NAVAL reservists in the area have a new commanding officer who knows all about the difficulties of balancing a day job with life in the armed forces.
Commander Anthony Stickland has taken over as the commanding officer of HMS King Alfred, which is based on Whale Island in Portsmouth.
Cdr Stickland is a reservist himself, and is a director of an electronics company based in Lymington.
He says the Portsmouth-based reservist unit will advance over the next few years as the government increases the numbers of reserve forces.
Cdr Stickland said: ‘It’s a great honour to be assuming command of HMS King Alfred at such an exciting time for the maritime reserve.
‘We are a key element in the government’s defence strategy.
‘Both the reserves and HMS King Alfred in particular are destined for growth over the coming years.
‘Next year we will be marking HMS King Alfred’s 20th year since commissioning in Portsmouth, and also look forward to making our contribution towards Portsmouth’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day.’
Cdr Stickland was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School before going on to read electrical sciences at Selwyn College, Cambridge.
He joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 1985 and is well-known to the reservists at HMS King Alfred as a former executive officer and first lieutenant. In his earlier naval days Cdr Stickland spent many weekends and fortnights at sea in HMS Itchen, Arun, Fencer, Archer and Pursuer.
He went on to serve as the navigating officer in HMS Itchen and became the Royal Naval Reserves’ lead precise navigation instructor.
He has also served on board HMS Alderney, Exeter, Illustrious and Ocean.
HMS King Alfred, the largest unit of naval reservists in the country, is now recruiting.
To find out more, people are invited to a recruiting evening at HMS King Alfred on Whale Island.
These evenings take place on the first Tuesday of every month from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
For more information call (023) 9254 7453.