Lt Cdr Maryla Ingham is a Sutton High School old girl who read Law at UCL before joining the Royal Navy at the age of 21 in 1999. She is now the Commanding Officer of HMS BROCKLESBY, a HUNT Class Minesweeper. She is the only female Commanding Officer among the 19 off shore patrol and mine-sweeping vessels in the Royal Navy and commands an all-male Crew of 45 sailors. She is currently leading her team as part of a joint military and industry partnership to bring BROCKLESBY out of an extensive refit with the Ship returning to sea in summer 2017.
In the 18 years since she joined the Royal Navy, Maryla has spent 14 years in warships serving at sea around the World from the Far East to Home Waters. She started her sea going career in HMS CAMPBELTOWN off the coast of Somalia as part of Operation Enduring Freedom following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
She was the only female on her yearlong Principal Warfare Officers Course, learning to fight the Ship from the Operations Room and served as the Operations Officer of the Type 45 destroyer HMS DIAMOND. Having previously navigated the Type 42 Destroyer HMS MANCHESTER, she passed the demanding Aircraft Carrier Navigation Course to become the first female Navigator of HMS OCEAN, the biggest Ship currently in Service in the Royal Navy.
Maryla has commanded three Warships including BROCKLESBY, firstly HMS EXPLOIT where she was also in charge of the Birmingham Universities Royal Naval Unit, helping young people to make the most of their potential and then HMS MIDDLETON deploying to the Arabian Gulf for 7 ½ months as part of the Royal Navy’s presence in the area, helping to keep sea lanes open and ensuring the maritime trade on which we depend could flow freely.
Maryla has proved that women can succeed in a male dominated world and she has operated thousands of miles from home for large parts of her career away from her husband and normal support networks. She said: “The Royal Navy is a meritocracy and although it has been tough at times, the confidence I developed in my time at Sutton High has helped me thrive. Together with hard work and perseverance, it means women can succeed in any career they choose; don't be limited by lack of confidence - the opportunities are there if you want them."