A ROYAL Navy officer from Leek has been honoured with an MBE.
Lieutenant Commander Tom Knott, aged 30, pictured, has been awarded the accolade in the New Year's Honours list in recognition of his outstanding performance as the Senior Officer of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron and Commanding Officer of HMS Scimitar.
During that time Tom, who is now back in the Staffordshire Moorlands, was responsible for around 24 officers.
Spain disputes UK sovereignty over Gibraltar, which has been ruled by Britain for 300 years.
Tom said: "To be recognised with something like this is amazing.
"It's just a shame that it can only go to one person and not a team, as we are doing a tough job out there in a really sensitive situation."
Tom attended Westwood High School before joining the Royal Navy in 2004 as a Naval College Entrant at BRNC Dartmouth.
Completing his Young Officer Fleet Time onboard HMS Quorn, he attended a Junior Watchkeepers' Course and was subsequently selected to Navigate HMS Walney in 2007.
Immediately deploying to the Mediterranean and Black Sea, HMS Walney conducted several NATO Mine Counter Measures Exercises as part of Operation Orion 07. Further NATO Task Group experience was gained as Force Navigator when Walney conducted Baltic operations.
Proceeding directly to the Fleet Navigating Officers' Course, Tom was appointed to navigate HMS Daring through her commissioning as the first Type 45 Destroyer.
A challenging transformation from trials ship to warship was marked by a successful Operational Sea Training package.
This led to Daring's first deployment where she integrated with the USS Enterprise Carrier Task Group while completing several US East Coast regional engagement visits.
Selected for Command in 2011, Tom was appointed as CO of HMS Scimitar and the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron, a Joint Forces Command unit.
A demanding two years required RNGS to remain at constant high readiness at the pinnacle of RN Fast Patrol Boat operations. This appointment demanded regular Joint Force and FCO interaction, providing valuable exposure prior to completion of Intermediate Maritime Staff Course at the Defence Academy.
An extract from Tom's citation for the award read: "With responsibility for providing force protection for visiting warships and defending sovereignty of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters during a prolonged and challenging period, your judgement, dedication and professionalism in this most politically sensitive and strategically important area were exemplary.
"Against a relentless pace of activity, you demonstrated inspirational leadership: the esprit de corps that you established was invaluable and central to the success of the Squadron.
"A first class ambassador for the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom, you set and achieved the highest standards. Your resilience, resourcefulness and drive were hugely impressive and in the finest traditions of the Service."
Tom said of being awarded the MBE: "Command of HMS Scimitar and the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron was hugely challenging and deeply rewarding, even more so with receipt of this honour."