Outgoing Captain HMS Neptune, Captain Craig Mearns RN (left) hands-over to Captain Nick Gibbons RN (right).
By Gavin Carr
Personnel at HM Naval Base Clyde bid a fond farewell to Captain Craig Mearns as he handed-over the role of Captain HMS Neptune.
For the last four years Captain Mearns has held the position of Captain of HMS Neptune and Captain of the Base, overseeing the land establishment at the site which provides accommodation, logistics, welfare and “life support” services to some 6,800 personnel at Clyde.
Taking over from him will be Captain Nick Gibbons RN whose last post was a seven-month deployment to Rome where he was Senior National Representative for the UK’s contribution to the European Union mission to counter illicit trafficking in the Central Mediterranean.
A Fleet Air Arm Observer, Captain Gibbons has flown Sea King Mark 6 and Merlin Mark 1 and 2 helicopters, operating predominantly from the UK’s previous class of aircraft carriers and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.
Captain Gibbons said: “It is an honour to be appointed Captain HMS Neptune and Captain of the Base at a time of significant growth and development that will ensure successful delivery of the Submarine Centre of Specialisation within the next few years.
“Having spent the majority of my career in the south of England, my family are also looking forward to experiencing the opportunities afforded by this unique and breath-taking part of the country.”
Staff from HMS Neptune gathered to say farewell to Captain Mearns, who, as a keen golfer, departed on a motorised golf buggy.
“It has been both a privilege and pleasure to be Captain HMS Neptune,” said Captain Mearns, who will now retire from the Royal Navy. “I wish to thank everyone in HMS Neptune for their excellent work, commitment and good humour.”
Established in 1968, HMS Neptune is the land establishment at HM Naval Base Clyde responsible for providing essential services to the military personnel working and living at the site, as well as the civilian staff who utilise the facilities in their roles supporting the Royal Navy fleet from the Clyde.
Currently around 6,800 people work at the site with numbers expected to rise to approximately 8,200 over the next few years as the base transforms into the home of the entire UK Submarine Service and the Submarine Centre of Specialisation.
Captain Mearns bids a fond farewell to HMS Neptune personnel and in fine Naval tradition, leaves in quirky fashion on a golf buggy.