European Joint Support Unit

European Joint Support Unit


Senior National Representative (SNR) Bio

Captain (RN) Richard Hutchings

Deputy UK National Military Representative and Senior National Representative at SHAPE

Richard Hutchings joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 1996, having read separate degrees in International Finance and European Economics from the University of Nantes (France) and Middlesex University. He attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in 2014, where he was awarded an MA in Defence Studies.

Specialising initially as a submariner, he served in a Nuclear Ballistic Missile submarine and then as a Submarine Operations Controller at Northwood HQ. He transferred to the Surface Fleet in 2002 as assistant Navigator of HMS INVINCIBLE. Completing Principal Warfare Officer training in 2006, he joined HMS WESTMINSTER as the Underwater Warfare and Operations Officer. During his time onboard, the Ship deployed East of Suez engaging in counter-piracy operations, multi- national operations including efforts to offer disaster relief to Burma, as well as operations in support of the UK’s nuclear deterrent. Appointed subsequently to the staff of the Flag Officer Sea Training, he was responsible for planning and delivering warfare training to RN and foreign ships.

Richard has had the privilege of three sea commands. His first was HMS SABRE from 2004-2006, a fast patrol boat in Gibraltar providing maritime force protection for shipping and territorial waters. From 2011-2013, his command of Crew 1 within the First Mine Counter-Measures Squadron saw rotations between four Sandown Class Minehunters. Tasking included two operational deployments in the Gulf as part of the expeditionary Mine Counter-Measures Force and operations around the UK. From 2015-16, he commanded HMS ST ALBANS, a specialist anti-submarine warfare frigate. Following a deployment East of Suez that undertook a diverse array of operational tasks as well as diplomatic and military engagement activities, the Ship was awarded both the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare and Frigate Effectiveness Trophies.

Since 2016, he has worked in the areas of Capability Management and Acquisition, and Defence Engagement. As the RN’s Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer for two years at Navy Command HQ, he was responsible for managing in-service systems, capability development, and relationships with other nations and NATO. During this time, he created and managed the delivery of a very significant investment programme to upgrade and introduce new elements of Anti- Submarine Warfare capability. He then moved to NATO HQ in Brussels, seconded to the Policy and Capability Division of the International Military Staff, working as the Maritime Armaments Officer in NATO’s defence (capability) planning area. Maintaining his career focus on NATO, he was appointed as Deputy UK National Military Representative to SHAPE in August 2021.

Living in Belgium since 2019, Richard and his wife have two children. His main interests include rugby, cycling, and dinghy sailing.

The Team

Senior National Representative (SNR)
Capt (RN) Richard Hutchings

Deputy Senior National Representative (DEP SNR)
Wg Cdr ‘Billy’ Kid
Head of Location
WO1 (Debs) Fairclough x 8060 – SHAPE Home Page

Community HUB

The Community Hub team are here to support the whole UK community here at SHAPE. We keep you informed of things that are happening and are your voice to take any concerns you have to the Head of Location and Senior National Representative. We can help provide you with information and advice when you first arrive, and throughout your time at SHAPE, and we help facilitate ways for the members of the community to connect with each other. We are always on the look out for volunteers to help us achieve this and can provide training, support and guidance for anything you might wish to take on.

Get in Touch: Email Us:

Call us: +32 (0) 476 96 65 25

Community Liaison Officers
Mrs Rachael Evans
Mrs Rosie McEwan
Mrs Siv Gunther

Host Nation Liaison Officer
Mrs Nadia El Hamdi

Mrs Hannah Smith

Contact the SNR
Useful Information

EJSU ORDERS – European Joint Support Unit


Many of our community have received a letter similar, or even identical, to the attached and are unsure as to what it means or what to do about it so I thought I would give some background information and then direction.

Due to the UK’s exit from the EU in January this year the residency rules have changed for those who are resident in the EU but hold a UK citizenship.  Early this year letters were distributed by the Belgium Immigration Office informing those non-Belgium residents that the rules had changed and that the Residency card held had changed, it also gave a deadline for applying to transfer to the new ‘M’ Residency card.

This letter is a follow up reminder (albeit the only letter some of you will have received if you arrived through the year) that the deadline for the applications is due to expire at the end of the year.

So What?

Quite simply the change in residency status DOES NOT apply to those who hold, or are entitled to hold, a special Protocol ID, therefore all personnel supported by the UK NSE, either as an employee or a family member, will retain their rights to the Protocol ID.  The process and rules for application, renewal and cancellation of Protocol IDs have not changed due to Brexit, this means that for those with an Protocol ID (or those who have applied for or will be applying for one) there is NO FURTHER ACTION required.

This message does not apply to those who may have applied to work on the Belgium Net or those who do not have an entitlement to a Protocol ID.  If you fall into one of those brackets the advice is to go and speak with your local commune to ensure there is no action for you. 

The NSE is not able to advise personnel on their residency status if it is outside of the special Protocol ID guidelines, the HNLO may be able to assist in some circumstances – please email the Community Hub mailbox ( with your issue/question.

SHAPE Brit Bar