Suffolk man takes top Ark Royal job

A ROYAL Navy serviceman from Clopton, near Woodbridge, has been made second in command for one of the world's most famous warships.

Naomi Cassidy

A ROYAL Navy serviceman from Clopton, near Woodbridge, has been made second in command for one of the world's most famous warships.

It is now Rob Bellfield's job to ensure that everything goes according to plan with HMS Ark Royal, a 22,000 tonne aircraft carrier which has just been fixed after a �12million maintenance project.

He also has to ensure that the warship successfully completes her operational sea training in the run up to Christmas.

The 44-year-old, who was brought up in Woodbridge and educated at Farlingaye High School and Framlingham College, was always a keen dinghy and yacht sailor.

He joined the Navy in 1983 and after graduating from Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, spent his early career as a navigator at sea in numerous ships on operations in the Caribbean and the South Atlantic.

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Commander Bellfield, formerly commander of HMS Grafton, said: “Commonly referred to as 'the world's most famous warship' Ark Royal is a ship with a proud and distinguished history and the opportunity to be 'the commander' onboard is a privilege that only a few Royal Naval officers have the chance to accept.

“Whilst it will not be possible to visit Ipswich in Ark Royal, she does have strong Suffolk connections with vice admiral Sir Alan Massey, from Ipswich, who has served twice onboard, once as the commanding officer.”

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