Lieutenant Commander RJ Strathern Royal Navy
Lieutenant Commander Rod Strathern was born into an Army family and brought up in Germany and Kent. After graduating from University in Birmingham , he joined Britannia Royal Naval College for in 1989 for Initial Training, followed by a Mediterranean deployment in HMS ACHILLES as part of the Dartmouth Training Squadron. Young Officer Fleet Time Training in HMS ALDERNEY and HMS BRILLIANT then saw him appointed to HMS CHATHAM where he gained his Bridge Watch Qualification. In 1993 he chose to specialise in Minewarfare and after completing the Specialist Course he joined the Rosyth based HMS SANDOWN, the first of her class to complete a full period of Mine Countermeasures Operational Sea Training. SANDOWN also played a key role in locating HM Submarine VANDAL, lost in the Clyde since the Second World War and subsequently found by minehunting sonar off Arran . Remaining in the Minewarfare world, he joined HMS WALNEY as Executive Officer in 1995, with the Ship undertaking the first SANDOWN Class out-of-area deployment to the Mediterranean and Black Sea , as well as the change of base port from Rosyth to Faslane. Following Initial Staff Course at Greenwich, he returned to HMS CHATHAM for pre-Warfare Course training, which happily coincided with a Far East deployment and a month in Hong Kong as Guardship for the handover of sovereignty to the Chinese, during which time he acted as a Press Officer for the British Garrison, followed by a period as one of the Ship’s Boarding Officers during operations in the Arabian Gulf. After specialising as a Principal Warfare Officer (Underwater), he joined HMS EDINBURGH who undertook a Black Sea and Mediterranean deployment which include such diverse ports as Latakia in Syria , Beirut , Sevastopol in the Ukraine and Poti in Georgia . He subsequently joined HMS LANCASTER on embargo operations on the Arabian Gulf , taking on the Operations Officer role as she became the first frigate to successfully integrate a Merlin helicopter flight. Appointed to the Maritime Warfare School at HMS DRYAD as the Underwater Warfare Stream Specialist Instructor, he saw warfare training move to HMS COLLINGWOOD as the Training Estate was rationalised. He then joined the Staff of Flag Officer Sea Training in Devonport and enjoyed a rewarding period as a Staff Warfare Officer, training ship’s anti-submarine teams. After FOST, he enjoyed a rewarding 2 year appointment as Executive Officer in the Type 23 Frigate HMS WESTMINSTER and was privileged to march the Ship’s Company through the streets of Westminster to exercise the Freedom of the City. Whilst deployed, the Ship spent a period off the coast of Burma after it had been devastated by Cyclone Nargis, waiting for a call for help from the Burmese Government that never came. After taking WESTMINSTER into refit as the Senior Naval Officer, he returned to FOST for a 2 year appointment as a Staff Damage Control Officer, delivering Fire fighting and Damage Control team training for RN and NATO ships. He was appointed to VICTORY as Commanding Officer in December 11. He lives in Winchester with his wife Sarah and his children Ellie and Ben. His interests include keeping fit, outdoor pursuits, skiing and military history.