Prince Philip was 'an exceptional officer' during WWII, former First Sea Lord says

10 April 2021, 13:25 | Updated: 10 April 2021, 13:28

By Seán Hickey

The former head of the British Navy tells LBC the Duke of Edinburgh 'a man of great sense of duty and loyalty' who was on his way to the top of the service.

Admiral Lord John West was First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 2002 to 2006. He spoke to Matt Frei as the nation mourns the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip is fondly remembered as a war hero, having fought valiantly in the Royal Navy during WWII. Lord West recalled the efforts of Prince Philip during the War.

"He was an exceptional officer and was doing extremely well," he said, reminding Matt that the Duke had been so brave that "he got a mention in dispatches" while operating searchlights in the Pacific.

The former head of the British Navy revealed that "he was on that golden route up to the top" until his duty to The Queen took precedence over his military career.

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Lord West noted that his devotion to the forces was such that "in his cabin on the Royal Yacht was a model of HMS Magpie," the ship he served on as Commander during WWII.

The former head of the Navy sensed that the Duke of Edinburgh would have had a "little but of sadness" after giving up his naval duty because "he was on that fast-track up to the top."

Lord West added that "he was a man of great sense of duty and loyalty" and would have accepted his role openly.

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"It was his duty to serve her majesty."

He reiterated that there would have been a "sliver of sadness in giving up his naval career," such was his devotion to the forces, and to his adopted country.

"If you're operating a searchlight," Andrew wondered, "that'd certainly put you in the enemy's thoughts, wouldn't it?"

Lord West affirmed that Prince Philip's role would certainly make him a target, which was an indication of his bravery and nerve.