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Nick Dunn

Navy pilot awarded OBE

Published: 09 Jan 2013

A former Royal Navy airman from Torquay has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for his remarkable performance as an aviation safety advisor. Nick Dunn, 52, was a Commander in the Royal Navy before he left the Service on Christmas Day after coming to the end of his career.

The father-of-three is now working as a safety officer for the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company – the same organisation he worked for before he joined the Royal Navy. His award recognises his work in his final military role as Safety Management Advisor for aviation where he was based at the Navy’s Command Headquarters at HMS Excellent, Portsmouth.

Nick’s citation read:

“Demonstrating the utmost professionalism and determined and inspirational leadership, he seized the opportunity to instigate new safety processes to achieve a measured balance between the operational imperatives of the front line and the management of risk to life.

"His pioneering efforts were undertaken with infectious drive and selfless commitment and the tangible changes in safety culture that he brought about will enhance future safety management.

"The Navy command was the only authority in Defence to achieve the highest assessment rating.”

Joining the Navy in 1982, Nick spent the first half of his career flying Sea King helicopters in the Anti-Submarine role. He was appointed the first Merlin Senior Pilot and played a major role in forming the first Merlin Squadron, 700M. Following an appointment as Lieutenant Commander (Flying) on the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, he assumed Command of 814 Naval Air Squadron between 2003 and 2006, working from a variety of ships including HM Ships Ark Royal, Illustrious and Invincible and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s Fort George and Fort Victoria.

From here he worked for the Defence Export Services Organisation, working with industry to promote sales of the Anglo-Italian EH101 helicopter in a number of countries including the USA, Norway, India and Japan, Nick returned to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose to command the Merlin Force, responsible for all operational and training aspects of the Navy’s Merlin helicopter squadrons. At this time the Merlin fleet was deployed all around the world on a variety of missions from anti-piracy, counter narcotics and counter people to trafficking to anti-submarine and surface warfare.

Nick, who lists his main hobbies as sailing, DIY and walking and now lives in Perranwell Station near Truro, said:

“The challenge of flying successfully at sea, an utterly unforgiving environment, requires the fullest attention to safety at all times; this was the best preparation for the role of safety management advisor. The award was totally unexpected and caps a thoroughly enjoyable 31 years in the Royal Navy, it has been a mix of very hard work, great experiences and tremendous fun, I will miss working with the exceptional people that make up the Fleet Air Arm. I am particularly grateful for the support of my wife Sarah, my family and friends.”


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