Nuclear sub pair removed in affairs probe
Navy top brass investigate alleged affairs
Asecond senior officer has been removed from a nuclear submarine for an alleged improper relationship with a colleague.
Commander Stuart Armstrong was relieved of his duties last week as top brass probed allegations his relationship with a female subordinate was “closer than it should have been”.
It emerged yesterday that his second-in-command was also removed at the same time amid allegations of a separate improper relationship with a different female subordinate.
The executive officer on HMS Vigilant – a Vanguard class submarine based at Faslane in Argyll and Bute – has not been named.
The Royal Navy last night confirmed an investigation was under way but stressed the probe would not affect operations.
“Any allegations of wrongdoing are taken very seriously and will be dealt with appropriately,” a spokesman said. “We will not discuss details relating to the individuals, that is a matter between the individual and their employer.”
Two senior officers are believed to have flown from Scotland to the US, where the boat was deployed, to deal with the fallout.
It is understood naval chiefs are furious with the alleged breach of discipline and are deeply embarrassed the situation has become public.
Defence commentator Tim Ripley said a situation where two senior officers were being investigated at the same time was “unprecedented”.
“These people have to be seen to be beyond reproach and that is why the matter is being taken so seriously by the Navy top brass,” he said.
“It is very unusual for two senior officers to have their integrity questioned like this.”
Relationships within the same command chain are banned on submarines and warships for fear they will lead to favouritism that undermines discipline.
All Royal Navy vessels have a “no touching rule” that prohibits intimate relationships on board, but the Navy takes a particularly harsh view when it might affect the chain of command.
Faslane-based HMS Vigilant: claims of two affairs are being probed