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Golden anniversary for Scotland's largest military site

10 May 2018
Military and civilian personnel at Scotland’s largest military base came together today (May 10) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of HMS Neptune, the shore establishment which evolved into HM Naval Base Clyde.

Golden anniversary for Scotland's largest military siteAdmiral Sir Philip Jones KCB, ADC, the First Sea Lord, reviewed military personnel at the site during ceremonial divisions which featured submariners, sailors and Royal Marines from the Base.

“I’m really pleased to attend this event and to share in the celebrations as we mark an important milestone in the life of HMS Neptune,” said the First Sea Lord.  “I’d like to thank all those who work at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, whatever their role, for everything they have done and continue to do in support of this vital endeavour to ensure our nation’s security.”

Although there has been a Royal Navy presence on the Gareloch since the First World War, the Naval Base officially came into being on May 10, 1968, when HRH The Queen Mother opened HMS Neptune – the land establishment supporting the military personnel stationed there.

Later that same year HMS Resolution conducted the first operational Polaris patrol and by 1969 the UK fully adopted its policy of Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD) which remains unbroken to this day.

I’d like to thank all those who work at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, whatever their role, for everything they have done and continue to do in support of this vital endeavour to ensure our nation’s security

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC

Commodore Mark Gayfer, Naval Base Commander Clyde, said, “It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and effort to sustain, not just our submarines through high-quality engineering support, but also those who serve in them and their families. To achieve an unbroken chain of continuous deterrent patrols for almost 50 years is a testament to the hard work and determination of generations of submariners, base workers and their families.

“The Clyde has a proud maritime history and I am confident that the Naval Base and HMS Neptune will continue this tradition of world-class engineering and personnel support for another 50 years or more.”

For a period in the 1980s the Naval Base became the largest construction site in Europe as a major civil construction programme was launched to accommodate the Trident weapon system. By 1994 the huge project had finished with HMS Vanguard completing the first operational Trident patrol in December that year.

In 1995 the base became home to seven Royal Navy mine hunters which transferred from Rosyth. With their arrival the site changed its name from the Clyde Submarine Base to HM Naval Base Clyde as it is still known today.

Today’s Naval Base is the largest military site in Scotland with a workforce of around 6,800. It is also home to the Royal Navy’s new Astute Class of attack submarines as well as Royal Marines from 43 Commando and the Flag Officer Sea Training (North) organisation.

HM Naval Base Clyde will become the sole home of the UK Submarine Service from 2020 as well as the future home of the Dreadnought Class of nuclear deterrent submarines. The UK government is investing millions of pounds into the site with the development set to increase the numbers at Clyde to an eventual population of around 8,500.

All submarine training will also be moved to Faslane over the next ten years. These changes will provide Royal Navy submariners with a single working location allowing them to have a far more stable domestic life.

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