New commander of Portsmouth Naval Base insists the city and Royal Navy has an 'exciting future' ahead

THE new boss of Portsmouth Naval Base has insisted the city and the Royal Navy has ‘an exciting future’ to look forward to.

By Tom Cotterill
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 4:55 pm

Captain John Voyce will be taking on the top job leading the city’s naval base from its current commander, Commodore JJ Bailey – who is expected to step down in the coming days.

Captain Voyce is no stranger to leading a base full of military personnel, having been the commanding officer of HMS Sultan in Gosport for three years.

The top officer, who stepped down from his role at Sultan earlier this week, said he was delighted to take on the challenge of leading Portsmouth Naval Base – home to the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

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Capt Voyce, pictured right, says farewell to staff within the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School

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Speaking ahead of joining the city’s military establishment, Captain Voyce said: ‘Looking at my next role, I am excited to combine my passion for engineering, people, management and the Royal Navy into the role of naval base commander of Portsmouth dockyard and continuing my predecessor’s excellent work.

‘I feel privileged to lead the naval base team, with our industry partners, into what promises to be an exciting future for the dockyard, the city and the Royal Navy.’

Captain Voyce had been in charge of HMS Sultan since 2019.

Capt Voyce visited a number of departments to pass on his thanks during his farewell tour.

During his tenure of the establishment, which is the home of the Royal Navy’s marine and air engineering schools, Captain Voyce led the base through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the challenges of the early few months of the coronavirus outbreak, HMS Sultan continued to train sailors in the vital engineering skills needed to keep the navy’s fleet of ships and aircraft operational.

Captain Voyce added: ‘I have utterly enjoyed every day as HMS Sultan commanding officer and the commandant of the defence school of marine engineering.’

Captain Voyce was accompanied by his partner Marie as he said his final goodbyes at HMS Sultan

Captain Voyce carried out a farewell tour of the base in a Sultan’s own ‘Super Sentinel’ steam lorry, accompanied by his partner, Marie.

He said he was ‘proud of the progress’ made by at Sultan and added: ‘Over my time, Sultan has continued to work with Gosport, our local community and affiliates. Whilst Covid-19 prevented some of our events, I am delighted we’ve retained those close links.’

Captain Jo Deakin will take over HMS Sultan on June 28.

Capt Voyce says farewell to staff within the Defence School of Marine Engineering as he prepares to become the new head of Portsmouth Naval Base