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Carolyn Stait

Carolyn Stait
Born (1957-04-14) 14 April 1957
Birmingham, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1975 - 2007
Rank Commodore
Commands held HMNB Clyde
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Commodore Carolyn J Stait CBE (born 1957)[1] is a retired officer of the Royal Navy, and was from 2004 to 2007 the first woman to command a Naval Base in Britain.[2] As Commander of HMNB Clyde in Scotland, the home of the UK's nuclear deterrent at the Faslane Naval Base,[1][3] Stait was the first woman to be selectively promoted to the rank of Commodore in direct competition with male officers: no woman has held a higher rank in the Royal Navy to date.[4]

Personal life

Stait was born in Birmingham, the daughter of physicist Harold Stait and Kathleen (née Hooper). She attended King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls,[5] leaving in 1975 with four A Levels.[6] She joined the Navy intending to use the career as a route into the diplomatic service, later embracing a lifetime Naval career instead.[4] In interviews during 2004 Stait said that she had a boyfriend who worked as an independent travel writer.[6]


Stait began her Naval career in 1975 as a Cadet Wren, working as a weapons analyst[6] at the Culdrose facility in Cornwall.[7] She passed out of officer training at the Britannia Royal Naval College in 1977 and was appointed a Probationary Third Officer (Sub-Lieutenant) on 26 July, taking up a post as an Admiral's PA. Her rank was confirmed on 26 April 1978.[4][8] Stait was promoted Second Officer (Lieutenant) on 1 April 1980,[9] and proceeded to posts in the Ministry of Defence and as Flag Lieutenant in Gibraltar.[4][7] She was promoted First Officer (Lieutenant Commander) on 1 April 1988,[10] before attending the Staff Course in 1989.[7] She was promoted Commander in 1995 [7] and spent a first two-year period at Faslane as the Executive Officer of HMS Neptune at HMNB Clyde. She was promoted Captain on 31 December 1998,and appointed Personal Staff Officer to the Second Sea Lord in HMNB Portsmouth.[11] In the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours Stait was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire.[7] Later she was appointed Deputy Director of Naval Manning from where she was promoted to Commodore on 22 June 2004,[12] before returning to Faslane as Base Commander.[1] Stait stood down as Base Commander at Faslane in autumn 2007; and was succeeded by Commodore Christopher Hockley. She was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year's Honours List.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Navy base chief sets new course". BBC News. 23 June 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Naval base appoints female chief". BBC News. 26 April 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Motherhood stalls military careers, says former Navy chief". People Management. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d Burnside, Anna (15 August 2004). "The high-flying wren who has gone nuclear". The Times. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Old Girls". King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c McGinty, Stephen (9 August 2004). "The first lady of the navy". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "HM Naval Base Clyde Changes Commodores – And the Royal Navy Bids Farewell to a Remarkable Officer". Royal Navy official website. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47588. p. 8323. 11 July 1978. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48187. p. 7285. 19 May 1980. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51316. p. 4945. 25 April 1988. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55371. pp. 283–284. 11 January 1999. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57333. p. 7745. 22 June 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  13. ^ "New commander for Clyde base". Evening Times. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
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