REVEALED: The woman Navy off icer who was injured in nuclear sub mass brawl
THE female Royal Navy officer left with facial injuries following a punch-up at a top secret base was allegedly being bullied over whether or not women should be allowed to serve on submarines.
The Mail on Sunday understands that an investigation into the attack on Lieutenant Kathleen Bartlett – named for the first time today – is focusing on claims that three male officers were mocking her moments before the violence erupted at the Faslane naval base near Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire.
Lt Bartlett required medical attention after apparently being elbowed in the face by a colleague who is now at the centre of a Royal Naval Police investigation.
Two junior seamen who remonstrated with the officers allegedly mocking Lt Bartlett were also attacked. According to Navy sources, one was headbutted.
Despite concerns about the risk of sex scandals, the ban on women serving on board submarines was lifted in 2011. The first female officers joined two years later.
Colleagues of Lt Bartlett last night described her service record as ‘impeccable’.
One Navy source said: ‘Kat is a brilliant young officer who serves as the “casing officer” or CASO aboard HMS Artful.
‘This is an engineering role. It comes with great responsibility and she has proved herself time and again. Those who mocked her should be ashamed of themselves.’
Lt Bartlett, who graduated from Southampton University in 2014, told her family about the incident but has sought to play it down.
Her sister, Deborah Bartlett, 27, said the matter – believed to have taken place a fortnight ago – was ‘being handled by Navy police’.
The three male officers, who could face being kicked out of the Royal Navy, are understood to belong to the crew of a second submarine, HMS Ambush.
Military detectives are studying CCTV footage of the quayside brawl as part of their inquiries.
The Ministry of Defence said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter.
The Royal Navy has refused to provide information about when and where the fight took place and the ranks of those involved.
However, a spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that the Royal Naval Police are investigating an alleged incident involving members of a Scottish-based unit.’
HMS Ambush was launched in 2011 and achieved notoriety five years later off the coast of Gibraltar when she crashed into a tanker, causing £2.1 million of damage.
Commander Justin Codd later pleaded guilty at a court martial to ‘negligently hazarding’ the submarine during a training exercise.
In October, nine submariners from HMS Vigilant, another sub based at Faslane, were booted out of the Navy after failing drug tests following ‘cocaine-fuelled parties’ at a US naval base.
Two of Vigilant’s commanding officers have also found themselves embroiled in controversy due to sexual relationships with subordinates.
Earlier this year, The Mail on Sunday reported that six sailors had been arrested in Florida for drunk and disorderly behaviour after the first transatlantic voyage of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s £3 billion Rosyth-built aircraft carrier.
Police used Tasers to arrest them after a brawl in an Irish bar.
‘BULLIED’:Lt Kathleen Bartlett above, and left in dress uniform, is described as a brilliant young officer