HE IS the Royal Navy’s longest-serving weapons engineering rating.
But after 42 years and seven months in the Senior Service, Warrant Officer George Boardman has finally called it a day on his extraordinary naval career.
His achievement was celebrated during a special retirement service on the Royal Navy’s oldest commissioned warship, HMS Victory, and attended by the fleet’s most senior naval officer in the weapons engineering branch, Commodore Jim Higham.
Veteran sailor WO1 Boardman first joined the navy in September of 1976 as a junior engineering mechanic.
Since then he has served on ships across the fleet, including Leander-class frigate HMS Juno, Type 82 destroyer HMS Bristol, Type 42 destroyer HMS Newcastle, Type 23 frigates HMS Sutherland and HMS Richmond as well as a handful of minhunters and shore bases, ranging from HMS Collingwood and the Fraser Gunnery Range, to Fort Southwick Transmitter Station and the Gibraltar Maritime Data Centre.
During his career - which notched up more years than the Senior Service’s most acclaimed hero, Admiral Lord Nelson - he was also called upon to become the regimental quartermaster sergeant, assigned to Iraq during Operation Telic in 2007.
WO1 Boardman’s son, Liam – who followed in his footsteps, becoming a clearance diver with Fleet Diving Unit 1 - was incredibly proud of his dad’s achievement
Speaking of his dad’s service, Liam said: ‘I am proud of his achievement, it’s good to see the commitment he’s given and what the Royal Navy has given back to him.’
Both WO1 Boardman and his son have served under the command of Captain Roger
Readwin who was also present for the valedictory ceremony on Victory.
Capt Readwin said: ‘I had the privilege of serving with George as commanding officer of HMS Sutherland. George was instrumental in delivering the operational capability of that ship.
‘In live operations off Libya, George’s calm demeanour was exactly what we needed. What an absolute privilege to be here today at his retirement ceremony.
‘It’s lovely to see the family tradition continuing in his son Liam and I’d like to thank them all for their support and dedication during his 43-year career.’
WO1 Boardman said his time in the navy was unforgettable and added: ‘When I joined the Royal Navy they said they that I was joining a family – the naval family goes on. I am leaving the service, but I will never ever leave that naval family.’