Naval Career

The Prince Andrew joined the Royal Navy in 1979 on a short service commission as a Seaman Officer subspecialising as a Pilot.

Midshipman Prince Andrew entered Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth and undertook the full range of initial professional training. Additionally Prince Andrew also completed the Royal Marine Commando course with the Young Officer’s batch of 1979 at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, for which he received his Green Beret.

Midshipman Prince Andrew passed out of BRNC Dartmouth in front of The Queen at Lord High Admiral’s Divisions in April 1980.

HRH then undertook initial fixed wing flying training within the Royal Navy Elementary Flying Training Squadron based at Royal Air Force at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire, flying Bulldog aircraft from RAF Topcliffe.

Receving his 'wings' from The Duke of Edinburgh, 1981 © PA

Receiving his ‘wings’ from The Duke of Edinburgh, 1981 © PA


Sub Lieutenant Prince Andrew’s helicopter flying training was conducted at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose, Cornwall, where he initially learnt to fly the Gazelle helicopter in 705 Naval Air Squadron (NAS). In April 1981, HRH was presented with his ‘Wings’ and the award for the best pilot by The Duke of Edinburgh. Sub Lieutenant Prince Andrew then converted onto the Sea King helicopter, completing advanced and operational flying training with 706 NAS, before joining his first front-line unit: 820 NAS embarked in HMS INVINCIBLE.

On 5th April 1982, HMS INVINCIBLE sailed as part
of the Task Group to the South Atlantic to regain the Falkland Islands. Sub
Lieutenant Prince Andrew embarked along with his squadron, 820 NAS

Royal Navy Merlin Helicopter © PA

Royal Navy Merlin Helicopter © PA

Throughout the conflict Prince Andrew, alongside his fellow aviators, flew missions including: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), inter-ship Helicopter Delivery (HDS), Search and Rescue (SAR) and casualty evacuation. HMS INVINCIBLE returned to Portsmouth Naval Base on the 17th September 1982, and was met by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

Sub Lieutenant Prince Andrew completed his first front line tour with 820 NAS in July 1983, and was appointed to 702 NAS at RNAS Portland, Dorset, to convert to the Lynx helicopter. In May 1984, Lieutenant Prince Andrew joined 815 NAS, where he served as the Flight Pilot in the Type 22 Frigate HMS BRAZEN until March 1986. Prince Andrew was appointed a personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen in 1984.

On the occasion of his wedding in 1986, The Prince Andrew was created The Duke of York. In 1987, after completing the Lieutenant’s Greenwich Course and Helicopter Warfare Instructors (HWI) Course, Lieutenant The Duke of York returned to 702 NAS as staff Helicopter Warfare Instructor.

The Duke Visits RNAS Culdrose

The Duke Visits RNAS Culdrose

In May 1988, HRH joined the Type 42 Destroyer HMS EDINBURGH as an Officer of the Watch, in order to earn his Watchkeeping and Ocean Navigation Certificates. During the year’s seagoing appointment, which included a Far East and Australia deployment, Lieutenant The Duke of York was awarded his Certificates.

In September 1989, HRH once again returned to RNAS Portland to form HMS CAMPBELTOWN Flight, joining 829 NAS where he served as Flight Commander HMS CAMPBELTOWN until the Autumn of 1991.

Lieutentant Commander The Duke of York was appointed to the Army Command and Staff Course at Camberley. Following the Staff Course Lt Cdr The Duke of York was selected to command the Hunt Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel HMS COTTESMORE. Whilst in Command HMS COTTESMORE conducted the full range of duties performed by the MCMV force and as a part of the RN high readiness MCMV force deployed around Europe and into the Mediterranean. HRH completed his time in command in November 1994.

Lieutentant Commander The Duke of York then returned to flying duties with a refresher course at 702 NAS before taking up the appointment as Senior Pilot of 815 NAS at RNAS Portland, where he served until October 1996.

The Duke in HMS Dauntless © PA

The Duke in HMS Dauntless © PA

HRH was then appointed to the Ministry of Defence in January 1997 as a Staff Officer in the Directorate of Naval Operations, with specific responsibility for Frigate and Destroyer aviation. Promoted Commander in 1999, Commander The Duke of York took up an appointment within the Naval Staff, with responsiblility for Naval Diplomacy with the Rest of the World. HRH concluded this appointment in April 2001 before departing from active service with the Royal Navy at the end of July 2001.

In July 2005, The Duke was promoted Captain and was appointed Commodore in Chief of the Fleet Air Arm in 2006. In February 2010, HRH was promoted to Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy. In February 2015, The Duke was promoted to Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy.

Military Timeline


1979–1981 Midshipman
Britannia Royal Naval College
Flying Training

1981–1984 Sub Lieutenant
Pilot, 820 NAS in HMS INVINCIBLE (Falkland Islands)

1984–1992 Lieutenant
Pilot, 815 NAS in HMS BRAZEN
Helicopter Warfare Instructor, 702 NAS at RNAS Culdrose
Flight Commander, 829 NAS in HMS CAMPBELTOWN

1992–1999 Lieutenant Commander
Commanding Officer, HMS COTTESMORE
Senior Pilot, 815 NAS at RNAS Portland
Directorate of Naval Operations
Ministry of Defence

1999–2005 Commander
Diplomacy Section of the Naval Staff

2005–2010 Captain

2010 Rear Admiral

2015 Vice Admiral

Comments are closed