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Cdr Chris Godwin

Royal recognition for CO 820 NAS

Published: 25 Mar 2014

Commander Chris Godwin has been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.  Commander Godwin was awarded the Commendation for his role as the Commanding Officer of 820 Naval Air Squadron. 

The Merlin Squadron, based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose inCornwall, was on Operations in theMiddle Eastbetween December 2011 and April 2013, at immediate readiness to provide protection for Royal Navy shipping during maritime operations East of Suez.  

Part of the Citation for the Award read: “Commander Godwin not only delivered operational commitment with his Merlin Mk 1 Anti-submarine helicopters, but significantly increased their flying rate and availability. Having identified best practice to optimise the Squadron’s personnel changeover profile, he skillfully balanced the concurrent operational demands in theatre, with flying currency for the remainder of the Merlin Force back at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.  820 Naval Air Squadron output under pinned the achievements of the Merlin Force for 2012 – 2013 and achieving its flying hour targets; a profile which is critically linked to the cost-effective running of the Maritime Merlin Fleet.” 

 “The Merlin Force’s transition from the Mark 1 to Mark 2 has demanded much of its Commanding Officers who have been charged with sustaining output against a diminishing Forward Fleet and resource challenges - particularly aircraft spares - alongside the demands of operations East of Suez. Under Commander Godwin’s leadership, 820 Naval Air Squadron has delivered unprecedented levels of aircraft availability, operational output, strategic relevance and success: his Squadron admire, respect and work extremely hard for him - he is thoroughly deserving of national recognition.” 

Commander Godwin and his family live in Cornwall, but are currently based overseas because Chris has recently started a position within NATO.  Chris said: “I’m delighted and incredibly humbled to have been awarded this Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.  I do consider it an award which falls to the efforts of 820 Naval Air Squadron first and foremost, and if I could divide it by the 147 of them, then I would.  I’m lucky enough that I was at the top of the tree during a very busy, but ultimately hugely rewarding, period.  Being the Commanding Officer at 820 Naval Air Squadron was one of the highlights of my career and that’s down to the men and women I had the honour to work with.”

Commander Godwin was raised and educated inNewcastle upon Tyne, but has spent a good deal of his Royal Navy career at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. He trained at Culdrose on 705, 706 and 810 Squadrons, going on to serve on 814 and 849 frontline Squadrons at sea, and from 2006 to 2008 he was the Commanding Officer of 771 Search and Rescue Squadron.


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