navy.

AB Stoddard said:  “When I was looking at the Navy I asked my dad for advice and he said if he was to join again he would join as a HM.

"I’d never heard of it, so I looked into it and thought it was really interesting.  It’s going well at the moment.  I’m in week three of four of seamanship training and I’m enjoying that.

"Then I move over to HMS Drake for six weeks for my trade training.”

Now coming to the end of his Service career WO1 Stoddard said:  “I’m immensely proud of Ben.  At his basic training passing-out-parade it was a real heart moment to see him and the rest of his class passing out.

"It has been a long journey for him to get into the Navy and reach this point.  Ben’s always worked since leaving school and university, but it’s never been a career move.

"I’m happy for him and his girlfriend; they now have their own house and he’s got a career behind him.  I hope he does as long in the Navy as I have.

"I’ve got a year left, and wouldn’t have had my life any other way.”

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.