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A life on the ocean waves

Maricar Jagger, Public Events Manager at The University of Portsmouth

Captain Iain Greenlees OBE RN

For a few years the South Regional division of the Royal Geographical Society has held joint lectures with the university, and we are really excited this year to host Captain Iain Greenlees OBE RN, who will give us insights into the dredging of the Solent in preparation for the arrival the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, and capable of carrying up to 60 aircraft.

It’s such a fascinating project, so let’s meet the person who is at the helm.

Iain was brought up in a small port on the west coast of Scotland, and submarines, minesweepers, and the occasional frigate would visit most weeks. A retired Admiral who lived around the corner used to walk him down and insist on him being given tours of the ships. He applied initially to join the RN at the age of 11, and signed on ten days after his 15th birthday.

He joined the Navy in 1976, initially as an engineer, and then became Warfare Officer in 1987. He had various warfare jobs at sea, and his last deployment was as Captain of HMS London from 1996 until 1998. 

Since 1998, his career has been based at Portsmouth Naval Base, where he carried out a variety of headquarters roles. Including the programme manager on the Second Sea Lord’s strategic change programme, before joining the Naval Base Commander in 2003. 

In 2005 he was promoted to Captain and was appointed as Captain of the Base. It was a challenging time for Portsmouth Naval Base, and for a period the future of the Base was in doubt. However, the outcome was a secured future for Portsmouth and the future home of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier.

He said, “Successful infrastructure delivery is dependent on many organisations working effectively together.

“Providing the best facilities we can makes an immediate difference to the workforce and the huge range of different teams on site is one of the great facets of working here.”

Meet Captain Iain Greenlees and members of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Industry team when they present the story of the scientific analysis, licensing conditions, preparation for and delivery of the major capital dredge at the University of Portsmouth on 5th December. To book your free place please go to

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