Kettering Royal Navy officer recognised with special award

Dave (right) received his award from Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Tony Radakin CB, on board Lord Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory in Portsmouth Naval Base
Dave (right) received his award from Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Tony Radakin CB, on board Lord Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory in Portsmouth Naval Base

A Kettering warrant officer has been awarded a meritorious service medal (MSM) in recognition of his service in the Royal Navy.

Warrant Officer Dave Nichols, 55, grew up in Kettering and joined the Royal Navy at HMS Fisgard near Plymouth in September 1980, after attending Kettering Boys School.

During his time, he has served on operations and has also been presented with the South Atlantic Medal for his service during the Falklands War and in the Middle East where he was awarded the Op Telic medal for his time in Iraq in 2003.

Dave has travelled far during his time, but his best and most memorable experience was being part of the Royal Navy’s largest ever aircraft carrier building programme.

"Working as part of the aviation design and acceptance team on the new aircraft carriers and being on board when HMS Queen Elizabeth first sailed from Rosyth, had special significance for me, and only days later witnessing the first ever helicopter landings on the flight deck,” said Dave.

"It was the culmination, not just of the three years on that particular job, but topped my experiences, gained throughout all my service working on many different aircraft types that I’ve operated on various ships, dating back to 1982 when I first served on HMS Illustrious as an aircraft maintainer, on Sea King helicopters with 814 Naval Air Squadron."

Dave received his MSM from Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Tony Radakin CB, on board Lord Nelson’s Flagship HMS Victory in Portsmouth Naval Base.

Dave said: "This has come as a complete surprise to have been nominated for the MSM, as I was close to completing my Naval Service and was turning my eye to future prospects."

When not working, Dave enjoys cycling and walking – ideally in the Lake District or Wales mountains.

He is married to Linda and has three daughters 23-year-old Lucy, Amy, aged 22, and Claire, 19.

Dave lives in West Cornwall near where he was stationed at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

To be awarded the MSM, an individual must have “good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout.”

Other key qualifications are at least 20 years’ service and involvement with charities or social organisations outside the military.