Cdre James Blackmore RN
Commodore Blackmore joined the Royal Navy in 1996 after graduating from the University of Bristol, where he served in HMS DASHER as a RNR Midshipman. Undertaking Initial Sea Training in HMS YORK, James passed out from BRNC DARTMOUTH in 1997 and commenced Fast Jet flying training; he joined 800 Naval Air Squadron in 2001 at RNAS YEOVILTON flying the Sea Harrier FA2, embarked in HMS ARK ROYAL. Qualifying as an Air Warfare Instructor in 2003, he joined 899 NAS training the last cadre of multi-role Sea Harrier pilots in Air Combat and Air to Ground roles before the FA2 retired from service.
Promoted in 2006, James undertook an appointment to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) as the SO2 Maritime Aviation Advisor before joining Joint Force Harrier at RAF COTTESMORE in 2008. Here he served on 1(F) Squadron and IV(AC) as Officer Commanding ‘A’ Flight in charge of weapon training and the delivery of operational combat capability by day and night from ashore and afloat in HMS ILLUSTRIOUS. During this time, he flew 50 day and night combat sorties in support of Op HERRICK 9 & 10 from Kandahar and spent further time embarked in HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS INVINCIBLE. In 2010 James flew the last Harrier sortie from a UK aircraft carrier.
Before joining HMS DARING in 2012 deployed on Op KIPION in the Northern Arabian Gulf, James worked in the Defence Equipment Acquisition and Support area in the Joint Combat Aircraft Project Team at MOD ABBEY WOOD as the Deputy Requirements Manager focusing on the follow-on Development of F-35 and the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
Promoted to Commander in 2014, James undertook an exchange tour flying the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as the Operations Officer on Carrier Air Wing 2 at NAS LEMOORE where he deployed onboard the USS RONALD REAGAN operating in the Pacific. Returning from the United States, James served at RNAS CULDROSE commanding the Royal Navy Fixed Wing Force. In 2018 he joined HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH as Commander Air delivering Rotary and F-35B Development Test qualifying 11 aircraft types to the deck during the inaugural WESTLANT 18 deployment.
Promoted to Captain in 2019 James remained embarked in HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH joining the UK Carrier Strike Group as the Carrier Air Wing and Strike Warfare Commander (CAG) for Operation FORTIS in the Indo-Pacific region. Recently completing an appointment working in the Ministry of Defence as the Assistant Head Future Commitments within the Security, Policy and Operations directorate, James formed Task Force KINDRED procuring and delivering lethal aid in support of Ukraine as part of Op SCORPIUS.
Commodore Blackmore assumed command of the UK Carrier Strike Group in May 2023. As a maritime strike fighter pilot he has amassed over 2500 hours across 3 frontline maritime combat aircraft, serving in 7 aircraft carriers. He is an alumni of the United States Navy War College and the United Kingdom Higher Command and Staff Course. James is married with two children, has a keen interest in fly fishing and skiing, and is grateful to be a member of both the Martin Baker and Caterpillar Clubs.