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Officer who dealt blows to drug smugglers and terrorists given honours

24 November 2022
A Royal Navy officer whose ship has delivered blows to both drug smugglers and terrorists in 2022 has been decorated in the King’s first Operational Honours for the forces.

Commander Claire Thompson will receive the OBE on her return to the UK, recognition for her deeds and accomplishments captaining HMS Montrose in the Gulf.

The frigate has proved to be one of the Royal Navy’s most successful and effective warships this year, with Commander Thompson and her 200-strong team of sailors and Royal Marines scoring four major drugs busts, plus two illegal arms caches.

The frigate is homeward bound, due back in Plymouth next month after more than four years away from the UK.

Commander Thompson said: “I feel hugely privileged and extremely humbled by the news that I have been awarded an OBE.

“It is an incredible honour, and for me this award represents each and every one of my ship’s company and their hard work, professionalism and dedication whilst deployed on operations over significant periods of the last year.

“The success of HMS Montrose over that period is well documented but the selfless commitment of the men and women who serve in her must be highlighted as without them none of that success is possible. 

“In addition to those on board there are also the families and friends we leave behind, yet who support us wholeheartedly in our endeavours and therefore also deserve to be recognised in moments such as these. 

“I really cannot wait to get back to the UK next month for a homecoming that was always going to be good but with this news will now be truly very special.”

Meanwhile, the senior officer who led HMS Queen Elizabeth and the UK Carrier Strike Group 49,000 nautical miles on their maiden operational deployment has been handed the CBE. 

Read Admiral Steve Moorhouse is recognised for his command of the international force of warships, F-35 Lightning jets, helicopters and a nuclear-powered submarine on their mission to the Indo-Pacific and back, during which they worked with 44 different nations, strengthening UK friendships across the globe.  

He said: “Receiving this national recognition is humbling and I feel incredibly privileged. 

“However, none of the successes we saw during Carrier Strike Group 21 and the inaugural HMS Queen Elizabeth deployment would have been possible without the truly exceptional commitment from the nearly three-and-a-half-thousand men and women who deployed with the Strike Group at the height of Covid.  

“Their professionalism, dedication, and resilience along with the unwavering support of our families underpinned all that we achieved.”

Indeed, a whole host of Carrier Strike Group sailors and officers have joined RAdm Moorhouse in being recognised for their efforts during the global mission. 

Chief Petty Officer Laura Perry is awarded the MBE after her tireless work in logistics, keeping the Strike Group’s ten ships, submarine and 32 aircraft supplied and ready for action wherever they were in the world, overcoming challenges during the height of the pandemic. 

Warrant Officer 1 Clint Wheeler is also awarded the MBE for his role keeping HMS Queen Elizabeth’s complex propulsion system in full operation during the global mission.

Petty Officer Tim Dodge, Lieutenant Commander Alexandra Harris and Leading Warfare Specialist Jake Hobday are all given the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for their role in the Carrier Strike Group deployment.

I feel hugely privileged and extremely humbled by the news that I have been awarded an OBE.

Commander Claire Thompson

Operational Honours List:

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Read Admiral Steve Moorhouse

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Commander Claire Thompson 

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Chief Petty Officer Laura Perry 

Warrant Officer 1 Clint Wheeler

Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS)

Petty Officer Timothy Dodge 

Lieutenant Commander Alexandra Harris 

Leading Warfare Specialist Jake Hobday 

Warrant Officer 1 Chris Robbins 

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