Royal Navy 'reappoint' Captain of HMS Somerset

The Royal Navy has confirmed that Commander David Axon has been permanently removed from command of HMS Somerset.

The decision to remove of Cdr Axon follows an equal opportunities investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment.

Earlier this week Cdr Axon was relieved of command and left HMS Somerset in Gibralter following complaints made by two junior officers. He has made no comment on the matter.

A spokesperson for the Royal Navy confirmed that Cdr Axon has been informed that he will be posted to "a non-command appointment ashore".

While declining to comment "on the specifics of this case", the Royal Navy said the decision to reappointment Cdr Axon had been taken on the basis that his "leadership and management style have been found to have fallen significantly short of the exemplary standards the Royal Navy requires of its Commanding Officers".

The result of this was that the "indispensable bond of trust and respect between a Commanding Officer and the Ship’s Company had been irrevocably damaged in this instance".

It was emphasised that, while "administrative action" had been taken to remove Cdr Axon from command, the investigation into his conduct had "not identified any evidence of mutinous behaviour, insubordination, disobedience or any other breaches of Service Law among the ship’s company of HMS Somerset".

The Royal Navy said that the service demanded the highest standards of behaviour and skills of those entrusted to be commanding officers of warships. The decision to remove Commander Axon from command of HMS Somerset had been taken "only after the most careful consideration".

HMS Somerset has since returned to Plymouth following a six-month tour of duty in the Gulf.


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