Serving Overseas and Still Making Time to Volunteer

Adm Guy Robinson presents Jamie Campbell-Baldwin with his Value the Volunteer award. Image © Crown copyright.
Jamie with his RNRU Mariners’ team mates at the 2017 RNRU dinner. Image Royal Navy Rugby Union © Mark Giles.
Jamie with Tris Trehan modelling the RN North and RN East playing shirts in 2016. Image credit © Crown copyright.
A rare photo of Jamie actually playing rugby with the RNRU Mariners! Image Royal Navy Rugby Union © Mark Andrews.

Jamie Campbell-Baldwin was delighted to be presented with his Royal Navy Rugby Union Value the Volunteer award by Rear Admiral Guy Robinson, Deputy Commander Strike Force NATO.  Lieutenant Commander Campbell-Baldwin finds time to volunteer for the Royal Navy Rugby Union while working on the Admiral’s Battle Staff in Lisbon.

At the Royal Navy Rugby Union Annual General Meeting in November, Volunteers’ Manager Kirsty Marlor announced a record seven Value the Volunteer (VtV) awards, many of which were presented on the day, to volunteers who have contributed to the output and charitable aims of the Royal Navy Rugby Union throughout 2019.  Jamie Campbell-Baldwin was announced as a recipient of the award but due to his current job, as part of the NATO Battle Staff based in Lisbon, he was not able to collect his award on the day. Instead, the award was dispatched to the senior British Officer in the Headquarters, Rear Admiral Guy Robinson, who presented the award at the NATO Headquarters in Portugal. 

Jamie is one of the few warfare officers on the NATO Battle Staff and his “day job” sees him advising the Admiral on Above Water Warfare operations, Air/ Maritime coordination and when needs must, Anti-Submarine Warfare.  Jamie has had the opportunity to work with a broad range of NATO colleagues from the Baltic states, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean bordering countries and beyond to the USA. He has embarked on the warship USS Mount Whitney for Major Joint Operations scale exercises in the Norwegian Sea in winter as well as the Mediterranean in the summer. Being a NATO officer, he is typically out of office at least once a month attending briefs, meetings and conferences abroad but when he returns home it is always sunny! 

Commander Sarah Oakley, RNRU Vice Chair, nominated Jamie for his award.  In her previous role as the Director of Communications, Jamie provided unstinting support as her deputy, assisting in all manner of tasks, from writing match reports, taking photographs, designing posters, helping to host guests and even modelling shirts for promotional material!  What has been most notable is Jamie’s commitment to the RNRU.  So much so that even when he has been deployed at sea, or overseas, he has managed to find the time to combine his love of rugby with volunteering for the RNRU. 

On his operational tour to Bahrain (2017-18), as well as coaching the Bahrain Under 19s and playing for the Select XV and ‘Golden Oldies’, he assisted with the decoration of the new “All Ranks” recreational spaces in the Naval Support Facility. He made overtures to the three single service unions and asked them to contribute an Inter Service playing shirt. He also managed to scrounge signed Bath, Glasgow Warriors and Gosport and Fareham RFC rugby shirts too. Subsequently the shirts were framed making a great backdrop as service personnel watch the Six Nations and the Inter Service matches over the British Forces Broadcasting Service TV during their precious down time in Bahrain. 

When asked why he volunteered Jamie said, “I have played rugby since I was 9 but reached a natural hiatus at university. On joining the Navy, I got back into it playing in ship and establishment sides. As my playing days began to dwindle, I started volunteering to stay connected to the preeminent team sport; I love the camaraderie of service sport.” He sites one of the highlights of his volunteering as being part of the hosting group for the USA Eagles who came to Portsmouth and HMS Temeraire for their Rugby World Cup preparations in 2015. 

While in Portugal Jamie has continued to promote the RNRU, firstly by distributing kit to a local community project and secondly by encouraging the RNRU Rugby Development Officer, Ady Cherrington, to conduct a coaching seminar in Lisbon.  He is still keen to contribute articles for publication to the website too.

In the coming weeks we will let you know more about the other recipients of the 2019 Value the Volunteer awards.

Would you like to get involved with the RNRU?  The Royal Navy Rugby Union are always keen to hear from anyone wishing to get involved, whether it be as a player, a coach, team manager, referee or as a more general volunteer. Send an email to for more details.