The captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth has been “reassigned to a new role”, according to the Royal Navy. The decision is understood to be in response to his alleged misuse of a Royal Navy car, first reported by The Sun

In a statement, a Royal Navy Spokesperson said:

“We can confirm Captain Nick Cooke-Priest has been reassigned to a new role. We can only say that management action is ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.”

The Sun reported that he had displayed an “error of judgment” by driving a Royal Navy car for personal use. He paid for petrol and there is no allegation of fraud.

The crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth – currently docked alongside HMS Prince of Wales at Rosyth in Scotland – were informed of the news yesterday.

Cooke-Priest took over from Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, now the Fleet Commander, in October 2018.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1990 as a Lynx helicopter observer. In 2009 he took command of Type 23 frigate HMS Kent, and subsequently commanded HMS Bulwark in 2015. He was responsible for coordinating the ship’s response to the migrant crises in the Mediterranean.

Captain Steve Moorhouse, currently Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, will take over command of HMS Queen Elizabeth. He previously commanded HMS Lancaster and HMS Ocean.

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A difficult issue, but if true, the Navy has lost a huge talent or he would not have been chosen in the first place. I can’t help thinking the so call ‘misdemeanor’ has been overplayed somewhat?


Did you notice the humanity and commonsense with which he dealt with those 3 or 4 matelots who drank too much when on shore leave in USA? Capt Kyd should have been treated similarly.

Dean Westwood

Hello, I’m just in the middle of watching The Rise of the Super carrier. I just finished the episode where the HMS Queen Elizabeth was in Florida for the first time.. I’m so pissed off at the way those Lads were treated. Not that they got into a tussle and were arrested but that they were vilified by the Press. I live on the west coast of the United States in Portland Oregon and we enjoy our beer and drink here very much. It’s not uncommon for people to get their drink on and get rowdy and it’s certainly not… Read more »


Surely this should just be a quiet slap on the wrist behind closed doors? This seems extreme, unless the reason is being used to cover up more embarrassing failings.


Wow, wonder what happens if they used a royal navy photocopier.. probably get kicked out.


Dearie me, that’s drastic for such a small infraction. Now a new CO will have to get to know the ship and its company.


Pity… I have served with the guy when he was a FLOBS and a PWO and met him again after I had left the RN and he was driving Kent.
Problem is that if someone in the crew messes up doing a travel expenses claim it will go to Captains Table for punishment. Any smart arse will simple say.. ” well you used to use the Company Car for your own use boss”. He has left himself wide open to compromise.

Nigel Godfrey

HRHIP. (Higher rank has it’s privileges). Such a command is more onerous than people give credit for and if such use allows him to cope with such responsibilities, then he should be able to designate the use of a vehicle under his command with impunity! Ratings are sent to Captains for having spits in mess – and the wardroom and SR’s have spirits – so your argument does not hold water. deliberate fraud of an expense claim is very different from the skipper using the vessel’s vehicle for his own, probably occasional use! I mean what vessel vehicle has NOT… Read more »


Submarine trainer crashes Astute class sub, pay frozen for a year, QE2 captain uses company car but pays for fuel, removed from post?


Was the Captain caught giving Gavin Williamson a ride after he was sacked?

All jokes aside, this seems to be a harsh punishment. Harsher still by the very public nature of the dismissal. Really makes you wonder if there is more to this story than what they are releasing.




i cannot see why he should be reassigned if he has payed for fuel himself,a different matter if he claimed the fuel back,i wonder how many admirals or other higher command officials have abused the system worse and got away with it,maybe his face did not fit in the club..and considering MP,s abuse the system even more than anyone else in society and get away with it i think it,s a harsh punishment,unless there is another issue we don,t know about


How pathetic of The Sun, but why were they investigating him anyway ?

Chris J

I don’t think the Sun ‘grassed’ on him as such, merely they were one of the first to report the Navy’s decision.


Not to be cynical but the Twitter extract states they are taking ‘55,000 tonnes of #GlobalBritain into DT-2 and onto Initial Operating Capability Maritime’.

55,000 tonnes? Maybe their Account administrator needs sacking too.

Chris J

I have to say this sounds like a quite an over reaction. I’d always thought the use of the ship’s car was a ‘perk’ of the job for the Captain? Clearly not… Had the Captain been using it and not paying for his fuel I could maybe understand the fraud element of it, but on this reporting that doesn’t seem to be the case. That said, I can understand the issues around disciplining his crew as mentioned by Gunbuster below, but surely a public mea culpa and a slap on the wrists from upon high should suffice for what is… Read more »

Chris H

I feel its a tad over dramatic and I am not sure they thought through the crew morale side of this either. The new Skipper will have a big job now to overcome resentment. And there is also one other facet to this. There are reports that apparently he was never warned that using the Ford Galaxy for personal journeys was in breach of rules. Yes rules are rules but this could have been handled very differently and (IMHO) more professionally. Dock his pay, have him ‘clear lower decks’ and address his crew and apologise explaining to them where he… Read more »


Do I detect the hand of a MOD civil servant here?


Mike, you are grossly overestimating the power of the civil service.
There will be more to this than a ‘borrowed’ job car.
And before anyone says he wasn’t told he couldn’t use it at weekends for his own use, he’s a Captain in the RN with a great deal of life experience , not an idiot.
Although technically a criminal offence as a TWOC, I’ve seen far worse brushed under the carpet.


Gfor, you are quite correct that I am overestimating but, having experienced at first hand some of the shenanigans of e.g. Civ Sec Finance in the early 1990’s, pardon me for being so cynical!

You are also correct, I too have seen much worse swept under the carpet with junior officers thrown to the wolves for very minor breaches for the sake of setting an example.

Nigel Godfrey

…or some service jumped up jobs worth trying to make a name for themselves or some malicious agenda…

Daniele Mandelli

Politics. There might be more to this than meets the eye.

Nick C

I’m with you on this one. I suspect that this reflects a p*ssing contest going on at the top, and some one with ambition saw the opportunity to knife a rival.




Nigel Godfrey

I’d really like to think this is not the case! A ‘rival’? That is a dangerous game if so!


I don’t know how this merits a dismissal when a married submarine commander was demoted for bedding one of his crew. Is that not a more serious offence. Not like he was swindling actual money. Something else is going on and he has been dismissed on a technicality.


I wonder how many of us have not done something similar? I know I certainly have back in the day and nothing been said, changing times when you have to be whiter than white or the biggest crime of all, getting caught.


Im still shocked it was a sackable offence. There must be more than meets the eye if his record is spotless apart from that. No verbal or written warning about using a car at weekends, even if he was using fuel for personal use if he was told to pay it back I can’t see it being sackable.
This is the public service remember the legal hoops you have to jump through to sack someone is unbelievable.


He has been removed from post, not dismissed from the service. At first glance this may seem very minor, however, he should have known better and any junior rank would have been punished for this.
Whilst driving the car, on private business,he would not have been covered by Mod insurance and indeed may have committed the offence of TWOC. He has potentially been dishonest.

Nigel Godfrey

TWOC?? Don’t be an arse! He is the CO and gave himself consent! A CO of a capital ship should be allowed personal use of HIS designated vehicle if it helps relieve the considerable burden of command.


I’ll not insult you in my reply, i only hope that you show those you meet face to face with a little more respect. The fact is the car isn’t HIS, it belongs to the MoD (or more likely a lease company) and therefore it’s irrelevant that he gave himself consent. I agree that he should be given personal use of it but unfortunately it would seem the regulations say otherwise. It’s a shame that whilst politicians can falsely claim tens of thousands on expenses and get away with paying it back and then carry on as before, the captain… Read more »


Whaaaa? Who the heck has a company car you cant use weekends if you cover the fuel. This is an executive role. Photocopier service engineers get better.


It’s also public money.
I’m sure you have seen many comments in the media and on this site and others that all public servants are abusing the system.
Photocopier engineers get treated better in several areas I’m afraid

Nick Hallam

Abysmal thinking by Navy to sack Big Lizzie’s Captain Cooke. They should be forced to wash out their brains with pusser’s hard

Bryan Evans

There has to be more to this story, or it is a GROSS over reaction by someone


Wait for judgement until the facts of this come out. Relying on fish-wrap for your facts is never a good idea.


Join the discussion…


By all accounts the QE has lost a very capable commander for what? Seems way to harsh

David E Flandry

Why is he even given a personal car if not to use? He paid got the fuel, so what is the problem?


There in lies the rub.
It never was his personal car. It was ships transport for use by the crew or the CO.
It would have had all the usual Mod rules applied to it. Vehicle milage recording forms. Signing for pre start Checks. The insurance would not have been valid for personal journeys. Devaluing the resale value of an asset by racking up the milage by going weekenders.
Add to that its also a taxable perk. I doubt that was considered either. Expect HMRC to get involved now.

andy reeves

strange story, i wonder what the real story is.


Here in South Africa, corruption in government and quasi government bodies is mind boggling in scale and frequency and punishment for offences that would attract long Jail sentences in the UK or USA for example simply do not happen. Ramaphosa is trying to turn things around from the damage and destruction wrought by the evil President Zuma but he has an uphill task. Captain Cooke-Priest’s ‘offence’ would not even attract a slap on the wrist here! You guys have it far too extreme in the opposite direction unless as some have commented there is something we are not being told.

big grim

There is likely more to this than we know.
With getting the QE he was clearly being viewed for further promotion, but with a limited number of commodore positions the competition is always tight. Slightest misstep can be fatal to career. Career prospects get tighter and tighter the further up you go.
In all likely hood, his P45 is now filed as pending.

H4cked Off

He already holds the rank of Commodore.

Looks like he’s been hung out to dry for something that we’ll probably never know the full facts of…


On the plus side he did get into the top 10 of the top gear test track challenge

Dave O

Is it 1st April again already?

Nigel Godfrey

I feel people do under-rate the stress and complexities of commanding such a vessel.
A Captain of a capital ship should have the authority to designate with impunity the use of a vehicle if it helps him cope with these extreme pressures.
If this is purely some jumped up jobs-worth trying to make a name for themselves – then this action is abhorrent and disproportionate, and should be reversed and the ‘jumped-up job-worth’ suitably castigated.

Nigel Godfrey

Of course he may have done this on purpose as he may not want the Command! It is a big hassle – and maybe after accepting it – he thought Í can do without this – lets see if I can save face and get myself dismissed’. I have known one CO of a significant RN vessel do this – and he spent the rest of his career driving a desk in his home town – which was very OK for him!


An update today seems to suggest the Capt. had been given warnings on numerous occasions and he chose to ignore them. If thats the case then he has shown a clear error of judgement. Time will tell the true version of events.