b. 1985 | Royal Navy
Inspired by a newspaper advert, Edward Evans joined the Royal Navy as a Junior Seaman, passing his officer exams a few years later. He served in a number of sea and shore appointments and ended his career as the Commanding Officer of HMS Temeraire.
Edward Evans was born on 15.6.1964 in Gorseinon, Swansea. His birth mother was an unmarried woman from the Hereford area who gave him up for adoption at birth. His paternal grandfather was an Italian prisoner of war working on his maternal grandmother’s farm. Adopted at 18 months old, Edward’s parents lived in Llanelli, running a successful jewellery and watch repair shop. Having passed the then 11+ examination, Edward attended Llanelli Boys Grammar School until he was 16 but then applied to join the Royal Navy in 1980. He duly joined HMS Raleigh on 25.5.1981 for training in the rate of Junior Seaman (Operator) (2nd class), the lowest rank in the Royal Navy at that time. During training he volunteered for service in the submarine service and, following successful completion of basic training, transferred to HMS Dolphin for basic and specialist submarine training. Specialising as a Tactical Systems rating, Edward joined his first submarine, HMS Renown (Starboard crew) in May 1982. He subsequently completed a number of nuclear deterrent patrols before being extracted to undertake officer training and joined Britannia Royal Naval on 9.1.1985.
Early Officer Career (1985-1997)
Edward successfully passed out of the College in December 1985, assuming the rank of Midshipman before undertaking fleet training in HMS Charybidis and HMS Abdel, the UK’s last minelayer and formally a Libyan car ferry. He then completed Supply and Secretariat Officer training at HMS Raleigh before joining the fleet strength in December 1986.
In early 1987, due to a critical shortage of Supply Officers in the submarine service and because of his previous experience, he was assigned to undertake the Officer’s submarine training course and joined HMS Conqueror, a nuclear powered submarine, as Supply Officer in December 1987, an unusual assignment for a Short Career Sub Lieutenant. At the height of the Cold War, UK SSNs routinely had contact with Russian submarine forces, often attempting to track each other and gain a potential attack position on the other and on one occasion Conqueror had a close pass with 2 Russian nuclear submarines at less than 1000 yards! HMS Conqueror conducted several patrols into northern waters, including under the margins of the Arctic ice zone, where the submarine inadvertently surfaced due to loss of buoyancy due to the peculiar saline conditions under the marginal ice zone. In 1988 the submarine returned to the South Atlantic for the first time since the Falklands War and conducted operations off the coast of Argentina and into Antarctic waters.
Leaving HMS Conqueror in 1990 having been promoted to Lieutenant, Edward completed a short assignment on the Staff of the Tenth Submarine Squadron before joining, with 3 days’ notice, HMS Superb in September 1991. There followed 3 years of often intensive operations in the North Atlantic and assisting with 4 Perisher courses. HMS Superb undertook a short patrol in the Adriatic in 1992, the first British submarine to operate in this area since World War 2.
In 1993 Edward had the unusual experience of being storm bound for 3 days in Andros Island after being dropped off by the submarine to make room for the trial team needed to run the trials being conducted on the Andros Ranges. Whilst the weather on the beach necessitated sun oil and large quantities of cooling drinks, off the reef it was too rough to transfer personnel back to the submarine. An irate Commanding Officer was only appeased when told that the whole submarine had been paid Local Overseas Allowance whilst the shore party was stranded. After taking HMS Superb into refit in Rosyth in August 1994, Edward was assigned to a NATO posting at Commander-in-Chief IBERIAN Atlantic Areas (CINCIBERLANT) where he served for 3 years on the mixed UK, US and Portuguese staff.
Early Officer Career (1997-2005)
Returning to the UK in 1997 on promotion to Lieutenant Commander, Edward undertook the Senior Logistic Officer’s course at HMS Raleigh before joining HMS Brave as Logistic Officer, in Logistic charge, in December 1997.
The ship was already deployed to the South Atlantic patrol areas when he joined and returned to the UK in the following May. Edward remained in HMS Brave until the ship was paid off in July 2000 and he was then assigned to the staff of Britannia Royal Naval College as the Executive Assistant to the Commodore. This appointment was cut short after 18 months by a demand to return to the submarine world as the Flotilla Logistic Officer on the Staff of Flag Officer Submarines based at Northwood, London. Following the restructuring of the Fleet Command under Fleet First, the Flotilla Logistic Officer post was disestablished and transferred to the Fleet Logistic Staff based in Portsmouth.
Edward was subsequently assigned as the Deputy Logistic Officer, HMS Ocean, joining the ship in December 2002 on her return from exercises in the Arabian Sea. The ship was required to return to the Arabian Sea as part of the coalition forces gathered post the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. The ship sailed 3 weeks after returning to the UK for a 6-month deployment to the Gulf region having been stored and prepared over the Christmas and New Year period.
Subsequent operations in the Gulf region culminated in the ship landing the embarked 45 Commando Royal Marines in Oman for transfer to Afghanistan, the first formal UK combat units to be deployed into the country. HMS Ocean returned to the UK to undertake a mid-life capability update at Portsmouth Naval Base before undertaking an emergency work up and sailing in January 2003 as part of the UK Task Group headed by HMS Illustrious which undertook operations in the Arabian Sea and Gulf in support of Operation Telic.
On the night of the UK assault on the Al-Faw peninsula, HMS Ocean and Illustrious operated close to an enemy coastline, bristling with Silkworm anti-ship missile batteries, providing 3 days of continuous support to the assaulting Royal Marine forces. Following the stepping down of operations after Saddam’s fall from power, HMS Illustrious was withdrawn to the although HMS Ocean remained in the Arabian Gulf for a further 2 months providing logistic support to the Tailored Air Group and troops ashore. The largest demand was for alcohol which Edward became a dab hand at procuring for onward transfer. The ship returned home in June 2003 and, following a period of leave, undertook a formal Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) workup in the autumn, which proved interesting as none of the FOST Logistic staff had taken a Helicopter Carrier into a combat zone. Edward departed HMS Ocean in December 2003 and joined HMS Seahawk, Helston, as Deputy Logistic Officer in January 2004. He was selected for promotion to Commander on the May 2005 list.
Senior Officer Career
Following promotion to Commander in September 2005, Edward initially served on the Fleet Logistic staff on the future Logistic Concepts desk. Having had no formal staff training and baffled by the language being used in documents crossing his desk, Edward took an early opportunity to escape the HQ when a temporary post was created in the United Nations Headquarters, New York. This was for a logistic specialist to manage support for the UN task force which had been enforcing the embargo of Lebanon following the Israeli military intervention of 2006. An enjoyable 4 months in the UN HQ followed which whilst eye opening at the political level, did not include a great deal of military logistic challenges. Edward returned to HMS Seahawk as the Logistic Commander, in Logistic Charge, in February 2007. a department of 100 mixed military and civilian staff, ensuring 24-hour world wide support for the deployed Merlin and Sea King Naval Air Squadrons, 24 hour 7 day a week support for UK Search and Rescue helicopter operations and introducing Pay As You Dine into the Royal Navy; all highlights to an enjoyable assignment.
Edward was assigned to the staff of the UK Maritime Component Commander, Bahrain, in August 2010, and returned to the Middle East once again. During this one year assignment he was responsible for coordinating the transfer and acceptance into service of an in theatre anti-mine ammunition magazine facility. This necessitated transferring material over an 8000 mile sea and air bridge from UK to create an afloat storage in theatre, supporting UK units over a 3 million square mile sea area and ensuring 24 hour, 7 day a week logistic and administration support for UK maritime units East of Suez. He also met his future wife who was serving on the same staff!
Returning to the UK, and 100 days accumulated leave, in July 2011, Edward joined the staff of the Tri-Service Logistic College, based at Deepcut, managing the development of tri-service training ready for the introduction of the new spares support system being introduced into the military; Management of the Joint Deployed Inventory (MJDI). Edward also successfully completed his Open University degree course in 2011 achieving a BA (Hons) in International Studies. After leading this team for 12 months, Edward was then assigned back to the Naval Fleet Headquarters as the Common Officer Appointments Career Manager.
Responsible for filling 693 posts for officers between Lieutenant and Commander RN/Lieutenant Colonel RM, Edward had no manpower under his direct control and was always in a state of negotiation with the specialist Career Managers. At a time of severe officer manpower shortage, it was a post that presented many challenges, but Edward enjoyed more successes than failures. From selecting candidates to be considered for the post of Equerry to Her Majesty The Queen, and other members of the Royal Family, to filling posts in NATO staffs across Europe and diplomatic posts around the globe, each and every assignment was carefully considered and the potential candidates fully scrutinised for suitability. He was subsequently appointed to his final assignment on the active list in February 2015 when he took Command of HMS Temeraire, a Portsmouth shore establishment.
The post of Commanding Officer HMS Temeraire also carried with it the role of the Commanding Officer of the Royal Naval School of Physical Training and SO1 Physical Development for the Royal Navy. Consequently, this was a busy but hugely rewarding final appointment in the Service which saw Edward engaged in a 3-year campaign to prove the relevance of HMS Temeraire as the centre of excellence for RN Sport, Adventurous Training and individual Physical Development. That the establishment was still on the Bridge List when he departed the Royal Navy, counted as one of his most satisfying achievements over a 37-year career.
Post service Edward semi-retired and, to date, has limited himself to seeking part time employment as he supports his wife who is building a small art business. Having settled in Cumbria at the family home he managed a local shooting estate for a year, despite initially knowing little about the business of shooting and enjoyed meeting a wide range of clients from local characters to members of the House of Lords, though sometimes it was hard to tell them apart. He was subsequently employed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust working on a 3-year project aimed at increasing the number of pollinating insects within the county. What he will end up doing is will involve fishing and dogs!
Edward’s father and son both also served in the Armed Forces and have contributed their experiences to the West Wales Veterans’ Archive. Read their stories!