Commodore Stephen Moorhouse has taken over command of the UK Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, currently under build in Scotland.
The commodore, stepping up to the helm of one of the two biggest warships built for the Royal Navy, will assume the local rank of captain while in command, just as his counterpart Commodore Jerry Kyd did on board the first of the Navy’s new carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
In his role rank, Captain Moorhouse will be the first sea-going captain of HMS Prince of Wales, which is expected to leave Rosyth in late 2019 for contractor sea trials.
Captain Moorhouse said, “I am delighted to assume command of HMS Prince of Wales at this exciting time as we prepare the ship to enter service. She will operate of the centre of a Maritime Task Group that will support the UK’s diverse diplomatic, security and economic interests around the globe.”
The 65,000-tonne ship is being fitted out in Rosyth and readying herself for her own bright future as her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth visits the United States of America for the first time.
The hand-over from an Engineering Senior Naval; Officer to a Warfare Commanding Officer is a major milestone in the ship’s build programme; Captain Moorhouse takes over from Captain Ian Groom who has spent more than two years leading the engineering marvels of the construction of the vast ship.
Looking back at his time with the ship, Captain Groom said, “I have enjoyed my tenure as Senior Naval Officer for HMS Prince of Wales immensely and I am hugely proud of everything we have achieved.
“My handover of command to Captain Moorhouse marks the start of a new phase that will see him working together with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance to take HMS Prince of Wales to sea and subsequently into service.”
Sir Simon Lister, ACA Managing Director said “I would like to thank Captain Ian Groom for his innovative, enthusiastic and steadfast work as Senior Naval Officer, HMS Prince of Wales.
“Ian has been a key member of my senior team, leading the vital integration of the ship’s company into the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.
“The arrival of Captain Steve Moorhouse, both as the Admiralty Trials Master and Commanding Officer, further strengthens our team as we gain momentum towards sea trials for HMS Prince of Wales.
“I warmly welcome Steve, and look forward to working closely with him as we together complete and set to work his ship.”
No stranger to the challenges of maritime aviation, Captain Moorhouse originally joined the Royal Navy as a specialist in Airborne Early Warning, serving as an Observer with 849 Naval Air Squadron, primarily on board the previous generation carrier HMS Illustrious, and flying in environments from the southern Indian Ocean to the Baltic.
Rear Admiral K E Blount CB OBE said: “I am extremely grateful to Captain Groom for his dedication, hard work and all he has achieved.
“As her sister ship prepares for the first F-35B landing, HMS Prince of Wales continues to achieve some very important milestones and the recent completion of the Bridge and Operations Room has really brought this magnificent ship to life.
“The appointment of her first Commanding Officer is a significant step on the journey to sea trials next year and I extend a warm welcome to Captain Moorhouse.”
In his long career with the Navy, Captain Moorhouse has previously commanded Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Severn in waters around the UK coastline and her sister ship HMS Clyde in the South Atlantic, Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster and helicopter assault ship HMS Ocean.
Most recently Captain Moorhouse led CTF150, a multinational Combined Task Force that keeps the shipping lanes safe across the Western Indian Ocean.