First female commander for warship

The first female commander of a major Royal Navy (RN) warship is taking up her post today.

Commander Sarah West, 40, from Middlesex, joins Type-23 frigate HMS Portland in Rosyth, Fife. The warship is undergoing a refit and, on completion, it will undergo a series of trials this year before returning to Devonport. It will then be prepared for its next operational tasking.

Cmdr West said: “Taking command of HMS Portland is the highlight of my 16 years in the RN so far. It is a challenge that I am fully trained for and ready to undertake.

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“I am very proud to be taking command of a Type-23 frigate, and I’m looking forward to taking HMS Portland on operations with a professional and focused team.”

In another milestone for the navy, Commander Sue Moore, 43, recently became the first woman to command a squadron of minor war vessels, the First Patrol Boat Squadron, based in Portsmouth.

Cmdr Moore, from Bath, and Cmdr West have racked up achievements including deployments ranging from the Gulf to the Balkans to counter-narcotics patrols in the Caribbean.

The pair have been described as being part of a “cohort of talented female officers”.