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RFA recognises the young and the experienced at sixth awards

1 October 2021
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The brightest, most-dedicated and longest-serving members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary converged on HMS Nelson’s wardroom for the Service’s sixth awards ceremony.

“As I approach the twilight of my service, I am often asked if, given my time again, would I still choose to go to sea? The answer is always a resounding ‘yes’,” Tony said.

“During an eventful career, I have travelled extensively, had some great times, and formed lifelong friendships. While there have been ups and downs aplenty, the good times with the RN and RFA have most certainly outweighed the bad.”

One man accounted for nearly a quarter of the 210 years: CPO(Chef) Martin Etwell who’s clocked up more than 50 years’ in galleys and continues to impart his substantial knowledge and experience training the next generation of chef apprentices, a job he finds especially satisfying.

“Seeing people come in the door who were unsure, and then seeing them come out at the other end, it’s really rewarding to see how they’ve grown,” he said.

“I love the job and I like to be busy, I’m not ready to hang up the chef’s whites just yet. It’s a good life, camaraderie is great, and the job gives you a chance to go wherever you want to go, in any direction.”

Commodore Eagles said the senior rating’s service was “nothing short of extraordinary” and his “dedication to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and wider Royal Navy cannot be overstated.”

All present also remembered the five RFA personnel lost in service: Laundryman Christopher Upshall; 2/O(E) Aaron Beale; C/O(SE) Mark Royston-Tonks; LH(SC) John Evans; and Captain(X) Robert Anders.

This award ceremony provides a chance to reflect on the personal sacrifices made, the hard work and the achievements of our people and their families and loved ones in the face of an unprecedented global challenge during a period of intense defence activity.

Commodore David Eagles

More than 30 awards were presented by the head of the Service, Commodore David Eagles, across a variety of categories, ranging from RFA Cadet of the Year, to long service and good conduct medals/clasps and retirement vases.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of 2020’s event, so this was the first opportunity for the commodore to thank his men and women in person for their continued efforts around the globe.

“Following a very challenging 18-months, I am delighted that we can hold this event to recognise our people,” he said.

“The pandemic has tested all our personnel and their families alongside our processes to ensure we continue to deliver for the Nation.

“This award ceremony provides a chance to reflect on the personal sacrifices made, the hard work and the achievements of our people and their families and loved ones in the face of an unprecedented global challenge during a period of intense defence activity.”

Engineer Cadet 3/O Alexander Holbrook was named Cadet of the Year for his outstanding performance during studies and at sea under training. He received the Richard Jones Trophy from Jane Walworth and her daughter Bethan Jones.

Eight RFA sailors – with more than 210 years’ service between them – received Long Service and Good Conduct medals.
Communications officer 2/O Tony Bryce – currently the RFA’s public relations officer at Leach – was recognised with a clasp for his 30 years.

 

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