Nick Tobin joined the minesweeper HMS Glasserton 1963 after graduating from Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; he then trained as a Fighter Controller and served in the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and the destroyer HMS Aisne from 1964 to 1968. Next, having completed the Long Direction (Air Warfare) Course, he was appointed to the guided missile destroyer HMS London in 1970 and later served ashore in HMS Dryad and the then Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment where he developed military data links in both national and NATO fora until 1974. Consecutive commands of the patrol crafts (converted minesweepers) HM Ships Beachampton and Wolverton in Hong Kong and its surrounding seas kept him busy until 1976 when he returned to the United Kingdom to undergo staff training before another sea appointment as the Deputy Direction Officer in the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Promoted to Commander in 1978 he taught at the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich as a member of the Directing Staff.
Nick assumed command of the frigate HMS Antelope in early 1981 and, during the campaign to recover the Falklands after the Argentine invaded the islands in 1982, his ship was bombed and later sank in San Carlos Water on 23 May. On his return from the South Atlantic, he served first as a Staff Officer in the Naval Staff and then as the Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff in the Ministry of Defence. Following his promotion to Captain in 1986, he was accredited to Japan as the Defence and Naval Attaché, based in the British Embassy in Tokyo. Returning to London in 1990, he headed the Warfare Branch Development Team where he masterminded a major shift in the way the Royal Navy trained and employed its service personnel. In 1994, following 18 months as the Director of Naval Manning and Training (Seaman), he was selected to set up and head the key Directorate of Naval Manning in London and Portsmouth.
He retired from 34 stimulating years in the Royal Navy in 1996 aged 51, first serving as a Bursar at Magdalene College, Cambridge until 2002, and then working as an Operational Director in the voluntary sector for a company that brokered the recruitment of the over 50s as volunteers in the West Midland and the South West Regions. Appointed as the Director of International Projects with The Experience Corps Ltd in 2005, he is also a Senior Consultant with Steele Rose Ltd, a Salisbury-based will writing and estate planning company.
Nick was brought up and educated in Kenya. He married Josephine Fisher in 1976. They live in Bath and have one daughter, Naomi, who is a yacht interior designer in London.