Commander Carolyn Jones has been appointed the new Commanding Officer of Wales Royal Naval Reserve Unit, HMS Cambria, taking over from Commander Steve Fry.
Steve has been in charge of Wales’ Maritime Reserves since September 2015 and during his tenure he has had the privilege of leading HMS Cambria for Freedom parades through Swansea, his home town, and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Commander Steve has also overseen the construction, fitting out and habitation of the new facility for HMS Cambria in Cardiff Bay. He said, “Being able to influence some elements of the project and support my team, through the challenges of the new build has been very rewarding – something I will never forget. But most rewarding of all is seeing so many of the team develop and grow within the Royal Navy – that’s been the real joy!”.
Taking over the reins of HMS Cambria, Commander Carolyn has been in the Royal Navy since 1986 having joined HMS Raleigh as a Wren Radar Operator.
Commander Carolyn said, “I am honoured and delighted to take Command of HMS Cambria. This is a career highlight and I look forward to meeting the wider community and being part of the dedicated and professional Cambrian team.”
Commissioned in 1990, she entered Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and was in the first intake of females to be fully integrated into the Royal Navy. After initial sea training in HMS Bristol, followed by further training in HMS Sirius, she embarked on a long association with the Fleet Air Arm with appointments to Royal Naval Air Stations Culdrose in Cornwall and Portland in Dorset. As well as working with Flag Officer Naval Aviation and the Commando Helicopter Force at RNAS Yeovilton.
On the birth of her 4th son in 2004 Carolyn joined the Royal Naval Reserve as a Media Operations Specialisation. Immersing herself in the world of Royal Navy Media, she was involved in the Trafalgar 200 celebrations in 2005 and then as part of the Comms Team for the Centenary of Naval Aviation in 2009. On completion of this fascinating and varied project, she became the Press Officer RNAS Yeovilton. She then moved to the Fly Navy Heritage Trust as Development and Events Manager but a desire to do something operational saw her look to the Maritime Reserves for more fulfilling positions.
Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 2012 and mobilised to Bahrain, working in Media Comms with the Combined Maritime Forces. Returning to the UK in 2013, she undertook full-time roles in Media, Comms and Engagement. Promoted to Commander in 2017 she mobilised again, as the Strategic Media Advisor in the Caribbean for Operation Ruman, the UK’s response to the devastating hurricanes across several of the British Sovereign territories, in the region.
On her return she assumed the role of Engagement Team Leader in Navy Command Headquarters, Portsmouth, leading a small team delivering very high-profile Royal Navy events on behalf of the First Sea Lord. Concurrently, she was also privileged to lead the Media Operations Specialisation, a cadre of 100 Maritime Reserve Officers and Ratings specialising in delivering media and comms support to the Royal Navy. In 2019 she moved to the Maritime Reserves Headquarters co-ordinating Media, Comms and Engagement, a role she undertook for just a year before being selected to be the Commanding Officer HMS Cambria.
Married to Alun, she lives in Monmouth with her boys and Welsh Terrier, Duffy. An adoptee of the Welsh nation, she enjoys sailing in Pembrokeshire, watching rugby in Cardiff and admiring the views of The Skirrid and The Sugar Loaf from her walks in Monmouthshire.