OA Sword – 2013

Lt Commader Nigel Griffiths QGM Royal Navy – Citation

Lieutenant Commander Nigel Griffiths was selected to take over as First Lieutenant last summer on the retirement of the previous incumbent. Commodore’s Orders states that the appointment as First Lieutenant should be given to ‘the most senior Lieutenant Commander in HMS COLLINGWOOD with functional authority over all other Lieutenant Commanders’. However, words alone do not generate respect; respect has to be earned. Lieutenant Commander Nigel Griffiths has built a reputation which has without doubt earned him considerable respect across the establishment in his first year in post.

It is difficult to comprehend the sheer volume and diversity of work which funnels through the office of the First Lieutenant. Every COLLTEM, Shortcast, Longcast and each copy of Daily Orders has to be staffed to a relentlessly demanding schedule together with function requests for each event inside the wire. Through personal drive and networking, he has built consensus across a wide range of lodger units and training groups, each of which have their own targets and an eclectic mix of outputs.

Since moving across from Warfare Training Group he has seen every other officer within the Executive Department change, from XO to OiC RN Police. Lieutenant Commander Nigel Griffiths has been the rock of continuity around which the manning tides have ebbed and flowed. His knowledge of establishment business and, above all, the people who make the site tick, has ensured continued delivery of output and maintained the high reputation for which HMS COLLINGWOOD is known. The First Sea Lord’s Conference, Ceremonial Divisions, Remembrance Day and SOOTAXes by helicopter have all required close coordination of activity across contractual and organisational boundaries.

Photo of Lt Cdr Nigel Griffiths being presented with the OA sword by OA Chairman Cdre Adrian Whyntie, and Mike Covington, the nephew of Cdr R Covington who kindly donated his sword
Lt Cdr Nigel Griffiths is presented with the OA sword by OA Chairman Cdre Adrian Whyntie, and Mike Covington, the nephew of Cdr R Covington who kindly donated his sword

Added to his responsibilities as First Lieutenant he is also the State Ceremonial Officer. In this role he is required to represent the service in planning all major state and royal events where he has to be the authority on naval aspects of drill and uniform. While much of this work is pre-planned, he was recently asked to lead the RN contingent for the funeral of Baroness Thatcher, requiring him to cut short his Easter leave to form, equip and train a cadre of naval personnel. The significant volume of positive feedback received for that parade from many well-placed authorities was again down to his strong personal leadership and outstanding communication skill. He made sure that every sailor who took part in the parade had a chance to reflect on their role, and each of them returned to their parent unit stronger for the experience.

Despite a job which leaves little space for personal time, he still manages to find time and energy to maintain a very high level of fitness. His is one of the first names inked in when the Field Gun team sheet is prepared and he has run for the A Crew this year.

All of this would be exceptional performance if delivered by any Lieutenant Commander. When you add the fact the Nigel Griffiths is a substantive Lieutenant working in the acting rank you realise just how powerful and compelling he is as a leader. The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is not awarded to those who stand back; Nigel Griffiths has never been one for standing back. For his commitment and unflinching determination, to do the right thing, every time, he is nominated very strongly for the award of the Officers’ Association Sword 2013.