Prominent Cardiff businessman, pharmacist and public health expert Raj Aggarwal OBE, the first-ever honorary officer for the Royal Navy in Wales, has been promoted to the rank of Honorary Captain. He is affiliated to HMS Dragon.
The promotion has been made official today at a ceremony in Birmingham attended by the Head of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC and Royal Marines Brigadier Graeme ‘Jock’ Fraser.
“Our Honorary Officers are an important and valuable community and I am always grateful for their support to the Royal Navy. Since Raj’s appointment as an Honorary Officer, he has been a tireless advocate for the Service and this promotion reflects his commitment and hard work. A particular highlight was seeing his affiliated ship, HMS Dragon, lit up at sea to celebrate Diwali, in an image that reached audiences throughout the world,” the First Sea Lord said.
Aggarwal, who emigrated from Kenya to Wales in 1967, studied pharmacy at Cardiff University. He managed various stores for Boots in South Wales, before being transferred to London, where he was in charge of some very high profile stores including one at Oxford Street. Aggarwal was also the youngest ever regional manager for Boots.
He is the chairman of RK Aggarwal Ltd, and ran a chain of six pharmacies in and around Cardiff. Aggarwal has been a staunch advocate of the benefits of community pharmacies and the support and advice pharmacists can provide to patients.
He also serves as India’s Honorary Consul in Wales. As chairman of Kidney Wales, he was instrumental in changing the opt-out law for organ donations in Wales, thereby improving organ donation.
Aggarwal received his first honorary commission in the Royal Navy in September 2018 and has since been promoted twice in the Senior Service.
“It is a huge honour to be congratulated personally by the First Sea Lord today on my promotion to the rank of Honorary Captain in the Royal Navy. During my 18-months in the Service I have had some wonderful experiences meeting the most committed and wonderful servicemen and women,” Aggarwal said.
“I want to use my position to create greater diversity in the Navy, to show the community that the Navy are supportive and there are amazing careers on offer, with first-rate skills training and opportunities to see the world,” he added.