Women

Royal Navy makes history with first-ever female admiral

After 25 years' service, Jude Terry takes the helm as Director of People and Training and Naval Secretary.

The Royal Navy's first-ever female admiral has taken command – smashing a century-old glass ceiling in the service.

After 25 years' service, Jude Terry takes the helm as Director of People and Training and Naval Secretary.

And Rear Admiral Terry believes, with the numbers, breadth of talent and experience of women in today's Senior Service, there will be many more women to reach the rank – and go higher.

Rear Adm Terry said it was "an absolute honour and privilege to assume the post" and looks forward to "using modern approaches" to help all personnel "be the best" they can be.

The role makes the admiral responsible for more than 40,000 regular and reservist sailors, Royal Marines.

It also puts Rear Adm Terry in charge of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, responsible for operating the Navy's support ships, as well as the civil servants and contractors that allow the Navy to operate across the globe all year round.

Rear Adm Terry said "someone has to be the first" and the fact that she is a woman is irrelevant to her post and rank.

"The world has changed in terms of what people want from life and careers, whatever their gender, and the Navy needs to work to modernise our organisation to support this change," she said.

"A diverse and inclusive workforce is a better place for all but is also proven to deliver better outcomes."

She took the reins on Monday from Rear Admiral Phil Hally after a ceremony on board HMS Victory in Portsmouth.

Rear Adm Terry's department is also charged with helping shape the Royal Navy and its people up to 2040 – with two 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers in service, alongside Dreadnought-class submarines, three new classes of frigates and next-generation destroyers.

Admiral Jude Terry was awarded the OBE by the Duke of Cambridge (Picture: Royal Navy).

To do so, Rear Adm 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's quite a result for someone who joined the Navy in 1997 as a 24-year-old graduate and only planned to stay for eight years.

Since joining the service, Rear Adm Terry has served on HMS Scott and spent two spells with helicopter carrier HMS Ocean.

Rear Adm Terry also helped plan the withdrawal of UK fighting forces from Afghanistan, reducing the footprint of 9,500 personnel to about 5,000.

As military assistant to the Chief of Joint Operations, she was among the first personnel on the ground in Sierra Leone during the successful operation to stop the spread of the Ebola virus in 2014.

Those efforts during her three-year spell at the Permanent Joint Headquarters, during which she was also involved in the end of Operation Herrick and the establishment of Operation Toral in Afghanistan, earned her the OBE.