Meritorious Service Medal for Burnley's proud Royal Navy Warrant Officer

A Burnley serviceman who has served in the Royal Navy for 28 years has been presented with the Meritorious Service Medal.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 3:19 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 3:20 pm
Warrant Officer Martin Watson (left) at HMS Collingwood

Martin Watson, who has recently been promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1, joined the navy in 1992 as a 16-year-old straight out of Burnley's St Theodore's RC High School.

He described his award of the MSM, which he will receive in March, as the proudest moment of his long career so far, one which has taken him around the world, including most recently to the high tension Srait of Hormuz protecting civilian tankers off the shores of Iran.

His role in that arena, last summer, was in the 'warfare' section of HMS Duncan, a Type 43 destroyer.

Martin (43) said: "For most of my career I've worked in warfare, so basically using radar and sonar, primarily looking for submarines. I served on a number of frigates earlier on in my career, particularly around Scotland looking for Russian submarines.

"We would bump into each other quite regularly, not literally of course, but that was to be expected.

"I started my career on HMS Iron Duke as a Junior Seaman Operator 2nd Class, the lowest rank, when we were stationed in the Falklands.

"Now 28 years later it is a very proud moment to receive the MSM in recognition of my service which has gone from that lowest rank to where I am now, serving as the Base Warrant Officer of HMS Collingwood, the shore-based training establishment of the Maritime Warfare School.

"My new role will be in the training, leadership and guidance of our next generation of sailors. So I'm back on terra firma now but I've had a wonderful number of years sailing around the world, including helping to train the Chilean Navy."

The father-of-three, whose mum Sheila Watson and sister Laura Gibbons still live in Burnley, says he still tries to get back to his home town as often as possible.

He added: "My mum was ever so proud to hear I'd received the MSM. I will be serving in the navy until 2026. It's been a wonderful experience."