Peter Sparkes became the Acting Chief Executive of the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) in July 2020 and was subsequently appointed Chief Executive in May 2021. To take up the role formally, he will leave the Royal Navy in October 2021
Born and educated in Liverpool, UK, Peter joined the Royal Navy as a graduate entrant Surface Warfare officer in 1990. Following successive frontline seagoing roles, on operations in
in the Arabian Gulf, the Adriatic, and in the North and Western Atlantic, he qualified as a Principal Warfare Officer in 1998, specialising in Communications and Electronic Warfare. As Operations Officer of the amphibious flagship HMS FEARLESS he served in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Peter was subsequently selected to be the Executive Officer and second in command of the frigate HMS NORFOLK, deploying to Iraq in 2003.
As a Commander, he commanded the frigate HMS CUMBERLAND on a notably successful counter-piracy deployment to the Gulf of Aden in 2008. Upon promotion to Captain in 2010, Peter was charged with the generation of the UK’s replacement Ice Patrol Ship, HMS PROTECTOR. Thereafter, he commanded the Royal Navy’s ice-breaker on two fascinating austral summer deployments to Antarctica. As a Commodore (1*), he had the privilege of commanding the 46 units (aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, mine-hunters, patrol vessels, and the UK maritime explosive ordinance disposal teams) of the Portsmouth Flotilla. An assignment which included overseeing the acceptance into service of the QUEEN ELIZABETH Class aircraft carriers.
Ashore, Peter Sparkes has served in Ministry of Defence acquisition appointments, with a remit of defining Joint information warfare and maritime situational awareness capabilities. This included the development of Royal Navy’s Warship Electronic Charting Display Information System (WECDIS). Within Navy Command he specialised in personnel management and had responsibility for, and oversight of, all Royal Navy and Royal Marine officer and other rank career management below the rank of Captain / Colonel. As a Captain he was the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) J5 lead for operational planning in Africa and the South Atlantic. Latterly, he was privileged to serve in Washington DC as the UK Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (2018 – 2019). Peter was promoted to Rear Admiral (2*) and joined the UKHO as the National Hydrographer in October 2019.
Peter’s wife, Karen, is a teacher. Their son is a Royal Navy medical officer. A graduate of the Higher Command and Staff Course and the US Capstone Course, Peter is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, a Freeman of the City of London, and an Honorary Liveryman. He enjoys a variety of outdoor pursuits, cooking curries, and he is an avid supporter of Liverpool football club.