Vice Admiral Nick Hine (Picture: Royal Navy).

Second Sea Lord to retire at 'end of this job'

Vice Admiral Nick Hine says he will not be in the race to become the next Navy chief when the role is vacated in November.

Vice Admiral Nick Hine (Picture: Royal Navy).

The Deputy Chief of Naval Staff has announced he will retire when his job comes to an end.

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine, who stepped into the role in April 2019, says he will not apply to lead the Royal Navy when the role becomes available.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin will leave his role when he officially becomes Chief of Defence Staff on 30 November – leading the entire Armed Forces.

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"I have decided to retire at the end of this job. I will not be applying to be 1SL," Vice Adm Hine wrote on Twitter, wishing all candidates the "best of luck" in transforming the Royal Navy.

The Second Sea Lord (2SL) focuses on the long-term success of the Royal Navy – overseeing people, infrastructure and equipment. The role has no fixed term of appointment.

Appointed by the Prime Minister and answering to the First Sea Lord, the deputy naval chief also has a hand in diversity, family support, training and recruiting.

The 2SL sits on the Navy Board, which oversees all service activity including operations, logistics and administrative tasks.

Who is Vice Admiral Nick Hine?

The 2SL has a background largely in submarines, having served in a variety of nuclear and diesel sub-surface vessels.

Commissioning in 1985, he became the first submariner to complete the inaugural Specialist Navigation course.

He was the top student of his Submarine Command Course in 1998 and received early promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 1996.

Promotion to Commander followed in 1999, to Captain in 2007, Commodore in 2014, a year later to Rear Admiral and in 2019 to Vice Admiral.

Operational experience includes tours in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.

In 2009 he was responsible for the reconstruction of the Iraqi Navy and was recognised by the US military for his efforts.

Returning from Baghdad in 2009, Vice Admiral Hine was diagnosed with autism and has since worked to increase the representation of autistic individuals within the military.

He told the National Autistic Society: "I went to the doctors with suspected post-traumatic stress disorder. Up until then, I had no idea that I was autistic although I had always felt different.

"Growing up, I was seen, as I think many autistic children were in those days, as the 'slightly odd, bright child'."

He went on: "I didn't have many close friends and I found social activities very challenging. With hindsight, I now understand I didn't want to go to university for fear of the social interaction it entailed.

"Instead, I joined the Royal Navy which was the best thing I ever did. I have a uniform, a timetable and a structured day," he added.

A graduate of the in-service degree programme, he received the Seaford House prize for his dissertation.

The 2SL's most recent Command appointment came in HMS Westminster in 2012, conducting maritime security polls in the Middle East.