A Surface Warfare Officer, with specialisations in Navigation and Anti-submarine Operations, Commodore Robert Bellfield took over as the Naval Regional Commander for London and Eastern England on 12 April 2021 and was appointed an Ordinary Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen on 19 April 2021.
A career of over 30 years has largely been at sea and supporting operations. He spent most of 2020 Commanding CCTF SENTINEL, a multi-national Maritime Task Group in the Gulf from the HQ in Bahrain, directing coalition warships and aircraft to deter aggression against merchant shipping in the vital trade routes in the region. His previous role was the Commander of the Devonport Flotilla; preparing the 15 Amphibious Ships, Frigates and Hydrographic Ships based in Plymouth for national and coalition operations around the globe, including the Indo-Pacific, the Gulf (with particular responsibility for HMS MONTROSE forward deployed to Bahrain) and Anti-Submarine operations in the Atlantic. In 2013 and 2014 he spent 9 months in Bahrain as the Deputy UK Maritime Component Commander for all RN maritime operations in the Gulf and Middle East, working closely with the United States Fifth Fleet staff to integrate RN and USN warfighting capability in a highly intense operational theatre. His last sea appointment was as the Executive Officer of HMS ARK ROYAL for her final commission, which involved the regeneration of the UK’s maritime fixed wing flying capability with the Harrier, until her retirement in late 2010. Previous sea time included command of the Type 23 frigates GRAFTON, PORTLAND and ARGYLL, and second-in-command of SUTHERLAND. His early career included time in destroyers and frigates; operating in every sphere of RN maritime operations in UK waters, the Far East, the Gulf, South Atlantic and the West Indies.
Recent staff training from 2016 to 2017 was at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, where he studied global security, stability and prosperity at the National Strategic level, along with students from 57 different nations. This course built upon other staff training on the Advanced Staff Course at the Joint Services Command Staff College and an MA with King’s College London. Shore appointments have been demanding and varied; including the Fleet Operations Centre at Northwood; training young officers at BRNC Dartmouth; on the strategic planning staff in the Ministry of Defence in London and the Capability Manager for all surface ships and for UK/US capability interoperability, in Navy Command HQ in Portsmouth. More recently he commanded HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, a first class multi-school training establishment that delivered initial and specialist training for the sailors that operate and maintain our ships, submarines and aircraft.
The family have recently returned to their ‘home county’ of Suffolk, having converted a derelict barn near Woodbridge. Any spare time is spent on the water, either cruising in their yacht Jemima, or racing in a variety of sailing dinghies. Robert is a Life Rear Commodore of the Royal Naval Sailing Association and a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. He is also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, a Freeman of the City of London, a Younger Brother of Trinity House and was awarded a CBE in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.