Meet the real Lieutenant Commander Bond
From surveying in the Antarctic, to working with the future First Sea Lord on NATO’s largest exercise, Lieutenant Commander Frances Bond has had an action-packed Royal Navy career
“I had a fear of going into a job and being tied to a desk and doing the same thing every single day in my working life.”
After graduating from university, Lt Cdr Bond joined the Royal Navy as a warfare officer in 2008. Specialising as a forecaster and supporting front line operations, her role has taken her on exercise in Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil, Malaysia and the Caribbean, as well as the furthest reaches of the Antarctic.
“What originally sparked my interest was meeting a Navy officer who came and did a leadership day while I was at sixth form. I really liked the confidence that the officers had when they walked into the room.
“I joined the Royal Navy because it offered a purposeful career with opportunities for travel and the possibility of adventure. I wanted to stay for as long as I was enjoying myself…and I still am!”
Lt Cdr Bond was recently invited to meet Daniel Craig as he was made an honorary Royal Navy Commander ahead of the premiere of the latest Bond film, No Time To Die.
“There are some strange similarities between what we do. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world during my service with the Royal Navy, like the cast have too with their filming locations.”
In 2012, Lt Cdr Bond deployed on one of her most adventurous missions, visiting some of the most remote locations in the world. Whilst on board HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s only Ice Patrol Vessel, she spent two years working across four continents, including deploying to the Antarctic.
Her role included conducting vital survey operations in previously uncharted waters to ensure that future seafarers could safely navigate, as well as carrying out inspections of international scientific research bases across the continent.
“Experiencing the sheer majesty of glaciers, ice floes, penguins, seals and sharks, high seas and blizzards as part of my day job was phenomenal.
“I’ll never forget looking out the window and actually seeing a massive glacier miles and miles long, and feeling like I was on a tiny little ship in this vast wilderness. It’s a feeling of immersion in a natural environment that’s totally unspoiled.”
In 2015, she deployed on Exercise Trident Juncture 15 — the largest NATO exercise in 20 years, with 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations. As Flag Lieutenant to the Maritime Commander of the exercise, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin (now the Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord) she played a vital role.
“You know that you are a really small cog in a really big machine that has a much greater purpose. So, in that sense it was very rewarding to be involved in an exercise that was sending out a global message in terms of NATO.”
Since then Lt Cdr Bond has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and taken on a number of different roles across the Navy. Recently returned from maternity leave, she has found the flexibility of her role very helpful as she juggles her career with family commitments.
“When I joined I assumed it would be impossible to manage a family life alongside this career, but now as a new parent I am excited looking ahead to achieve a balance. The chance to broaden my experiences has ensured variety and satisfaction and the friends I have made along the way make it far more than just a job.
“For someone considering joining I would say; the training and the professional development opportunities together with the variety of roles you will carry out will set you up for success regardless of how long you serve.”