Each year, the Collingwood Officers' Association present a Naval Sword to the Junior Officer on the staff or under training at HMS Collingwood who shows the greatest leadership potential.

OA Sword - 2020

Lieutenant Harriet Delbridge Royal Navy - Citation

Meticulous, innovative and extremely hardworking, Lt Harriet Delbridge, the CO’s Executive Assistant (EA), has consistently delivered a truly exceptional service to the CO, the Heads of Departments and the wider Collingwood community.  The year has been relentless with several significant events making it much more than "business as usual" within CWD.

The CO was gapped for 4 months in 2019 and she provided superb additional support to the XO with expert advice on significant personnel issues.  Her talent in this area was recognised and resulted in Commodore Operational Training (COMOT) handpicking her to be a member of an extremely delicate Ship’s Investigation that required sensitivity and discretion; she did not miss a beat on both counts. She drives efficiency amongst the other Lts, as well as the Lt Cdr cohort of DHODs for the benefit of CWD business.

Eloquent and straight talking, she is confident in her own ability and takes every opportunity to demonstrate and develop her already highly tuned leadership skills; on numerous occasions she has voluntarily acted as Directing Staff on Phase 2 trainee Character and Leadership exercises, giving clear and unequivocal guidance to very junior officers and ratings in a compassionate and comprehensible manner. The Junior Officers approach her for advice, not only on legal work but on wider logistic and CWD issues. She is always first to volunteer her Services to help her fellow Service people and is Secretary to the Wardroom Committee. Her contribution and leadership spreads wider than CWD where she is also an active Trustee of the RNRMC and manages the RN Squash team. 

Most significantly, it has been during the COVID-19 pandemic that Lt Delbridge’s natural and remarkably mature leadership has come to the fore. Working long hours and every weekend for many weeks on the trot, not for any personal gain, but because it was the right thing to do, she remains a key member of the Establishment’s response to the virus. Very much an equal member of the CO’s Command Planning Group alongside the Cdr level HODs, she has become in effect the Military Assistant to the CO, rather than purely an EA, and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the XO, assisting him in coordinating staff effort and response planning. When we were directed to stand-up a COVID Support Force (CSF) Battalion at notice during the peak of the crisis, she again not only volunteered with the planning but also put herself forward to lead a CSF Company to support the NHS or Local Govt frontlines.  Without her, HMS Collingwood and the Maritime Warfare School response to the pandemic would have lacked an edge that was so critical in our success in dealing with the crisis thus far.

She is clearly a force to be reckoned with; she is an exemplary role model  of good character, selfless behaviour and strong leadership to the many officer and rating trainees and deserves recognition.

Lt Harriet Delbridge is presented with the OA sword by Captain John McGrath RN Rtd, Chairman of the Officers' Association, at a special socially distanced ceremony at HMS COLLINGWOOD on 24 July 2020.

The 2020 sword was kindly donated by Mrs G Leighton-Goodall.