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Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton

Published: 09 May 2024



Duncan Thomas joined the Royal Navy in 2003 as an Observer, gaining his wings from 702 NAS flying Lynx Helicopters. He has completed numerous operational deployments across the globe including counter drugs patrols, Operation TELIC, CALASH and KIPION in the Middle East and several counter-piracy operations off Somalia. He has served as an Observer Instructor and was a Flight Commander in the Middle East and for the 2012 Operation OLYMPICS in the air-stop role ensuring the safety of the London Olympic Games. 

As a Lieutenant Commander he served in Navy Command Headquarters where he was responsible for the generation of task-group aviation packages and was the lead for the generation and commitment of the naval contribution to UK resilience operations. This included conducting the generation for the Commonwealth Games. In 2014 he was selected as the Executive Assistant to the head of the Fleet Air Arm, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Aviation, Amphibious Capability and Carriers, which was a hugely interesting staff assignment at a pivotal time for the Fleet Air Arm with multiple aircraft type transition and the challenges of the QEC Carrier Programme.

As a Commander (2016) he attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy prior to returning to aviation and qualifying on the Wildcat helicopter. He subsequently spent 2 years as the Commanding Officer of 825 NAS, responsible for training the next generation of aircrew and engineers. Thereafter he was assigned to the Ministry of Defence working within the Finance and Military Capability teams where he was central to enabling the funding decisions throughout the 2021 Integrated Review.

On promotion to Captain he was assigned to the Ministry of Defence Space Directorate; responsibilities included initiating several innovative and agile space capability programmes. He was Programme Director for Programme ISTARI, a new UK military space based ISR system alongside some other cross government programmes. This role also required financial advice and management of the 1.4BN 10 year funding line that was allocated to space capability development. Leaving MOD he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies, spending a year studying the Global Strategy Programme which focussed on strategy making at the international level.

Outside of the Royal Navy he lives on and runs a small farm in the foothills of Exmoor which supplies grass fed traditional sheep and beef to local consumers. Any spare time is spent tinkering with agricultural vehicles and learning a multitude of new skills to support building a house on the farm. He enjoys skiing, tennis, and swimming. He is a Freeman of the City of London; an alumni of the Windsor Leadership Trust; and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. He is married to Alexis who runs the farm and manages their animals and children, of which there are two: Alfred (6) and Beatrice (2).


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