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Admiral The Right Honourable The Lord West of Spithead  GCB DSC PC Admiral Sir Alan West, then First Sea Lord, is pictured here with the official chart of anchorages for the International Fleet Review Minister for Security and Counter-terrorism In office 28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010 Prime Minister Gordon Brown Preceded by Tony McNulty Succeeded by The Baroness Neville-Jones (as Minister for Security) Political party Labour Military service Allegiance United Kingdom Service/branch Royal Navy Years of service 1965–2006 Rank Admiral Commands HMS Ardent Fleet Battles/wars Falklands War Iraq War Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath Distinguished Service Cross Admiral Alan William John West, Baron West of Spithead GCB DSC PC (born 21 April 1948) was, from June 2007 to May 2010, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the British Home Office with responsibility for Security and a Security Advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Prior to his ministerial appointment, he was First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy, from 2002 to 2006. He is the current Chancellor of Southampton Solent University. Contents 1 Early career in the Royal Navy 2 First Sea Lord 3 Post-naval career 4 Political life 5 Styles and honours 6 References 7 External links // Early career in the Royal Navy Alan William John West was born on 21 April 1948 in Lambeth, London, and was educated at Windsor Grammar School, now known as The Windsor Boys' School and Clydebank High School. He joined Britannia Royal Naval College in 1965 and since served in 14 different ships, commanding three of them. In 1980 he was promoted to Commander and took command of the frigate HMS Ardent, which was sunk on 21 May 1982 during the Falklands War. West was the last to leave the sinking ship and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership.[1] He is the President of the HMS Ardent Association.[2] In 1986, classified documents about naval cuts West had taken home with him were dropped while he was walking a dog; they were found by a freelance journalist, leading to a Mail on Sunday article outlining the Navy's concern about the possible cuts. According to Private Eye magazine West, who had the rank of Captain at the time, was charged by the Navy with "wrongfully removing secret documents, not taking proper care of them and failing to inform the ministry immediately of their disappearance."[3] West received a "severe reprimand," according to the magazine, but this was deleted from his record after five years. West was made Rear Admiral in February 1994. In February 1996 he became Commander United Kingdom Task Group. In October 1997 he was promoted to Vice Admiral and Chief of Defence Intelligence. West was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2000. He became a full Admiral in November 2000 when he took up the post of Commander-in-Chief Fleet, NATO Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic and NATO Commander Allied Naval Forces North. First Sea Lord The Queen and Admiral Sir Alan West, then First Sea Lord, embarked onboard HMS Endurance during the review of the international fleet West was appointed as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in September 2002. Admiral West was also a member of the Defence Council and Admiralty Board as well as First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen. In 2004 he appeared on BBC Radio 4 and spoke about Trafalgar 200.[4] Trafalgar 200 was a celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. It saw an International Fleet in the Solent led by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and by the First Sea Lord. West led the demand by the Royal Navy for a major ceremony. He is credited with persuading the government for making the event include a large scale fleet review.[1] In 2005 he served as the chief mourner at a reenactment of Horatio Nelson's funeral.[5] In the 2004 New Year Honours list he was promoted to a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).[6] West completed his term as First Sea Lord on 6 February 2006 and was succeeded by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band. Post-naval career West was installed as the first Chancellor for Southampton Solent University, formerly Southampton Institute on Wednesday, 28 June 2006.[7] In 2006 West was appointed to the board of the Imperial War Museum.[8] In October 2006 West was appointed to chair the advisory board of defence contractor QinetiQ.[3] In April 2010, West became patron of the Docklands Sinfonia symphony orchestra.[9] Political life On 29 June 2007 West was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the British Home Office, with responsibility for Security in the Administration of Gordon Brown, and that same day Brown announced that West was to be created a life peer. On 9 July 2007 he was created Baron West of Spithead, of Seaview in the County of Isle of Wight,[10] and took his seat in the House of Lords. In November 2007 he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that he was not "totally convinced" of the need for 42-day detention (without trial) of terrorist suspects. But less than two hours later, following a meeting with the Prime Minister, he said he was "convinced" of the need for the new legislation. He later claimed: "Being a simple sailor not a politician maybe I didn't choose my words well... Maybe my choice of words wasn't very clever". The incident was an embarrassment for the government, particularly as West was the minister charged with navigating the controversial legislation through the House of Lords.[11] He left office on 11 May 2010 when Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister following the May 2010 General Election but continues to sit as a Labour peer in the House of Lords. Styles and honours Mr Alan West (1948–1980) Commander Alan West (1980–1982) Commander Alan West DSC (1982–1986) Captain Alan West DSC (1986–1994) Rear Admiral Alan West DSC (1994–1997) Vice Admiral Alan West DSC (1997–2000) Vice Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC (2000) Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC (2000–2004) Admiral Sir Alan West GCB DSC (2004–2007) Admiral The Rt Hon. The Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC (2007–2010) Admiral The Rt Hon. The Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC PC (2010– ) References ^ a b First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West On Nelson And Trafalgar 2005 - 24 Hour Museum - official guide to UK museums, galleries, exhibitions and heritage ^ HMS Ardent Association Online ^ a b Private Eye No.1188, 6 July - 19 July 2007, p.9, "Tales of the Riverbank" ^ BBC Radio 4 - Midweek ^ FIRST SEA LORD IS CHIEF MOURNER AT NELSON'S FUNERAL RE-ENACTMENT ON FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER : Website Press Media News Events and Design : SeaBritain ^ New Year Honours List 2004 ^ Sir Alan West ^ Sir Alan appointed to the Imperial War Museum ^ Docklands Sinfonia ^ The London Gazette, issue 58391, page 10139 ^ BBC NEWS | Politics | Pienaar's view: Terror issue not plain sailing External links Biography HMS Ardent Association Biography UK Home Office "Brown brings in more 'outsiders'" BBC News, 29 June 2007 Military offices Preceded by Sir John Foley Chief of Defence Intelligence 1997–2000 Succeeded by Sir Joe French Preceded by Sir Nigel Essenhigh Commander-in-Chief Fleet 2000–2002 Succeeded by Sir Jonathon Band Preceded by Sir Nigel Essenhigh First Sea Lord 2002–2006 Succeeded by Sir Jonathon Band v • d • e First Sea Lords of the Royal Navy Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Howe · Sir Peter Parker · Prince William, Duke of Clarence First Naval Lords (1828–1904) Sir George Cockburn · Sir Thomas Hardy · The Hon. George Dundas · Charles Adam · Sir George Cockburn · Sir Charles Adam · Sir George Cockburn · Sir William Parker · Sir Charles Adam · James Dundas · The Hon. Maurice Berkeley · Hyde Parker · The Hon. Maurice Berkeley · The Hon. Sir Richard Dundas · William Martin · The Hon. Sir Richard Dundas · The Hon. Sir Frederick Grey · Sir Alexander Milne · Sir Sydney Dacres · Sir Alexander Milne · Sir Hastings Yelverton · George Wellesley · Sir Astley Key · Sir Arthur Hood · Lord John Hay · Sir Arthur Hood · Sir Richard Hamilton · Sir Anthony Hoskins · Sir Frederick Richards · Lord Walter Kerr First Sea Lords (1904–present) Sir John Fisher · Sir Arthur Wilson · Sir Francis Bridgeman · Prince Louis of Battenberg · The Lord Fisher · Sir Henry Jackson · Sir John Jellicoe · Sir Rosslyn Wemyss · The Earl Beatty · Sir Charles Madden, Bt · Sir Frederick Field · The Lord Chatfield · Sir Roger Backhouse · Sir Dudley Pound · The Lord Cunningham of Hyndhope · Sir John Cunningham · The Lord Fraser of North Cape · Sir Rhoderick McGrigor · The Earl Mountbatten of Burma · Sir Charles Lambe · Sir Caspar John · Sir David Luce · Sir Varyl Begg · Sir Michael Le Fanu · Sir Peter Hill-Norton · Sir Michael Pollock · Sir Edward Ashmore · Sir Terence Lewin · Sir Henry Leach · Sir John Fieldhouse · Sir William Staveley · Sir Julian Oswald · Sir Benjamin Bathurst · Sir Jock Slater · Sir Michael Boyce · Sir Nigel Essenhigh · Sir Alan West · Sir Jonathon Band · Sir Mark Stanhope