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New Commanding Officer at Fife-based HMS Scotia celebrates ‘career ambition realised’

HMS Scotia, the Fife-based Royal Naval Reserve Unit, has a new Commanding Officer at the helm.

A socially distanced ceremony saw Commander Laura Wellington take command of the 132-strong unit, which has roots in the region going back to 1958.

Although many of the members could not physically be there because of Covid restrictions, the unit used technology so Reservists could witness the ceremony.

HMS Scotia is the principal Royal Naval Reserve unit for the entire east of Scotland.

Based within MOD Caledonia in Rosyth, Reservists are recruited and trained from across Edinburgh, Fife and east central Scotland and maintain a satellite unit, Tay Division in Dundee, which serves areas around Dundee, Perth and Aberdeen.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to command HMS Scotia,” Commander Wellington said.

“To be selected for command is a career’s ambition realised and an absolute privilege.

“Having already worked with some of the ship’s company, but also seen the well-publicised achievements of many of them, I’m very much looking forward to being part of this already successful team.”

Outgoing Commander Tom Knowles and new Commander Laura Wellington during the handover ceremony.

Commander Wellington has enjoyed a varied military career, initially joining the Territorial Army aged 17 as a soldier in the Royal Signals.

In 2002 she joined the Regular Army, attending Sandhurst, before being commissioned into the Royal Logistics Corps.

She took command of a Transport Troop and served in Iraq during Operation Telic, later going on to train to specialise in the storage and maintenance of Land Service Ammunition and in Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

Operational deployments followed, including Iraq once again where she ran the Ammunition Supply Point at Basra Air Station, and later in Afghanistan where she was responsible for the ammunition supply chain in Kandahar.

It was in 2009, when Commander Wellington, looking for a new challenge, transferred to the Royal Navy.

She initially joined HMS Ocean before going on to serve with HMS Liverpool and then HMS Argyll as Logistics Officer where she was deployed to the Northern Arabian Gulf.

In May 2018 she retired from regular service but transferred to the Royal Naval Reserves, joining HMS Dalriada as Executive Officer.

Outgoing Commanding Officer, Tom Knowles, who has been in charge since September 2016, said he was leaving HMS Scotia in safe hands.

He commented: “I leave with a heavy heart as I will never have the privilege of leading such a fine body of men and women again.

“But, I know that HMS Scotia is in a strong place – we have managed to achieve so much during lockdown, including a full pivot to virtual Drill Nights, even while I have been mobilised into Naval Command Headquarters to provide support to the Royal Navy’s Covid response.

“Assuming command of HMS Scotia was one of the proudest moments in my military career.

“Over the last four years I have been consistently impressed with the drive, determination and resilience of my people – both Reserve and Regular.”

“I wish every success to HMS Scotia over the coming months and years and will fondly look back on these four years as incredibly special.”

Source: The