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Celebrated head of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service retires

26 July 2022
The celebrated head of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service retires today after nearly 40 years of devoted service.

Commodore Jim Perks handed over command to Commodore Paul Dunn in a ceremony at the home of the Silent Service at Clyde Naval Base in Scotland.

It marked the end of a 38-year naval career, which saw Cdre Perks climb the ranks from junior rating to the Officer Corps before going onto command the Submarine Flotilla in 2016 and eventually becoming head of the service in January 2020.

Cdre Perks toured Clyde Naval Base with his wife Louise, visiting Valiant and Finger jetties where he has overseen countless submarine operations, before departing on Faslane Patrol Boat HMS Raider, transporting him down the Gare Loch for the final time.

Commodore Perks said: “Having been promoted to the Officer Corps in 1988, the nature of our business and the camaraderie of the Silent Service was a real attraction and I saw the Submarine Service as a perfect home for me – and I was right.

“It has been an absolute honour to serve my final six years as Commander Submarine Flotilla. I am, as ever, humbled by the fortitude, resilience and dedication of our fantastic people, and of course, their families.

“Having joined Raleigh at 17 and now retiring after 38 years as Head of the Submarine Service, I can reflect that the Royal Navy has offered me fantastic opportunities throughout my career. I would do it again if I could – I am truly made in the Royal Navy.”

Taking over from Commodore Perks is Commodore Dunn who himself has a wealth of submarine experience stretching back to 1989 when he joined the Royal Navy aged just 18 and volunteered for service on submarines.

During his career Commodore Dunn has served with HMS Courageous, HMS Sovereign, HMS Turbulent, HMS Superb, and HMS Vengeance (Port) and has commanded HMS Vigilant.

He has also spent time on shore as Assistant Staff Officer Operations at Clyde, with Fleet Operational Sea (Submarines), with the Maritime Warfare Centre as head of underwater warfare pillar, and with the operations team of the Naval Staff within the MOD.

He also served in Bahrain as Staff Operations Officer with the UK Maritime Component’s Headquarters and in the US as UK Liaison Officer to US Strategic Command.

His most recent post was as Head of Nuclear Planning in the Director General Nuclear Organisation.

A look back at Commodore Perks’ Naval Career

Joining the Royal Navy in 1984 as a Writer – an administrative Rating in the navy – Commodore Perks served with HMS Hermione and HMS Jupiter stationed in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War.

In 1988 he was promoted to the Officer Corps and joined Britannia Royal Naval College where he was assigned to HMS Intrepid and HMS Alacrity for initial sea training.

It was shortly afterwards that he volunteered for service in submarines, completing his training onboard Trafalgar-class attack submarine HMS Tireless before navigating HMS Spartan.

In 1995 Commodore Perks completed the Submarine Advanced Warfare Course and re-joined Spartan as the Operations Officer. It was just one year later that he was made an instructor on the Submarine Advanced Warfare Course.

His next challenge was the Submarine Command Course (SMCC) – known as “Perisher” because of the high drop-out rate – the gateway to commanding a Royal Navy submarine. Commodore Perks passed the SMCC in 1999 and joined HMS Talent as the boat’s Executive Officer.

After a period with Fleet Operations in Northwood as Submarine Special Operations Officer he was promoted to Commander and given command of HMS Sceptre. He spent three years with the vessel and was awarded an OBE in recognition of his service.

It was in 2008 that Commodore Perks was appointed the role of “Teacher” of the Perisher course, responsible for training and assessing future submarine commanders.

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