June was particularly special this year for an Army chef who started out his career in the hotel scene in London and the Home Counties. Warrant Officer Class One Simon Griffiths has celebrated his formal investiture into the Honourable and Ancient Appointment of Conductor at The Royal Logistic Corps Headquarters in Hampshire. He is one of five Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) Senior Soldiers to have been granted the position of Conductor this year, which is enshrined in Queens Regulations and endows those appointed with seniority within the Army and in their trade profession.
Perhaps the earliest recorded mention of Conductors was in a Statute of Westminster of 1327 whereby Edward III enacted that wages of Conductors (Conveyors) of soldiers from the Shires to the place of Assembly would no longer be a charge upon the Shire. As long ago as the Siege of Boulogne in 1544, there were Conductors of Ordnance. There were also Conductors in the train of artillery assembled in 1618.
Today this proud heritage has been carried forward into The RLC which formed on 5 April 1993. The Corps was formed from the Royal Corps of Transport, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, the Royal Pioneers, the Army Catering Corps and Royal Engineers (Postal and Courier Service).
His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, who is the RLC Deputy Colonel in Chief, was the guest of honour and had the privilege of presenting Simon with his Parchment. HRH The Duke of Gloucester was accompanied by Lieutenant General M W Poffley OBE, who said he was delighted to welcome HRH to the Ceremony and thanked him for taking the time to celebrate with the Corps personnel in their achievement.
As a senior tradesman in the Army Simon, who is based at Army Headquarters in Andover, leads a team of over 2,400 Regular and Reserve military chefs and has to demonstrate his technical knowledge along with the drive to lead and develop his trade group forward into an exciting and dynamic place to work. With military chefs based all over the world in some thirty countries, barracks located the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, along with two catering schools in the UK and support to three international catering schools, he has his work cut out.
Simon said “Coming from a background in the hospitality industry before joining the Army, working at Hanbury Manor, Claridge’s and the Savoy, I was fully prepared for a career in the military. My time working for John Williams at Claridge’s and Paul Knight at Hanbury Manor gave me a strong foundation to build upon and Rory Kennedy, before he passed away at Rules in 1997, instilled a passion to succeed and discipline comparable to even the hardest unit in the Army. I am so grateful to these three chefs for their tutelage.”
Joining the Army in 1998 he has served all over the world from Belize to Kenya and Germany to Cyprus. During the early part of his career the experience he gained before joining the Army made him the best fit to support household staff officer duties. He was subsequently selected to conduct executive level roles where he worked for the Chief of the General Staff and members of the Royal Family.
Throughout his service he has been known for his ability to support high class and sensitive events, often in austere locations with a limited budget. Regularly selected for roles where a pragmatic and personable approach was required to get the best support for soldiers on the ground, he was deployed on operation to Afghanistan to support collation special forces at the front line over a two-year period. Frequently at the heart of the action he would happily hang up his apron to join patrols with those he served with or offer cookery classes in front line bases to enhance the morale of the troops. Passionate about his trade he has constantly strived to enhance training and development opportunities for his team.
Simon said “The Army has been a fantastic adventure, far better than I could ever have imagined; I would recommend it to anyone. Michelin stars are an amazing achievement for those who strive to attain them, but the rewards gained for supporting those who selflessly serve to protect our country is at the next level. I have never had a dull day, the opportunities that are quite literally thrown at you make it a truly unique environment to work in. More importantly the chefs, by their very nature, make every day full throttle and exciting; I am very lucky.”
H&C News would like to congratulate Warrant Officer Class One Simon Griffiths on his formal investiture into the Honourable and Ancient Appointment of Conductor, well done and thank you for your service chef.