Royal Navy bids farewell to trio of long-serving officers during emotional service in Fareham

A TRIO of big figures in the Royal Navy have given their final salute as their retired from the service on the same day.

By Tom Cotterill
Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:12 pm

Sailors at HMS Collingwood lined the street’s of the Fareham naval establishment to say good by to Commander Mark Walker, Surgeon Commander (Dentist) Julie Skelley and Reverend Mike Meachin.

The trio have all served at Collingwood for the past two years and are now heading to pastures new.

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Commander Mark Walker, centre, executive officer at HMS Collingwood, pictured leaving the base for the final time with Surgeon Commander (Dentist) Julie Skelley, right ,and Reverend Mike Meachin, left. Photo: Keith Woodland

Captain Catherine Jordan, the base’s commanding officer, said: ‘You have all given so much to the Royal Navy and to HMS Collingwood, and I thank each of you for your dedication and commitment. I wish each of you and your families all the best for a safe, happy and healthy future. ‘

Commander Walker left the service after 41 years. A pilot by trade, he was surprised to see a model helicopter display had been arranged to mark his farewell.

He said: ‘I had absolutely no idea what would happen today but it has been amazing, thank you all.’

Surgeon Commander Skelley has served at HMS Collingwood several times and leaves the navy after 30 years.

Commander Mark Walker, a pilot by trade, pictured at a model helicopter display at HMS Collingwood during his retirement celebration.Photo: Keith Woodland

Planning on a quiet retirement, she said: ‘It’s been a fabulous 30 years, it’s gone so quickly. I have seen so much of the world. Thank you all very much.’

Reverend Mike Meachin is leaving after an illustrious career of almost 40 years – with 24 as a chaplain – has seen him serve with all fighting arms and with all branches of the Royal Navy.

He is now looking forward to being part of a team at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham where he will continue to support military people and their families .

On leaving he said: ‘I’ve had a wondeful career. I’ve enjoyed meeting people. I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of Claire (my wife).’

The trio were escorted from the base’s HQ down Collingwood’s main road.

Members of the ship’s company gave three cheers as three retirees marched passed.

A small presentation of gifts took place in the wardroom gardens, under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

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