Royal Navy Officer
Lieutenant Commander Carla Higgins Royal Navy
Carla was born in Wolverhampton and lived in Codsall until she joined the Royal Navy at the age of 20. She attended Codsall Community High School to complete A Levels whilst also working at the Leisure Centre and gym for several years. Whilst growing up she would often listen to her Grandparents’ stories of the Royal Navy and despite being far from the coastline, she believes that this was one of the motivations for later joining the military herself.
Carla joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 2005 and completed various phases of training at Britannia Royal Naval College, HM Ships Campbeltown, Kent and Mersey. On completion of training, she was appointed as Officer of the Watch 2 of HMS Exeter. During her time onboard she formed the ship’s intelligence team whilst conducting maritime security operations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and later obtained her “blue nose” in the Arctic Circle. She served with HMS Exeter until it’s decommissioning in 2008, when she was appointed to HMS Edinburgh conducting multi-national Mediterranean exercises, before taking her into upkeep in Portsmouth in July 2009.
Making use of her newly gained intelligence experience she conducted a 6 month Operational Tour as an Intelligence Officer to UK Maritime Component Commander located in Bahrain prior to joining HMS Diamond as Officer of the Watch 1 in Glasgow as part of the build crew, where she remained a core member of the team beyond the Ship’s Commissioning.
Throughout 2011 she completed various professional courses before being appointed to HMS Dragon as the first female Navigating Officer of the Type 45 Class Destroyers, sailing on Dragon’s maiden operational deployment. Only 5 weeks prior to departing for the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean she married Alex Higgins, also serving on board another warship, and also deploying to the Arabian Gulf at the same time. They were very much “ships passing in the night” until they both moved to live in Portsmouth together.
On returning from 8 months deployed she qualified and was selected for Small Vessel Command and stepped in to her Command of HMS Raider, one of two ships that form Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron providing force protection and security escort to vessels on the Clyde, West Scotland. This later lead to taking over as the first Female Squadron Commander of Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron where she also showed a keenness to support the fellow females across the naval base in being Vice-Chair for the Naval Servicewomen’s Network (Northern Region).
Now 33 years old, she has been promoted twice and is currently under further training to become a Principal Warfare Officer with a drive and aspiration to become a Commanding Officer again in the coming years of her career whilst also continuing to study for Honours and Masters degrees.
Over the course of her school years and her time in the Royal Navy she has continued her interest in sport, initially netball, playing for her village, town, county and later the Navy. However, her interest and sporting focus has now turned to her love for swimming, cycling and running that combine together to make Triathlon. She is also a committee member of her local Triathlon Club, Portsmouth Triathletes, and has recently helped lead the club to completing her first ultimate challenge that is IRONMAN Barcelona.
Never forgetting where her roots lie in Wolverhampton, she routinely returns to visit family and friends and is very proud to say that she serves in the Royal Navy and has previously represented the Royal Navy at the City’s Remembrance parades. She also endeavors to return to the schools she attended (Birches First, Bilbrook Middle and Codsall Community High) to encourage younger generations to explore their options in the Royal Navy and beyond.