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Female Navy Officer

(44 Posts)
NanKate Tue 29-Jul-14 19:17:13

I wonder if the naval officer who allegedly had an affair with a subordinate, had been a male, if anything would have been said. I doubt it.

Nanatofive Tue 29-Jul-14 19:46:46

As a commissioned officer many many years ago and the only female office on the station I became the subject of allegations made by some young servicemen boasting that they had 'had me'. I got dragged into see the C.O. And had to explain, but what could I explain when it was all fiction. luckily I could prove where I was on one alleged incident as other officers where with me.

rosequartz Tue 29-Jul-14 20:28:38

It's a matter of maintaining discipline more than anything, NanKate. Very difficult to be in command and maintain the respect of your crew if you do something like that. And a ship at sea needs tight discipline.

rosequartz Tue 29-Jul-14 20:34:29

Here are the rules:

It just is not like an affair in the office.

NanKate Wed 30-Jul-14 06:55:02

I'm not condoning her actions Rose it's just the double standards that annoy me.

However I do agree the importance of maintaining standards.

Iam64 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:48:44

It does feel like double standards. I agree with the need for discipline in the services, but I don't minimise the impact of similar affairs 'in the office', or other workplace. Especially where one of the partnership is in a managerial or leadership role. Feel a bit sorry for her though

nightowl Wed 30-Jul-14 09:16:18

I don't think we can be sure it would be any different if it was a male officer

The only difference is that it always seems to be the woman who is photographed (and presumably, because the female in question was 'stunning' the male officer was not fully to blame hmm ). However, that's hardly the adult of the Royal Navy but more the way the media reports such things.

rosequartz Wed 30-Jul-14 12:38:14

I expect the same disciplinary action would have been taken if a male captain had had an affair with a subordinate on-board when away at sea for months. No double standards.

Added to this, she was a trailblazer and has let down all female RN members by her actions and lack of self-control.

It is not a rule of one standard for males and another for females, the same rules and code of conduct apply to all, especially on board an operational ship away at sea for months.

rosequartz Wed 30-Jul-14 12:42:32

Picture of the male officer in the paper today - taken at his wedding a month ago.

I think the OP is looking at this from a totally different angle to me!

POGS Wed 30-Jul-14 14:45:46


I agree with your post 12.38

rosequartz Wed 30-Jul-14 19:02:54

I am glad there were no female officers or ratings on board when my DH was away for months on end! Likewise my DF and DB.

FlicketyB Thu 31-Jul-14 07:54:16

It is not whether there is a double standard in the navy (or army, or air force). Coming from an army family, i do not think there is, any such behaviour, regardless of sex, undermines discipline and command and would be treated the same. Where the double standard arises is media in response when it becomes known, Senior female officer has affair with junior under their direct command is news, a senior male officer acting like this isn't.

Personally, considering the importance of her promotion as a role model for other women I think her behaviour shows such extreme misjudgment or a tendency to let her emotions over rule her responsibilities that it shows very poor judgement by her superiors when they promoted her. They should have sussed out this serious flaw in her character before she was promoted.

rosequartz Thu 31-Jul-14 09:14:20

Perhaps 'they' are so anxious to prove that they are being politically correct in proving the RN offers equal opportunities that they went overboard in their enthusiasm.(so to speak - no pun intended).

Herbert44 Thu 31-Jul-14 15:14:20

I think the Navy would take a dim view even if the officer was a male.

HollyDaze Thu 31-Jul-14 15:53:03

Last night Admiral Lord West added ‘There were not any women aboard when I was commanding ships but I was aware of men having sex with each other and they were disciplined. Indeed, early in my career it was illegal.

‘As ship’s captain you must set an example through your conduct and be beyond reproach. The rules banning relationships in the chain of command exist for a very good reason.’

So given that in the past illegal acts were committed but the offenders only received discipline, I do think it fair that this is what should happen in this case. I certainly would throw away the career of someone if they have made one error of judgement of this type.

It is not a reason for wanting to remove women from the ships though - as the article said: the Navy would be in dire straights without women enrolling.

rosequartz Thu 31-Jul-14 20:43:47

DH (many years in the RN) is fully in agreement with women going to sea and being given every opportunity - however he thinks that they should be given their own ships, women only. hmm

Holly, you said that Admiral Lord West was 'aware of men having sex with each other and they were disciplined'.
That is one thing; this was the captain of a ship having sex with a subordinate, a different scenario altogether.

HollyDaze Fri 01-Aug-14 17:44:28

If this was the second time she had done this kind of thing rosequartz then yes, I'd think it was time for her to go but we can all make mistakes, follow actions we know we shouldn't and if it was a first offence, I'd be more inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt that they will stay on the straight and narrow.

As I meant to say in my previous post: I certainly would not throw away the career of someone if they have made one error of judgement of this type.

and not that I would throw their career away blush

Holly, you said that Admiral Lord West was 'aware of men having sex with each other and they were disciplined'. That is one thing

Yes but it was an illegal thing and I don't believe they were relieved from their post for doing it. I see committing an illegal act as being more serious than committing one that is undesirable (if that makes sense!).

rosequartz Fri 01-Aug-14 19:45:49

I think that posters are looking at this from a civilian point of view.

I don't think that Admiral Lord West was referring to old cases only, Holly, (when the act will have been illegal anyway); the men concerned will have been disciplined as Commander West will be disciplined.

This is what was reported when Cdr West was first appointed as captain of HMS Portland:

The 40-year-old, who is single and lives in Middlesex, won her £65,000-a-year role due to her “leadership, confidence, moral courage, sound judgment and exceptional people skills”, seeing off tough competition from male officers. She has yet to give any interviews on the subject, simply saying that taking command of HMS Portland is “the highlight of my 16 years in the Royal Navy so far” and adding: “It is a challenge that I am fully trained for and ready to undertake.”

She has not shown moral courage, sound judgement or exceptional people skills in what she has done. She will be the object of derision and other women in the Royal Navy will be angry and upset that she may have set back their cause by her actions.

This is not news because shock [horror] a boss has sex with a subordinate. This is news because a trailblazing female Royal Navy officer, promoted to be the first woman in charge of a fighting ship has broken the Code of Social Conduct which must be adhered to by all personnel on board, and has been sent home awaiting disciplinary action.

She was news because she was the first Captain of a RN ship, and it is news because of what she has done.

rosequartz Fri 01-Aug-14 20:31:03

Extract from the Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct:

e. Sexual Activity Onboard Ship. Any sexual activity onboard ship, whether homosexual or heterosexual, involving two or more people, will prima facie be prejudicial to good order and naval discipline and is likely to be an offence under Section 19 of the Armed Forces Act 2006.

The only reason Cdr West may be treated differently from Lt Cdr Gray is that she is his commanding officer.

dustyangel Fri 01-Aug-14 21:16:00

My DH agrees with yours rosequartz. He is ex RN as well. The fact is that even if the Captain had been male and had an affair with a male or female subordinate, the result would have been the same. Just not as newsworthy.

When this first hit the news, DH said, "We'll she's not going anywhere. Nor is he.

rosequartz Sat 02-Aug-14 09:21:45

Yes, dustyangel, it is newsworthy just because she was the first captain of a RN ship, which in itself was newsworthy at the time.

dustyangel Sat 02-Aug-14 15:26:28

I agree rosequartz. It is such a shame that the first female captain will be remembered more for this than other achievements.

HollyDaze Sat 02-Aug-14 17:29:41

I do understand what you are saying rosequartz but for me, the fact she is female has nothing to do with it. I suspect that higher standards are being applied to her than to her male predecessors over the lifespan of the RN and that, imo, is unfair.

She has not shown moral courage, sound judgement or exceptional people skills in what she has done.

I couldn't, and wouldn't, argue with that - every comment is true; but worth throwing away a long and distinguished career for? Can people not make one mistake?

She will be the object of derision

She should be more an object of derision than any naval officer who has been in a similar position or who has chosen to visit brothels whilst in port.

other women in the Royal Navy will be angry and upset that she may have set back their cause by her actions

Isn't it the responsibility of those other women to show themselves in a different light? Is everyone else so small-minded that they believe every woman in the Armed Forces would behave in exactly the same way? I don't think that line of thought has been applied to males in the RN.

FlicketyB Sat 02-Aug-14 18:09:21

Having an army background, the standards and rules of conduct, especially for a commanding officer are exactly the same regardless of sex.

rosequartz Sat 02-Aug-14 21:02:14

But civilians do not seem to realise that, FlicketyB.

I will reiterate that the only reason it is in the news is that she is the first woman to command a ship. She herself and all she does is newsworthy simply because of that.

Of course it may have happened before with a male captain and female or male subordinate, who knows, but it was probably not newsworthy. However, they would have been sent home awaiting disciplinary procedures, in just the same way.