NU­CLEAR SUB CREW PROBED OVER MASS PUNCH-UP

Fe­male off icer’s ‘jaw bro­ken’ in Faslane brawl

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Front Page - By Mark Ni­col

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

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