Principal Chaplains

Royal Navy - Fr David Conroy QCVS QHC


Fr David Conroy was ordained priest on 19 September, 1992 and subsequently served as a school chaplain, hospital chaplain, prison chaplain and Parish Priest before joining the Royal Navy in September 2000. On completion of his training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth he was appointed as chaplain to 2nd Frigate Squadron, deploying immediately with HMS SHEFFIELD on a 6 month deployment participating in counter-drug operations in the Carribean. Several shorter deployments with the rest of the squadron followed, ending with a move to HMS PORTLAND for her 6 month deployment to the Gulf as she enforced the no-fly zone off Iraq.


In 2002 he was appointed to HMS COLLINGWOOD as Catholic Chaplain and later also took on the role of Chaplaincy Team Leader, heading up chaplaincy provission in western Europe's largest military training establishment. Toward the end of his tour he participated in an exchange with the Royal Australian Navy as part of ‘EX LONGLOOK’. His time at HMAS CRESWELL ended with a Commanding Officers Commendation for his introduction of a ‘Command Watch’ Duty of Care monitoring process.

In 2006 he took over as Chaplaincy Team Leader at HMNB Portsmouth and in 2008 moved to be chaplain to the small ship world, providing pastoral care to the Hunt and River class ships, spending the vast majority of his time deployed.


In 2010 he was appointed Chaplaincy Team Leader at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. In 2011 he deployed to Afghanistan as Joint Aviation Group (JAG) Chaplain on HERRICK 14 for which he received a QCVS in the Operational Honours List. During this time he was the only UK catholic priest in Afghanistan.


In 2012 he was appointed chaplain to the aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and remained with her until she decommissioned in 2014, participating in OP PATWIN as HMS ILLUSTRIOUS delivered humanitarian relief to the Philippines following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.


In 2015 he was appointed to Bahrain as chaplain to the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC), providing pastoral care to all Gulf units and personnel as well as providing Catholic cover for units of the United States Navy Fifth Fleet.


He took up his appointment as Catholic Chaplain and Chaplaincy Team Leader at HMS RALEIGH in February 2016 where he remain until returning to UKMCC in February 2018 to set up the chaplaincy provision within the newly opened Naval Support Facility. In September of that year he took up his appointment as CTL at HMS SULTAN, later appointed Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain (Naval) in early 2019 and at the same time appointed as Honorary Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen (QHC).

"Friend and Advisor To All Onboard"

Army - Fr Michael Fava CBE QHC


Following early years living in East Africa, Fr Michael Fava joined the Benedictine community of Farnborough Abbey in Hampshire where he began ordination studies.  He studied Theology at Oxford where he rowed for his college for a year.  Following graduation he went on to postgraduate studies in London, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1989. He worked in the Abbey’s parish in central Farnborough until 1996.

In 1997 Fr Michael was assigned to the Army as a regular chaplain and served with the Irish Guards before moving to HQ 20 Armoured Brigade.  In 1999 he deployed to Bosnia before posting to HQ 1 Mechanical Brigade with whom he deployed twice: to Sierra Leone in 2001, and Kosovo in 2002.  While at 1 Mechanical Brigade he also served as Staff Chaplain to the Principal RC Chaplain (Army) at MOD Chaplains’ directorate in Upavon, and undertook duty visits to Brunei Garrison.

He has since served with the Grenadier Guards and the Household Cavalry Regiment and deployed again to Bosnia before becoming Senior Chaplain at Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn and then the RC Chaplain at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.  In 2009 Fr Michael was promoted to CF2 (Lt Col) on assignment to HQ British Forces Cyprus where he was also responsible for the provision of chaplaincy decompression briefing at Bloodhound Camp.


He was posted to HQ 43 Wessex Brigade as Deputy Assistant Chaplain General (DACG) in 2011 and undertook regular Repatriation Ceremonies at RAF Lynham and RAF Brize Norton.  He served as Joint Force Senior Chaplain on Op Herrick 18, and travelled throughout theatre to provide RC worship as the only British RC chaplain.  Assignment to HQ 38 (Irish) Brigade as DACG was followed by promotion to CF1 (Col) in September 2015 on becoming Assistant Chaplain General at HQ Force Troops Command.  In 2017 he was appointed as an Honorary Chaplain to HM The Queen (QHC).  He moved on promotion to MOD Chaplains’ Directorate at HQ Army, Andover, in November 2018 as Deputy Chaplain-General.  Fr Michael enjoys ‘slow’ jogging when not against the clock, travel, and is happy to be based in Wiltshire.

"In this Sign Conquer"

Royal Air Force - Deacon David Skillen


Born in 1975 Padre Dave Skillen grew up in west Cumbria.  He attended University College, Bretton Hall (West Yorks), graduating in 1996 with a BA (hons) in Popular Music Studies (Leeds).  Returning to Cumbria Padre Skillen joined Cumbria Constabulary as a Constable and on exiting the service, after almost five years, he entered the world of Catholic Education where he remained until joining the RAF in 2014. 


As a police officer Padre Skillen undertook duties as a Tutor Constable, in community and rural policing, and in public order. Sensing a religious vocation, he left the police in 2002 and trained as a secondary school RE teacher. In his teaching career he taught RE and Music. In 2006 Padre Skillen moved from a teaching role to a Chaplaincy role. He also began training for ministry within the RC Diocese of Lancaster, and was ordained Deacon in July 2010. He served the parish of St Begh (Whitehaven) and in 2011 obtained his Master’s degree in Catholic Pastoral & Educational Studies from The Maryvale Institute, Birmingham (OU).


Ready for a fresh challenge Padre Skillen joined the RAF Chaplains’ Branch in April 2014. Upon graduation from RAF College Cranwell he was posted to RAF Brize Norton as Station Chaplain. During his first tour Padre Skillen was awarded the CO’s Commendation for his work during Op Tailpin (repatriation of 30 British Civilians shot on a beach in Tunisia in 2015).  He also completed a four month detachment to BFSAI as Force Chaplain at the end of which he received the CBF’s Commendation for outstanding service. In July 2016 he was posted to RAF Halton as Station Chaplain, and in January 2019 he was deployed on Op SHADER.  On 1 July 2019 was posted to RAF Odiham as Station Chaplain and on 11 July 2019 he was appointed by The Bishop of the Forces as the Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain for the RAF.


Beyond work, Padre Skillen spends time with friends and family. He is married to Nichola and they have three boys: The family home is always full of visitors! He enjoys sport, especially running, rugby, cycling and snooker. To remain sane, Padre Skillen listens to, plays and writes most types of music.

"Not to be served, but to serve"

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