Monday, July 19, 2004

ADMIRAL BATHURST awarded honorary degree

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst, GCB, DL, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (HonLLD) by the University of Greenwich on Tuesday, July 14.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst, GCB, DL, is Vice Lieutenant of Somerset and Former First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.

Sir Benjamin joined the Royal Navy in 1953 serving with the Fleet Air Arm as a helicopter pilot.  He soon qualified as an instructor, followed by Senior Pilot and went on to take command of his squadron.

Promoted Captain in 1974, Sir Benjamin took command of a Leander class frigate, HMS Ariadne.  Two years later he became Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord at the Ministry of Defence.  In 1978 he took command of HMS Minerva and was Captain 5th Frigate Squadron until 1980. The following year, Sir Benjamin attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London and was appointed Director of Naval Air Warfare in the MOD.

Sir Benjamin was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1983, serving as Flag Officer Second Flotilla until taking up the appointment of Director General Naval Manpower and Training.  He was made Vice Admiral in 1986 and then Admiral in 1989.  He served as Commander in Chief of the Fleet which also carried NATO appointments.

He became Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in 1991 and two years later became Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord.  Sir Benjamin was promoted Admiral of the Fleet on his retirement in 1995.

His eminent career was recognised in 1987 with the award of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and in 1991 with Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Until 2003 Sir Benjamin was a Trustee of the Greenwich Foundation of the Old Royal Naval College. He is currently Vice Lord Lieutenant of Somerset and a Non-Executive Director of British International Helicopters.

Admiral Bathurst was joined by 140 graduating students at the ceremony in the Chapel of St.Peter and St.Paul at the Old Royal Naval College. His honorary doctorate was presented by the Rt Hon the Lord Holme of Cheltenham CBE, Chancellor of the University of Greenwich. The Eulogist was Professor Sarah Palmer, Director of the Greenwich Maritime Institute. Admiral Bathurst  wore a gown of blue and gold damask silk and a Tudor-style academic bonnet.

Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals of distinction who have made a major contribution to the work of the university, or who have earned prominence for activities associated more widely with education, business, culture, creative work and public service.


For further information:
Nick Davison
Public Relations Unit
020 8331 8092