Farewell to HMS Calliope’s most senior sailor

The head of the Maritime Reserves has presented HMS Calliope’s most senior sailor, Warrant Officer 1 Violet Andrew, with Certificate of Valediction to mark her retirement from the RNR after 37 years of dedicated service.

WO1 Andrew was presented with her award by Commodore Martin Quinn ADC RNR, Commander Maritime Reserves.

Commodore Quinn was visiting HMS Calliope to see how the North East’s Reservists were making the most of their newly refurbished facility, presenting him with a great opportunity to formally thank Warrant Officer Andrew for her many years of service.

The Certificate of Valediction is the Royal Navy’s way of formally bidding farewell and thanking its sailors when they leave the service.

Warrant Officer Andrew joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service as a Reservist in August 1979 – well before many of today’s serving reservists were born! Following completion of her initial training, she joined the Degaussing Branch.

Her branch played a key role in ensuring the fleet was safe for operations by removing or eliminating the magnetic field around the hulls of ships, which would otherwise activate mines.

Throughout my time in the Reserves, I have met many people, been to many places and served on different ships, along with learning to sail and ski. I can thoroughly recommend a career in the Maritime Reserves as a rewarding use of time and a wonderful way of meeting people and gaining extraordinary experiences.

Warrant Officer Andrew

In 1992, she transferred to the Royal Naval Reserve Medical Branch, quickly gaining the experience and skills required of a Medical Support Assistant.

In her life, apart from raising a family, in this period Warrant Officer Andrew trained as professional nurse, so she then transferred across to Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) as a Reserve Nurse.

Since then, Warrant Officer Andrew has achieved many “firsts” including:

  • First QARNNS Reservist to achieve the rank of Warrant Officer 1;
  • First female Combined Mess President at HMS Calliope;
  • First Reservist Specialist Ophthalmology Nurse Advisor for the Naval Service.

Warrant Officer Andrew said: “being appointed as a Specialist Ophthalmic Nurse Advisor was an honour for me as it gave me the chance to have an input on policy issues and allowed me to mentor individuals on careers in Ophthalmic nursing.”

Warrant Officer Andrew has made the most of her time in the Maritime Reserves, serving in live exercises at sea and on land – she has deployed to Cyprus to support force protection training no less than 6 times.

She has also managed the delivery of numerous first aid training courses in unit, ensuring HMS Calliope’s Reservists were confident to use vital life-saving skills at anytime and anywhere.

Warrant Officer Andrew added: "Throughout my time in the Reserves, I have met many people, been to many places and served on different ships, along with learning to sail and ski.

"I can thoroughly recommend a career in the Maritime Reserves as a rewarding use of time and a wonderful way of meeting people and gaining extraordinary experiences!”

The Commanding Officer of HMS Calliope, Commander Ian Berry MBE RD RNR said: “We wish Warrant Officer Andrew all the best. She has been a cornerstone of the unit for many years and will be missed; we are grateful for all she has done. We look forward to welcoming her back as a member of our extended family.”

The Commander Maritime Reserves, Commodore Martin Quinn ADC RNR said: “I am privileged to present this award to Warrant Officer 1 Andrew.

"She has clearly made the most of her time in the Naval Service, has risen to the very top of her profession and is a great example of what can be achieved as a Reservist. I would like to thank her for her service and wish her a very peaceful and happy retirement.”