Former HMS Queen Elizabeth CO becomes Royal Navy’s new Fleet Commander

Several months after returning the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier from F-35B trials off the US coast, the ship’s commanding officer took up the new role of the Royal Navy Fleet Commander.

The March 5 ceremony took place in Portsmouth on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, which Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd commanded from May 2016 to December 2018.

Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd takes up the role from outgoing Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Ben Key who is to become the Chief of Joint Operations at PJHQ, Northwood.

VAdm Kyd said: “It is a great honor to take command of the fleet on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, having been privileged enough to lead her through her first sea and flight trials.

“This aircraft carrier is just one part of a growing fleet that shows our determination to keep Britain safe in an ever more complex and uncertain world.

“Our sailors and Royal Marines are deployed on operations in all corners of the globe.”

VAdm Kyd joined the Royal Navy in 1985 as a Seaman Officer. His early years were spent at sea as a bridge watchkeeper, navigator and principal warfare officer in various ships from patrol vessels to aircraft carriers.

During this time he was deployed on operations in the Gulf, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, the Caribbean, Baltic, Indian Ocean and wider Atlantic.

Commands at various ranks have included the Type 23 frigate HMS Monmouth, strike carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious, and most recently HMS Queen Elizabeth.

VAdm Key, who had been in the role of Fleet Commander for three years, bid farewell to staff at Navy Command Headquarters in Portsmouth before the supersession ceremony on Tuesday.

He said: “When I reflect on what we have achieved in three years it has been a phenomenal journey.

“I have had the joy and privilege of commanding the five arms of the Naval Service, supported by the civilians who glue us all together behind the scenes.

“We have an awful lot to be proud of, with ships, submarines and people deployed around the world on operations.”

Photo: Vice Admiral Benjamin Key hands over the role of Fleet Commander to Rear Admiral Jeremy Kyd on board HMS Queen Elizabeth on March 5, 2019. Photo: Royal Navy