NUCLEAR SUB CREW PROBED OVER MASS PUNCH-UP
Female off icer’s ‘jaw broken’ in Faslane brawl
A FEMALE officer on one of Britain’s nuclear submarines was left with serious facial injuries after a fight with three male colleagues at a top-secret military base, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
According to sources, the lieutenant from HMS Artful required hospital treatment for a suspected broken jaw after being struck by one of the men at Faslane dockyard, Dunbartonshire.
A pair of junior seamen who came to her aid were also beaten up in the shocking incident, which will cause
huge embarrassment for Royal Navy chiefs.
According to military sources, senior naval officers were so determined to prevent details leaking out that they forced witnesses to sign confidentiality agreements.
Last night, the Royal Navy confirmed military police were investigating the brawl.
But a spokesman refused to answer basic questions about where and when it took place, and the ranks of those involved, because it was now under investigation.
Speaking anonymously, one witness told The Mail on Sunday the incident involved men from another Astute-class sub, HMS Ambush.
The source said: ‘It happened just over a week ago. Three young male officers from HMS Ambush starting picking on the female officer and verbally abusing her.
‘At first other crew on the dockside just ignored them but it went on too long and she was getting upset.
‘The fight broke out when two juniors from HMS Artful stepped in to protect her. One was headvessels, butted in the face and she was elbowed really hard.
‘The three male officers were really out of control, so I hope Navy chiefs kick them out. I don’t know why they were picking on her, it wasn’t nice to see.
‘The incident was reported and the three officers were removed from HMS Ambush for questioning. I think two of them were cadet officers.
‘They may have already left the submarine service as a result of this incident while the third officer, who is fully qualified, is awaiting the outcome of the naval police inquiry.’
The female officer is said to be an engineer aboard HMS Artful with special responsibility for the sophisticated sonar, tactical and communications systems.
In recent weeks HMS Ambush has been patrolling the North Sea in an effort to prevent incursions into British waters by Russian submarines. She undertook these operations with the Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans. HMS Ambush, which was launched in 2011, achieved notoriety off the coast of Gibraltar in 2016 when she crashed into a tanker, MV Andreas, causing £2.1 million of damage.
Commander Justin Codd later pleaded guilty at a court martial to ‘negligently hazarding’ the sub during a training exercise.
HMS Ambush, one of the Royal Navy’s 7,400-ton Astute-class carries what are described as ‘world-leading sensors to detect other submarines and surface ships’.
Cmdr Codd told the court he had ‘taken his eye off the ball’.
Last October, nine submariners from another Faslane-based boat, HMS Vigilant, were dismissed after it emerged they had failed drugs tests following ‘cocainefuelled parties’ while at a US naval base. Both of Vigilant’s commanding officers also found themselves embroiled in controversy because of sexual affairs with subordinates.
In September, The Mail on Sunday reported how six Royal Navy sailors were arrested in Florida for drunk and disorderly behaviour in the US after the first transatlantic voyage of Britain’s £3 billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, nicknamed ‘Big Lizzie’. Police had to use tasers after a brawl broke out in an Irish bar.
In response to our questions about the Faslane brawl, a Navy spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that the Royal Naval Police are investigating an alleged incident involving members of a Scottish-based unit.
‘As this is an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.’
SECRET BASE: HMS Ambush, on which the male seamen serve, in dock at Faslane
UNRULY: How we reported a previous incident in the US involving sailors from HMS Queen Elizabeth