Navy women in charge — HMNZS PHILOMEL

The newly promoted CAPT Maxine Lawes (daughter of WORS Bevan Lawes), formerly Executive Officer of the Devonport Naval Base shore establishment HMNZS PHILOMEL, assumed command of the establishment this morning from CAPT Corina Bruce in a formal ceremony on Gambia Square. Both have been trail-blazers for women in the Navy, with CAPT Bruce being the first woman CO of PHILOMEL and CAPT Lawes being one of the first Navy women to go to sea in the Women at Sea Pilot the 1980s. CAPT Lawes joined the Navy as an Ordinary Writer in 1985 and commissioned from the ranks in 1990. CAPT Bruce joined in 1983 as a SLT specialising in computer science. BZ both of you!


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6 Responses to Navy women in charge — HMNZS PHILOMEL

  1. Alan (Tug)wilson says:

    Is this how our Navy dresses for a formal ceremony now days, makes you understand the problems they seem to have keeping people.They look more like inmates than a Royal Navy.

  2. Casper says:

    It is great to see the family traditions in Pussers being continued through the generations, and my congratulations to Capt Lawes on her promotion. I am sure that Bevan and Shirley will be very proud of her achievements. Well done.
    Tug, without distracting from the above, I must agree with you regarding the “uniform” choice for such an occassion. Not only do they look like inmates,but many of them look like fat scruffy inmates! Are #1s no longer issued, and if so what occassions are they now worn on?

  3. baldy joyes says:

    hi tug read your comments agree ive been out of the system to long approaching 70 yrs now not to familiar with pc but trying to get in touch with co philomel to see if i can visit the base with my wife but not sure what course to take before i get to old no you and maxine /bevin can you advise my best course regards baldy joyes ex w/o seaman 1965 1985

    • Frank Rands says:


      I have forwarded your request directly to Maxine Lawes the Commanding Officer PHILOMEL


      Frank Rands

      • baldy joyes says:

        thank you frank for your intrest been out of the navy for a long time but the navy has never left me no maxine well in particular i miss the comradeship as a senior rate and the loyalty we shared this doesnt exsist in civvy life are ex s/rates allowed to visit the s/rates mess regards baldy joyes

      • Frank Rands says:


        It is better that you remember the past. It is a vastly different Navy with many traditions disappearing daily. Speak to any senior rate and you will find that mess life as you remember it has gone. Cannot speak for life on ships as it has been some time since I served at sea. Hope you are keeping well and still enjoying life. All the best Frank

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