Ship’s commander buys charity painting

Artist Billy McTaggart with the painting won by Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey.
Artist Billy McTaggart with the painting won by Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey.

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The former commander of HMS Campbeltown placed the winning bid on a painting of the vessel auctioned to raise funds for Shopper-Aide.

The painting by local artist Billy McTaggart, which was donated to the Campbeltown-based charity, now belongs to Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB CBE, who placed the winning bid of £350.

When notified of his winning bid, Vice Admiral Massey, a former senior officer in the Royal Navy who served as the Second Sea Lord, one of the most senior admirals of the naval service, said: ‘The artist has done a brilliant job in his perspective of Campbeltown’s beautiful, racy lines.’

Throughout his career Vice Admiral Massey also commanded HMS Newcastle, HMS Illustrious – during operations against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001 – and HMS Ark Royal – when the ship led the amphibious assault into Iraq in 2003.

He held a number of other roles, including three appointments to the Ministry of Defence in London, serving in the NATO policy directorate, Defence Programmes and as assistant director of Navy Plans, serving twice in NATO staff appointments, and, as a commodore, he led the Operations Division of the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood and then went on to be Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff in July 2005. He assumed office as Second Sea Lord in a ceremony aboard HMS Victory in July 2008.

In July 2010, after leaving the Navy, Vice Admiral Massey was appointed chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, stepping down from the role in October 2018.

The last deployment of HMS Campbeltown, the ship depicted in the auctioned painting, was a seven-month tour from 2007 to 2008 in the Persian Gulf where she operated in support of Operation Calash and Operation Telic.

HMS Campbeltown entered refit in September 2008 and the Royal Navy announced that she would be decommissioned in 2011. She paid a final visit to her namesake town in March that year where a series of ceremonies, including a town centre parade by the ship’s crew, took place to commemorate the end of the ship’s active service.

For more on how Shopper-Aide benefits the community, turn to pages 14 and 15.