Victorious summer ends with divisions for submarine’s crew

A summer of high-points for the crew of nuclear deterrent submarine HMS Victorious concluded with divisions for the men of the boat’s Gold Crew. The submariners, who earlier this year completed the 100th patrol by a Vanguard-class boat, formed up for their Commanding Officer Cdr John Livesey at Clyde Naval Base’s off-site facility in Rhu.

A chuck-up from Top Gear, praise from NATO, a visit from the prime minister. It’s been a good summer for the crew of HMS Victorious, capped by divisions on a gloriously sunny day in their native Faslane.

The 135 submariners who crew one of the Silent Service’s four ballistic missile boats which carries the nation’s ultimate deterrence, its Trident nuclear missiles, formed up for their Commanding Officer, Cdr John Livesey.

Just a few weeks ago his boat completed the 100th deterrence patrol by a Vanguard-class boat since the submarines took over the duties from the previous generation of Resolution-class submarines in the 1990s.

That milestone prompted a public thank-you from NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a visit from Premier David Cameron who joined the 16,000-ton boat for her voyage up the Clyde, and a short video from the Top Gear team who filmed a message of thanks on the Kenyan-Tanzanian border...

…which is rather less exotic than HM Naval Base Clyde’s off-site facility, a few miles down the road from Victorious’ home in Faslane at Rhu.

It does, however, have plenty of space for Victorious’ Gold Crew – the boat has two ship’s companies to help ensure the V-boats maintain the continuous at sea deterrence – to parade.

Among the plethora of Dolphin emblems – the treasured insignia of a qualified submariner – and Golden Jubilee medals (blue ribbon with a red and white stripe down the middle) and Diamond Jubilee (red ribbon with a red and white stripe down the middle) on display on the deeps in their No.1 uniforms, a good smattering of deterrent patrol pins – HMS Resolution, with a Polaris missile, wreathed in bands of electrons to represent nuclear power and bearing the motto ‘always ready’ – which recognises their unique service.

The pin was introduced for V-boat crews back in 2010.

Every serving man who has sailed on a deterrent patrol for more than 30 days is eligible for a silver pin – or recognition badge – while those who have completed 20 or more patrols have earned the gold version.

And 20 patrols is a considerable commitment – when associated training and exercising is taken into account, it could add up to eight years below the surface.

The design of the pin pays homage to HMS Resolution, the very first deterrent boat, which conduct the first patrol with Polaris missiles on June 15 1968.