First female sailor to take command of a frigate

Sarah West is first and foremost a Royal Navy Officer. She is emphatically not a woman in a man’s world. That she is the first woman to be given Command of one of the Navy’s major warships might be historically significant.

But to Lieutenant Commander West it is simply career progression. This year April, on promotion to Commander, she assumed command of HMS Portland, a Type 23 frigate.

It is a command she won on merit and in the face of tough competition. Her superior officers said that she showed “leadership, confidence, moral courage, sound judgement and exceptional people skills”.

She has demonstrated these qualities as Commanding Officer in a succession of Sandown Class mine hunters, namely HMS Ramsey, HMS Pembroke, HMS Penzance and HMS Shoreham.

“It is what I signed up for, Sailors should want to go to sea.”

She said.

„Portland is a fine ship and I am very much looking forward to taking Command. I have seen the world and I have loved every minute of my 16 years in the Service,“ said Lieutenant Commander Sarah West. 

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