Officer promoted on Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier

A naval officer has received his first promotion on board the Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier after setting sail at the beginning of September.

SLt James Owen gains promotion in a presentation from Captain Stephen Higham OBE RN on board HMS Prince of Wales.
SLt James Owen gains promotion in a presentation from Captain Stephen Higham OBE RN on board HMS Prince of Wales.

Air Engineering Officer Midshipman James Owen, 22, sailed from Portsmouth on the 65,000 tonne HMS Prince of Wales to fulfil the next stage in his training, having commissioned as a Naval Officer from Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

Becoming eligible for promotion while on board, James, from Stafford, was recently presented with his new rank slide by the Commanding Officer Captain Stephen Higham OBE, and has now assumed the rank of Sub Lieutenant.

The Portsmouth-based Queen Elizabeth class carrier is currently preparing for operations in the North Sea having recently qualified the F35 Lightning II Jets of 207 Squadron RAF for carrier operations.

With a strong sense of patriotism James’ Royal Navy journey started as a teenager.

He said he joined the Armed Forces due to “a strong interest in engineering combined with a love for Queen and country".

"When I was 16 I took my Admiralty Interview Board and signed the contract to be on the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme,” said James.

James joined HMS Prince of Wales to complete the next stage in his Phase 2 training en route to becoming a qualified Air Engineering Officer.

He said: “We’re conducting Common Fleet time, acquainting with the HMS Prince of Wales Air Engineering Department and embarked squadrons in order to gain meaningful knowledge and experience in order to give context to our Phase 2 training at HMS Sultan.”

It’s not all hard work for Sub Lt Owen however, who said there are some highlights: “The standard of food provided by the galley is truly exceptional, the countless hours of effort put in by the Royal Navy chefs is second to none," he said.

"The simple things like freshly baked bread or theme nights bring joy to everyone’s day.”

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