Royal Navy officer to be made MBE for helping HMS Defender dodge Russian Black Sea onslaught

A ROYAL Navy officer who helped his warship dodge an onslaught by ‘hostile’ Russian warships and fighter-jets is to be made an MBE.

By Tom Cotterill
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 10:30 pm
Lieutenant Commander Nathan Geddes is among those named on the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his time serving on HMS Defender, including during the Carrier Strike Group deployment. He is pictured with his wife, Nicole.
Lieutenant Commander Nathan Geddes is among those named on the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his time serving on HMS Defender, including during the Carrier Strike Group deployment. He is pictured with his wife, Nicole.

Lieutenant Commander Nathan Geddes is among those named on the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his time serving on HMS Defender, including during the Carrier Strike Group deployment.

The 40-year-old was the Type 45 destroyer’s marine engineer officer, working on the ship during her global operations when she was swarmed by Russian forces in June 2021.

More than 20 Russian aircraft and two coastguard ships shadowed the £1bn destroyer while she was sailing near Crimea.

HMS Defender pictured at sea during her mission with the carrier strike group in 2021.

At the time, Moscow's defence ministry said a patrol ship fired warning shots and a jet dropped bombs in the path of HMS Defender as it sailed some 12 miles off Crimea's coast.

But the UK government rejected Russia's account of the incident and denied that any warning shots had been fired.

Now, Lt Cdr Geddes’ efforts to outmanoeuvre the hostile forces have been praised, with his citation remarking on the officer’s ‘positive impact of his professionalism, dynamic and inspiring leadership has been felt across UK defence’.

And for Nathan, receiving his MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours during her Platinum Jubilee added to his pride.

Pictured is Lt Cdr Amy Gilmore carrying out pre-flight checks on the Wildcat. She is to be made an MBE.

‘I feel overwhelmed to be recognised like this and I am absolutely thrilled,’ said the Portsmouth sailor.

‘To receive this honour during the Jubilee year makes it extra special. My family and friends will be so proud. They have sacrificed so much.

‘I left home at 16 to join the Royal Navy as an artificer apprentice and it’s been an amazing adventure.

‘The support of my family, wife Nicole and son throughout has been unbelievable and I feel extremely lucky to have them.’

Commodore Mel Robinson ADC, the Commander of the Maritime Reserves, is to be made a CBE for her work with leading the Royal Navy reserves

HMS Defender was on deployment last year, supporting the navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth during her maiden mission,

The deployment took Defender and its sailors to the Pacific and back in a period the citation said was ‘in the face of considerable operational constraints, and under acute political spotlight’.

Lt Cdr Geddes, from Scunthorpe but now living in Portsmouth, said the mission was the ‘highlight’ of his career so far.

He is among 23 personnel to be honoured in the list, which includes the head of the maritime reserves, Commodore Mel Robinson, who has been made a CBE.

Joining the Royal Navy in 1993, she was one of the first women to go to sea and the first female to command a Royal Navy warship.

Cdre Robinson is also the first woman to command a fighting arm supporting the Fleet.

Also honoured is Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, who is made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)

While Rear Admiral Iain Lower is also made a CB for his leadership during his 30-year career in the Royal Navy.

OBEs have been awarded to: Colonel Alistair Carns, Cdr Simon Cox, Cdr Paul Jamieson, Captain Graham Lovatt and Cdre Andrew Rose,

Those to be made an MBE this year include: WO1 Jason Bignell, Lt Cdr Richard Burns, Lt Cdr Jonathan Fletcher, Cdr Michael Forrester, Lt Cdr Amy Gilmore, WO1 Amanda Knight, Lt Cdr Steven Lovatt, Lieutenant Colonel Jon Ridley, Cdr Nicola Wallace, Lt Cdr Simon Henderson, Lt Thomas Horton, and Lt Cdr Nicholas Stratton.