NEW BOSS FROM BURBAGE FOR THE NAVY’S KINGFISHER SQUADRON
A Royal Navy Observer from Burbage, Leicestershire has become the new Commanding Officer of 829 Naval Air Squadron – ‘The Kingfishers’ – at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall.
Lieutenant Commander Kay Burbidge, who attended John Cleveland College – now known as the Hinckley Academy – takes up the prestigious appointment as a Squadron Commander after a long and illustrious career with the Fleet Air Arm. Kay’s stepfather and stepbrother Chris and James Nunn still live in Burbage.
Kay joined the Royal Navy in 1988 as a Wren Air Engineering Mechanic and worked at Culdrose on a variety of aircraft. In particular, Sea Kings on 771 and 820 Naval Air Squadrons and onboard HMS Ark Royal during the Adriatic conflict in the early 1990s.
In 2006 Kay graduated at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth and became an Officer.
Returned to RNAS Culdrose for Observer flying training she was awarded her RN Observer’s Wings and appointed to 820 NAS once again. Deployments with HMS Illustrious and numerous Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships followed including operations outside UK waters in the Arabian Gulf and Sierra Leone in support of OP Palliser.
After Staff Course and an Observer Instructor’s course Kay took up Search and Rescue and instructional duties on 771 NAS. Completing a Helicopter Warfare Instructor’s (HWI) course and an Advanced ASW Course, where she was awarded the HWI Student of the Year, Kay also converted to Merlin MK 1 with 824 NAS at Culdrose. Numerous exercises and operations worldwide followed before she started a four year period with 829 NAS, initially as Flight Commander on HMS Monmouth during OP Telic before she was appointed Senior Observer in 2010. Kay also served with HMS Northumberland and HMS Westminster flights, conducting Counter Piracy and Counter Narcotics operations, working closely with coalition and multi-national task forces in a variety of Maritime disciplines.
In 2013 Kay joined the Maritime Warfare School at HMS Collingwood as Officer in Charge Aviation Training Element and subsequently as the 2IC of the Warfare Training Group. She also sat as a Board Member at the Admiralty Interview Board during her time in the Portsmouth area.
“It’s a great pleasure to take over as commanding officer of 829 Squadron,” said Lt Cdr Kay Burbidge. “I’ve served on the squadron before as a Flight Commander and as Senior Observer, and it’s wonderful to be back. The Squadron is still incredibly busy and they have continued to achieve amazing results. I can’t begin to explain how proud I am of their achievements. ”