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Commanding Officer

Captain C F Simmons RFA Master Mariner, MBA (Defence), p.s.c.j
Captain C F Simmons RFA Master Mariner, MBA (Defence), p.s.c.j

Captain C F Simmons RFA Master Mariner, MBA (Defence), p.s.c.j

Captain Charles Simmons was born in Somerset, but has lived most of his life in Kent.  Educated at the Archbishop’s School in Canterbury, he joined the RFA as a Cadet in 1976, seeing early service in the ‘O’ and ‘Ness’ Classes. His professional studies were undertaken at the Merchant Navy College in Greenhithe, and later at Warsash College of Nautical Studies in Southampton, becoming a Master Mariner in 1987.

Following appointment to all classes of RFA through the junior ranks, he qualified as Frigate Navigating Officer before attending the Lieutenants’ Greenwich Staff Course.  After a period of service on HMS Cumberland he was formally promoted to First Officer in March 1994.  Several appointments as Operations Officer followed, and with his RFA Warfare/ Executive background, undertook duty as the first RFA Staff Officer to Commodore Amphibious Warfare in 1993, and in 1995, to Commodore RFA with responsibility for Flotilla Operational Standards leading the development of the inaugural Operational Management Plan and the Capability Management System for the Flotilla.

After a subsequent tour as Executive Officer on RFA Sea Crusader, he was promoted Chief Officer in December 1997, serving on LSL, Leaf, Rover, Argus and Fort George.  In 2000, he was selected for Joint Services Command and Staff College, and afterwards appointed to the Ministry of Defence as RFA Maritime desk Officer to the Director of Naval Operations.  Here he led for the Directorate in cross-Government co-ordinated Crisis Management exercises through Cabinet Office, steered the further development of Maritime Trade Operations and its operational employment during live operations in the Gulf.  Having assisted in the re-organisation of the ‘Ds of O’ into a Joint Directorate, he served during OP TELIC as part of the principal operations advisory team to both Single Service and Joint Chiefs on Maritime Issues at the Military Strategic interface.

Following his spell in ‘Town’, Charles was seconded to the scoping stage of the visionary RFA Future Development Programme (now PROJECT DARWIN), before further sea appointment to RFA Bayleaf deployed in the Arabian Gulf.  He was promoted to Captain in August 2004 and has commanded RFA Brambleleaf, as ‘Owner’ Captain to 2006, RFA Argus, Fort Austin and Fort Victoria. Following a year at Cranfield University School of Management he became a Master in Business Administration (Defence) in September 2008 and assumed Command of as ‘Owner’ Captain of RFA Bayleaf in February 2009.

Charles lives with his wife, Sharon, in a small North Devon village, having finally ‘escaped to the country’ – fulfilling a life-long dream.  He is competent at DIY, enjoys most sports that involve a ball, particularly football, golf (at which he remains undistinguished) and bowls.  To relax he enjoys sea-angling and gardening.