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Double Promotion

Husband and wife Royal Navy officers Nick and Fran Allen are the perfect example of equality.

The couple met as trainee officers at Britannia Royal Naval College in 2011, commissioned together, married in 2016, and will now be promoted together to become lieutenant commanders in the autumn.

Both also serve at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. He is an anti-submarine warfare helicopter pilot with 820 Naval Air Squadron while she is a Meteorological Officer with a specialism in warfare training.

They take it in turns to be the primary carer of the two children, boys aged two and four, so the other can deploy to sea.

Lieutenant Fran Allen, 32, said: “I think it’s really great that we’ve both reached the stage in our careers where we are promoted at the same time – it shows that there really is no difference between being a man or a woman in the Royal Navy.”

Lieutenant Nick Allen, 36, said: “They career-manage us so we alternate who is the primary carer for the children and which of us is deployable every two years. In the navy of course, you have to be prepared for long periods at sea. The other partner still has to work full-time as well.

“I’ve just done the last two years as the carer while I was working as an instructor, which is not a deployable position, and now I’ve joined 820 squadron so I can go to sea again while Fran has been away around the world.”

820 Naval Air Squadron is the dedicated squadron which protects the UK’s aircraft carriers.

Fran added: “Although we are both serving naval officers, to be honest I don’t think we are any different to any other two-parent working family. It’s just that one of us goes away for some months of the year.”

It was announced in a signal at the start of the year that the pair will now step up in rank to become lieutenant commander, known in the navy as a ‘two-and-a-half’ due to the number of stripes on their epaulettes.

Picture: Royal Navy/LPhot Barry Swainsbury
Source: Royal Navy