This year’s Royal Navy Photographer of the Year is a former actor who has appeared in TV shows including 'Coronation Street', it has emerged.

Former actor Will Haigh captured this image of 40 Commando Royal Marines, which carried out Exercise Dune Escape in Braunton Burrows, Devon. Pictured is Sgt Michael ‘Taff’ Francis of Alpha Company Fire Support Group [Crown Copyright]

Leading Airman Photographer Will Haigh, 31, triumphed at the annual Peregrine Trophy awards, which are billed as the Royal Navy’s equivalent of the Oscars.

As a teenager, Haigh played Coronation Street character Glen Middleham from November 2000 to January 2001. He also appeared in Holby City and That Peter Kay Thing.

Currently based at Faslane, Scotland, Haigh first worked in mine warfare, before transferring to the photographic branch in 2011. He also served two years with the Royal Marines, taking him to places such as Saudi Arabia and the west coast of Africa.

Haigh is one of 41 Royal Navy photographers who originally join the force as a sailor, working in areas such as logistics, engineering, or as a warfare specialist.

‘After excelling in their chosen field they can then apply to join the elite photographic branch,’ a Royal Navy spokesman explained.

The Royal Navy Photographer of the Year 2016. Awarded to the best portfolio of 4 photographs of Service-related subjects submitted by an individual. Sponsor: Canon HMS Lancaster has come to the end of a busy but successful visit to Lagos, Nigeria. The aim of the visit was to conduct capacity building with the Nigerian Navy in order to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Royal Marines Boarding Team, accompanied by the US Marine Corp team conducted boarding and search training at the Joint Maritime and Surveillance Training Centre Pictured is Marine Chase, during a boarding exercise. MoD Consent form held by the photographer.

Will’s portfolio also documented HMS Lancaster’s visit to Lagos, Nigeria. The aim was to work with the Nigerian Navy, to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. The Royal Marines Boarding Team, accompanied by the US Marine Corp team, conducted boarding and search training at the Joint Maritime and Surveillance Training Centre. Pictured is Marine Chase, during a boarding exercise

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The competition, which dates back to 1961 and is also open to amateurs, pulled in 255 entries.

Commenting on this year’s submissions, the head of the Royal Navy’s Photographic Branch, captain Ian Stidston, said: ‘I could not be more proud of the Navy’s photographers who have managed to capture compelling still and moving images that vividly tell the story of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines on operations.’

He added: ‘This competition confirms how much exceptional talent and professionalism we have in the Navy’s photographic branch – and also the amateur photographers who have taken some brilliant photographs.’

The RN Amateur Open Category Award. Awarded to the single best photograph of an RN/RM theme that combines creativity and impact. Sponsor: Lockheed Martin

The Amateur Open Category Award, for the single best photograph of an RN/RM theme that combines creativity and impact, was won by warrant officer Richard White

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The Peregrine Trophy, which is awarded to the best section or unit, was won by Fleet Regional Photographic Unit (East), based in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The Peregrine Trophy is named after the now-closed HMS Peregrine Royal Naval Air Station at Ford, West Sussex.

The Best Maritime Image Award. Awarded for the best photograph depicting Royal Navy equipment, including ships, submarines, weapon systems and other maritime focused images. Sponsor: FUJIFILM HMS Dauntless Routine Visit to Gibraltar . HMS Dauntless visited the port of Gibraltar as the last planned port visit of her current deployment. The British Colony attached to the south coast of Spain offered the sailors many ways to unwind with its many touristy features prior to their near arrival home.

The Best Maritime Image Award was won by leading airman photographer ‘Simmo’ Simpson. The prize rewards the best photograph depicting Royal Navy equipment, including ships, submarines, weapon systems and other maritime-focused images. Here, HMS Dauntless visits the port of Gibraltar as the last planned port visit of her current deployment. 

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The People’s Choice Award. Awarded to the photographer whose picture has been short listed by Navy News from published images and then voted for by the public.. Sponsor: Adobe. Exercise Black Alligator is an annual exercise held at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Centre where the Royal Marines train alongside their American and Dutch counterparts. Royal Marine's Viking amphibious vehicle under the Mojave Desert night sky.

The People’s Choice Award was awarded to photographer Joel Rouse whose picture was shortlisted by ‘Navy News’, and then voted for by the public. This shot depicts Black Alligator, an annual exercise held at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Centre in the USA, where the Royal Marines train alongside their American and Dutch counterparts. 

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The Commandant General Royal Marines' Prize. Awarded for the best section or unit portfolio of 4 images, depicting the Royal Marines continuous amphibious and expeditionary readiness. Sponsor: Calumet. Winner: Royal Navy Mobile News Team. Beach Assault with Royal Marines and Royal Navy Personnel from 539 Assault Squadron, with an Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC). The winter deployment 16 for the Royal Marines in Harstad, Norway forms part of the NATO COLD RESPONSE 16 Exercise. Developing cold weather warfare skills with the Norwegians, Dutch, and the USMC ensuring the UK has a high-readiness flexible force with a truly global reach.

The Commandant General Royal Marines’ Prize is awarded for the best section or unit portfolio of four images, depicting the Royal Marines continuous amphibious and expeditionary readiness. This photo was taken by photographer Donny Osmond of the Navy Mobile News Team. It shows a beach-assault training exercise in Harstad, Norway

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