Photo taken by Royal Navy Photographer of the Year 2021 winner LPhot Ben Shread in Afghanistan (Picture: Royal Navy).
Navy

Royal Navy photographer wins top prize for Afghanistan coverage

Petty Officer Ben Shread was named Royal Navy Photographer of the Year for the pictures and footage he captured in Kabul.

Photo taken by Royal Navy Photographer of the Year 2021 winner LPhot Ben Shread in Afghanistan (Picture: Royal Navy).

Striking images of British military personnel evacuating civilians from Kabul have earned a Royal Navy photographer the service's top photography award.

Petty Officer Ben Shread was named Royal Navy Photographer of the year for telling the story of efforts by British soldiers, sailors and airmen in Afghanistan.

The Peregrine Trophy awards recognise the skill, professionalism and dedication of the small group of specialists who join the Navy in other trades but choose to re-train as full-time photographers/camera operators.  

In the last year, Navy photographers have captured the activities of Royal Marines from the Arctic to both sides of the Pacific, as well as the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Black Sea and the Gulf.

In the UK, they have snapped key national events such as the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh and State ceremonies, as well as Royal visits, emotional homecomings and the military's support to civilian agencies dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

But few stories have dominated the headlines the world over for days on end than events in Kabul in August.

 

PO Shread was part of a two-man team dispatched to record the actions of UK forces in Afghanistan and said he was "overwhelmed" to win the top photographer prize.

"Winning it with my images from Op Pitting makes it even better – it helps further highlight the great work the British military were doing out in Afghanistan," he said.

The Peregrine Trophy itself, given to the best photographic unit across the Royal Navy, was awarded to the Fleet Regional Photographic Unit West at HMS Drake, Plymouth.

The team focus their attention on ships and Royal Marines units in the South West of Britain.

Petty Officer Alex Ceolin, who also won an individual award chosen by the public for a stunning silhouette of patrol ship HMS Tamar at sunset, said it was the team's "second Peregrine Trophy in three years and an amazing achievement by the whole team".

"Every member of the team here contributed towards both winning portfolios," he said.

"Other units have greater experience, but in Plymouth, we have a great working environment and we all help each other out."

More than 500 entries were submitted this year, with entries from the general public introduced to encourage interest from the broader population and expand the diversity of submissions.