After Heriot’s Blog

Next on the blog we have Jack Patterson

Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.

Jack Patterson, Class of 2012

What is your current role?

Royal Navy Lieutenant – Commanding Officer of HMS ARCHER

What was your journey to get there?

After leaving Heriot’s in 2012 I studied for four years at the University of St Andrews, completing a degree in International Relations and Modern History. I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew I was interested in international affairs so went on to study for a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London. It was during this time I realised I wanted a job which was hands on, involved travel and was focused on geopolitics and the forces which shape the international system; the Royal Navy ticked all of these boxes for me.

I eventually began Officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth in September 2018. Three years of initial training and professional training then followed, working towards becoming qualified as an Officer of the Watch. The Officer of the Watch is the individual Officer who at any given time is responsible for the safe transit of the Ship, and execution of any operations or exercises that the Ship may be tasked with. During this period, I spent time on a wide range of Ships, from Aircraft Carriers such as HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH to Air-Defence Destroyers such as HMS DEFENDER and Ocean Patrol Vessels such as HMS TAMAR and HMS TYNE. On qualification, I was assigned to a Minehunter Crew as the Navigating Officer, so had additional responsibilities for route and programme planning also. I spent this time across HMS BLYTH, HMS GRIMSBY, HMS PEMBROKE and HMS BANGOR, undertaking mine hunting and NATO operations in the High North, Baltic and Middle East, as well as in UK Waters.

On finishing this role I was selected for Small Vessel Command, assigned to my current role of Commanding Officer of HMS ARCHER. ARCHER is a P2000 Class fast patrol vessel based in Leith, and I’m very excited the operations and exercises planned across Europe and the UK planned for the next couple of years.

What are your achievements?

A lot of a Naval career is about training and readying you for the next step and the next job, so the first few rungs on the ladder have felt like their own achievements, from Passing Out of Officer Training at Dartmouth to successful qualification as an Officer of the Watch. However, selection for Command of HMS ARCHER was a real career highlight to date and felt like the culmination of a few years hard work to reach this point.

What are your favourite memories of Heriot’s?

Saturday mornings at Goldenacre playing for the 1st XV.

The legendary 6th year History trip to Berlin and Mr McCabe’s Advanced Higher History Class.

The fact that so many of my closest friends from Heriot’s remain so 11 years later and I’m sure will do for life.

Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?

Have a real, honest reflection about what makes you tick and what you think will make you feel fulfilled in later life. Think what type of career lines up with that and chase that earnestly, even if it may be a bit of a curve ball or outside your typical frame of reference.