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The Royal Navy just welcomed its first female admiral

Royal Navy's first female admiral
RADM Jude Terry and RADM Philip Hally in the Great Cabin in HMS Victory. Photo: Royal Navy

The Royal Navy broke a century-old glass ceiling as it promoted Jude Terry as the first female admiral in its history.

After nearly 25 years’ service around the globe and at home in the UK, the 48-year-old from Jersey takes the helm as Director of People and Training and Naval Secretary.

That makes the rear admiral responsible not only for more than 40,000 regular and reservist sailors and Royal Marines, but also the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – who operate the navy’s crucial support ships – plus civil servants and contractors, all part of the gigantic jigsaw which allows the Royal Navy to operate around the globe 24/7/365.

Women have served in the Royal Navy since the Wrens in World War 1 and have been going to sea since 1990. Today there is no position or branch of the service in the UK not open to women, according to the Royal Navy.

She says the fact that she is a woman is irrelevant to her post and rank – simply that “someone has to be first” and she most definitely will not be the last; there are currently four female commodores (the next rank down) and 20 female captains.

Passionate about diversity, inclusivity, equality and social mobility, she believes talent, ability and dedication are the only factors determining success: background, education and patronage count for nothing, what you personally bring to the Royal Navy is everything.

“The world has changed in terms of what people want from life and careers, whatever their gender, and the Navy needs to work to modernize our organization to support this change – a diverse and inclusive workforce is a better place for all but is also proven to deliver better outcomes,” Admiral Terry said.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key says Admiral Terry is “a great example of all the amazing women serving today – and a role model for all who serve and those who follow.”

She took the reins of her department from her predecessor Rear Admiral Phil Hally following a ceremony aboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth, continuing and building upon many of the changes he has introduced under the Royal Navy’s transformation program to forge a force to rise to the challenges – social, technological, ecological, economic and military.

To do so, Admiral Terry says requires a navy which is modern in its makeup, processes and outlook following the maxim: Join well, train well, live well, leave well.

“It is an absolute honor and privilege to assume the post of Director People and Training and Naval Secretary today,” she said.

“Our people and their families are at the heart of our ability to deliver on operations abroad and in the UK. I look forward to leading my team in supporting them, using modern approaches, helping us all to be the best we can be, and building on the work already done by my predecessor.

“Last week, when Vice Admiral Hine left as Second Sea Lord, he said: ‘You should strive to leave the Service in a better place than you found it’. I’m aiming to build on what we’ve done already to continue to do that.”