Portsmouth sailors honoured by Queen for inspirational efforts in the Gulf

Warrant Officer 1 Alan Evans, left, with Lieutenant Commander Andy Brown
Warrant Officer 1 Alan Evans, left, with Lieutenant Commander Andy Brown
The new commanding officer of HMS Collingwood, Captain Rob Vitali. Picture: Keith Woodland/MoD

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INSPIRATIONAL leadership under pressure has earned top awards for two sailors from Portsmouth.

Lieutenant Commander Andy Brown and Warrant Officer 1 Alan Evans have been recognised for outstanding service during eight months on board HMS Chiddingfold in the Gulf.

I am absolutely delighted to be recognised in such a way and receive an MBE - I could not be more proud

Lieutenant Commander Andy Brown

Lt Cdr Brown, the ship’s commanding officer, has been awarded the MBE while WO1Evans, the marine engineer officer on board, received a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

The pair served on board Chiddingfold – a Portsmouth-based minehunter – between December 2014 and July 2015 while she was operating out of Bahrain.

Lt Cdr Brown, 41, played a key role in leading the ship’s company in sapping temperatures and testing sea conditions.

He said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to have been recognised in such a way and receive an MBE – I could not be more proud. 

‘Although a personal award, all that I have achieved has been enabled through the unwavering support of my family and the professionalism and dedication of the officers and ratings of the Royal Navy, most recently on board HMS Chiddingfold during a challenging Gulf deployment.’

His citation says his most impressive achievement came during a period of significant operational activity characterised by uncertainty resulting from the outbreak of the crisis in Yemen.

The ship was part of an international element deployed more than 2,000 nautical miles from the normal operating area to protect the area from mines.

‘Due to his inspiring leadership and personal example, his ship’s company – working in arduous, cramped and hot conditions for extended periods – were undaunted by risk, uncertainty and an ever-present threat,’ the citation said.

As the head of the marine engineering department on board, WO1 Evans, 40, ensured Chiddingfold was kept in tip-top condition.

His citation says: ‘He overcame complex engineering challenges to ensure the ship maintained its operational capability, upholding the UK’s reputation among coalition allies.’

He said: ‘I was surprised and honoured to receive this award in recognition of my achievements on HMS Chiddingfold.

‘Every member of the marine engineering department contributed to its success and I had the good fortune to be the head of that exemplary department.’