Admiral becomes highest-ranking officer from an ethnic minority

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The Independent Online

A man who emigrated to England from northern Pakistan at the age of three has become the Royal Navy's first admiral from an ethnic minority and the highest-ranking such officer in the armed forces.

Admiral Amjad Hussain, 47, who has three children, came to England in 1962 with his mother, to join his father who was working as a railway signalman.

Having joined the Navy at the age of 17, he was this week promoted from the rank of commodore to admiral, but said he felt like "just another naval officer doing a job for the country".

He added: "I feel lucky and privileged to work in a top-class organisation that treats people equally, with fairness and is underpinned by teamwork. I am lucky to be inspired by my work, more than anything because it is so relevant. I have been inspired by the people I work with and having a very supportive family."

He joined the Navy in 1977 and was sponsored to read engineering science and business administration at the University of Durham. Joining at a time when there were few ethnic minorities in the Navy, he said: "Occasionally, you used to get the odd bout of name calling, but that was more in the early days. But it never affected me or made any difference to my job. When people got to know me, all preconceptions disappeared."

His operational jobs have included inspecting trawler nets, training frigate teams and working as a weapons engineer officer on HMS Invincible, in the Gulf. He has also worked in Whitehall, dealing with the planning of naval equipment support and as a strategic planner for the defence equipment plan. He is now naval business commander in Portsmouth.

Admiral Hussain lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, Wendy, and three children Sam, 15, Zara, 13, and Hannah, nine.