Commodore Perks saying his last goodbyes to personnel at HMNB Clyde 26072022 CREDIT Bill Spurr, MOD, Royal Navy.jpg
Commodore Jim Perks says his last goodbyes to personnel at HMNB Clyde (Picture: Bill Spurt/ MOD/ Royal Navy).
Navy

'I am truly made in the Royal Navy': head of Navy's Submarine Service retires

After 38 years of service, Commodore Jim Perks hands over to Commodore Paul Dunn.

Commodore Perks saying his last goodbyes to personnel at HMNB Clyde 26072022 CREDIT Bill Spurr, MOD, Royal Navy.jpg
Commodore Jim Perks says his last goodbyes to personnel at HMNB Clyde (Picture: Bill Spurt/ MOD/ Royal Navy).

The head of the Royal Navy's Submarine Service has retired after nearly 40 years of service, saying: "I would do it again if I could – I am truly made in the Royal Navy."

Commodore Jim Perks CBE has handed over command to Commodore Paul Dunn OBE in a ceremony at the home of the Silent Service at Clyde Naval Base in Scotland.

In his 38-year naval career, Cdre Perks climbed the ranks from junior rating to the Officer Corps before going on to command the Submarine Flotilla in 2016 and eventually becoming head of the service in January 2020.

As Commodore Perks reflected on his naval career and the Submarine Service, he called it "a perfect home". 

"Having been promoted to the Officer Corps in 1988, the nature of our business and the camaraderie of the Silent Service was a real attraction and I saw the Submarine Service as a perfect home for me – and I was right," he said.

Cdre Perks added: "It has been an absolute honour to serve my final six years as Commander Submarine Flotilla.

"I am, as ever, humbled by the fortitude, resilience and dedication of our fantastic people, and of course, their families.

"Having joined Raleigh at 17 and now retiring after 38 years, as Head of the Submarine Service, I can reflect that the Royal Navy has offered me fantastic opportunities throughout my career.

"I would do it again if I could – I am truly made in the Royal Navy," he added.

Cdre Perks toured Clyde Naval Base with his wife Louise, before departing on Faslane Patrol Boat HMS Raider, transporting him down the Gare Loch for the final time.

Commodore Perks saying his last goodbyes to personnel at HMNB Clyde 26072022 CREDIT Bill Spurt, MOD, Royal Navy.jpg
Cdre Perks saying his last goodbyes to personnel at HMNB Clyde (Picture: Bill Spur/ MOD/ Royal Navy).

Commodore Perks' Naval Career

He joined the Royal Navy in 1984 as a Writer – an administrative rating in the Navy – serving with HMS Hermione and HMS Jupiter stationed in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War.

In 1988, he was promoted to the Officer Corps and joined Britannia Royal Naval College where he was assigned to HMS Intrepid and HMS Alacrity for initial sea training.

Shortly afterwards, he volunteered for service in submarines, completing his training on board the Trafalgar-class attack submarine HMS Tireless before navigating HMS Spartan.

In 1995, Cdre Perks completed the Submarine Advanced Warfare Course and re-joined Spartan as the Operations Officer. One year later he was made an instructor on the Submarine Advanced Warfare Course.

Cdre Perks passed the Submarine Command Course (SMCC) – known as "Perisher" in 1999 and joined HMS Talent as the boat's Executive Officer.

After a period with Fleet Operations in Northwood as Submarine Special Operations Officer, he was promoted to commander and given command of HMS Sceptre. He spent three years with the vessel and was awarded an OBE in recognition of his service.

It was in 2008 that Cdre Perks was appointed the role of 'teacher' of the Perisher course, responsible for training and assessing future submarine commanders.

Commodore Jim Perks (left) and Commodore Paul Dunn (right) handing over at Belmore House at HMNB Clyde 26072022 CREDIT MOD, Royal Navy.jpg
Cdre Jim Perks (left) and Cdre Paul Dunn (right) handing over at Belmore House at HMNB Clyde (Picture: Bill Spur/ MOD/ Royal Navy).

Who's taking over?

Commodore Dunn, who takes over the role, also has a wealth of submarine experience stretching back to 1989 when he joined the Royal Navy aged just 18 and volunteered for service on submarines.

During his career, Cdre Dunn has served with HMS Courageous, HMS Sovereign, HMS Turbulent, HMS Superb, and HMS Vengeance (Port) and has commanded HMS Vigilant.

He has also spent time on shore as Assistant Staff Officer Operations at Clyde, with Fleet Operational Sea (Submarines), with the Maritime Warfare Centre as head of underwater warfare pillar, and with the operations team of the Naval Staff within the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Cdre Dunn also served in Bahrain as Staff Operations Officer with the UK Maritime Component's Headquarters and in the US as UK Liaison Officer to US Strategic Command.

His most recent post was as Head of Nuclear Planning in the Director General Nuclear Organisation.