When Lieutenant Commander Hugh Maddison joined the Royal Navy in 2001 as a mechanical engineer he never thought that almost two decades later he would be working in a country 17,000 kilometres away. He also never expected to bump into a fellow Brit, someone he first met 20 years ago, in the corridor of Campbell Park offices.
But that is exactly what happened when he took up a two year posting working with the Royal Australian Navy’s Safety and Environment Policy Coordination team in Canberra.
LCDR Adam Cooper, currently Personal Staff Officer to Head Navy Engineering, and LCDR Maddison were both sponsored by the Royal Navy under the Engineering Sponsorship Scheme and studied together at Southampton University from 1998 to 2001.
“We also both served in HMS Illustrious from 2004 to 2006,” LCDR Cooper recalled.
LCDR Cooper transferred to the Royal Australian Navy in 2012.
So far LCDR Maddison’s impression of the RAN has been “very welcoming with a good balance of professionalism and humour.”
“There are many similarities between the ways our Navies operate, even if we sometimes describe them in different ways,” he said.
LCDR Maddison’s last posting before heading to Australia was as the Deputy Staff Marine Engineer Officer for Commander Portsmouth Flotilla (COMPORFLOT), where he provided guidance, leadership, advice and direction to the MEOs at sea in the frigates, destroyers and minor war vessels of the flotilla. COMPORFLOT comprises more than half the surface fleet of the Royal Navy, and is the Force Generating Authority and the Delivery Duty Holder for all Portsmouth-based warships.
The RAN expects this knowledge and experience will be of great benefit within the Navy Safety and Environment team, where LCDR Maddison will be called upon to provide input into the development and sustainment of policy and procedural guidance in relation to the application of safety and environment case methodologies to the lifecycle management of Navy capabilities.
Since joining the Royal Navy, LCDR Maddison worked as a marine engineering officer on many of the RN’s HM Ships, including Campbelltown, Cardiff, Invincible, Illustrious as well as Argyll and Portland.
His service to date has included three deployments, however this time LCDR Maddison is looking forward to sharing the experience with his wife and three children who also moved to Australia.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us all to share a new and exciting experience together,” he said.
His one piece of advice for anyone finishing their degree and hoping for a similar experience is to “Embrace the opportunities that present themselves – there may be challenges and setbacks along the way, but there are some amazing experiences to be had.”