A CAMPAIGN to award special service medals to nuclear submariners was launched in parliament on the fiftieth anniversary of round-the-clock underwater deterrence.

Currently, servicemen and women who form part of Operation Relentless nuclear weapon missions can wear a ‘bomber pin’ alongside the traditional dolphin insignia worn by submariners – but there is no formal medal to recognise their sacrifice.

The UK’s commitment to continuous at-sea deterrence (CASD) requires a nuclear armed submarine to be on active patrol at all times, meaning crews often spend many months under the ocean without break. Yet the secrecy of their operation and its never ending nature has deprived submariners of the medal awarded to other armed forces colleagues.

Barrow independent MP John Woodcock tabled a motion in parliament calling for “formal recognition of their service with the introduction of a special ‘service medal’ to all former and current submariners who have served on patrol in the ongoing Operation Relentless”.

He has enlisted the support of senior MPs including former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, and chair of the House of Commons defence select committee Julian Lewis.

Mr Woodcock’s has called on the government “to establish a working group to work with the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals to introduce this medal”.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Woodcock said: “Fifty years of unbroken nuclear patrols is a truly extraordinary achievement and it is high time the government gave proper recognition to the servicemen whose sacrifice has made it possible.

“There must be a way to overcome any secrecy concerns to give serving and retired submariners the special service medal they truly deserve.”

Responding to Mr Woodcock, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I think the honourable gentleman raises an important point. It is certainly something that I would be willing to look at. I’m sure the honourable gentleman is aware that it is not sadly a decision purely for the Ministry of Defence, but we’d certainly be happy to look at the merits of this and how we can give full recognition for all those crews who have served over such a long period of time.”