A DRUMCHAPEL resident has become the first female commanding officer in the 116-year history of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Susan Cloggie-Holden began her Royal Fleet Auxiliary career in September 2000, after studying at Glasgow College of Nautical Studies.

Twenty years after joining the Royal Navy’s crucial supporting fleet, Captain Susan has recently taken charge of the 39,000 tonne tanker RFA Tiderace.

RFA Tiderace has spent the past six months supporting Royal Navy operations in home waters after a refit in Liverpool, with Susan serving as the tanker’s second-in-command, before stepping up to the number one role aboard last week.

Susan said: “I feel very privileged to have the opportunity of taking command of a vessel of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – it is a pivotal moment.

“When I commenced my career as a cadet there hadn’t been any female senior officers, therefore I feel honoured to be the first female captain in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

“I hope that this will provide all women within the organisation to aspire to achieve whatever they put their minds to.”

Clydebank Post: Susan making historySusan making history

Since then she has travelled the world and taken part in military and peacekeeping operations pretty much from when she began her career. Those have included the initial campaign against the Taliban in 2001-2002 supporting the post-Saddam Iraqi Navy for a year in 2006, conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden at the height of the scourge in 2008-09, and navigating supply ship RFA Fort Rosalie providing support to RN vessels involved in operations off Libya in 2011.

Alongside in Devonport Naval Base, the 37-year-old entered her name in the log of the replenishment ship last week to formally take charge from her predecessor Capt Angus Bissell.

Her mum Irene told the Post how proud she was of her youngest child. She said: “We are all extremely proud of her. Growing up she was such an easy child. She loved playing on the football pitches and exploring the outdoors.

“She knew this was the path she wanted to go down when she joined the Clydebank Sea Cadets as a child. She has always worked hard for everything she wanted and she couldn’t be more deserving of this. I hope this can encourage people to never give up.”