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Old and new - Capt Henry Duffy (right), the former CO shakes hands with Capt Jolyon Woodard, the new
Capt Henry Duffy who has handed over Command of BRNC after two and a half years in charge
Captain Jolyon Woodard, the new Commanding Officer of Britannia Royal Naval College.

New Commanding Officer at BRNC

Published: 16 Sep 2016

Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) has a new man at the helm with Captain (Capt) Jolyon Woodard relieving Capt Henry Duffy as the Commanding Officer.

Capt Woodard joined the Royal Navy on 18 September 1991, specialising as a helicopter pilot. 

He takes charge of the world renowned Naval College fresh from a three-year appointment with the Army. 

The 47-year-old said: “To return to command the College where my career began almost exactly 25 years ago is not just a huge honour; it is the stuff of dreams.  

To return to command the College where my career began almost exactly 25 years ago is not just a huge honour; it is the stuff of dreams.

Captain Jolyon Woodard RN

“My family and I are thrilled to be moving to Dartmouth.”

Capt Woodard was born in Truro and comes from a Naval background.  The family lived in the Dartmouth area when Capt Woodard’s father was on the staff of BRNC.

Capt Woodard attended nursery school in Stoke Fleming and continued his education at Lancing College in Sussex. 

He went on to study economics and geography at Exeter University prior to joining the Royal Navy through the Bursary scheme.

Early in his career Capt Woodard served as the Royal Barge Officer in Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia. 

He joined the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF), affectionately known as the ‘Junglies’, in 1995 as a Sea King pilot. 

Capt Woodard remained with the Junglies for much of the next 17 years, serving as Flight Commander, Senior Pilot (846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS)), and Commanding Officer of 845 (NAS).

Capt Woodard has extensive operational and command experience.  As a Flight Commander he headed up two aviation detachments to Bosnia.

In 2007 he led the first Jungly Sea King deployment to Afghanistan.  During his tenure as Commanding Officer 845 NAS, Capt Woodard commanded HMS Ocean’s Air Group for Operation Ellamy, the 2011 military intervention in Libya. 

The Air Group comprised over 300 personnel, five UK helicopter types from the three Services, plus a US detachment.  At sea he has served in nine ships, including a period in the Royal Netherlands Navy ship Rotterdam.  Capt Woodard has also held a number of shore appointments.

Capt Duffy took Command of BRNC in February 2014.  His next appointment will be as a Commodore and as a Defence and Military Attaché.

Capt Duffy said:  “It has been an immense honour to be Commanding Officer of Britannia Royal Naval College and while we are very sad to be leaving, we’ve had the most wonderful time, and will leave with very fond memories of life at the College, but also of the warm welcome we have received from the towns people of Dartmouth and the local area.

“That said, what has made this Command very special are the people, from the quite exceptional and dedicated military and civilian instructing and support staff, to the inspirational and committed young officers that undertake some of the world’s toughest and finest Naval training here.

“While the Royal Navy might not have been the largest for over 100 years, in my opinion it is the best, and Britannia Royal Naval College has a vital role in preparing the young men and women who graduate from here to be courageous leaders with the spirit to fight and win.

“Finally, while I leave with a heavy heart this very special place, I am immensely grateful for the support I have received from my team, without whom this time would not have been as successful, fun or rewarding.


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