Silent and Secret


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Silent and Secret Conference

15 - 16 June 2018 / Action Stations Cinema, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

15 June 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the first operational patrol of HMS Resolution, the Royal Navy’s first Polaris SSBN (Submersible Ship Ballistic Nuclear). The Resolution Class was the first class of submarine to carry them. Learn about the hidden stories of those who served at sea in Silent and Secret: The Conference. 



Life under the sea poses challenges that often go unforeseen and unheard. The National Museum of the Royal Navy presents a fascinating look at the personal accounts of those serving onboard at the heart of the Royal Navy Submarine Service. 

Hear stories from those who were submerged at sea for a three month patrol; the inevitable isolation from everyday life and the power of teamwork when in a state of constant readiness. Their stories will be told through personal accounts and key objects shown during the conference. 

Day 1

10:00 am

Registration and Coffee

10:15 am 
Welcome – Professor Dominic Tweddle. Director General, The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

10:30 am - 12:30 am
Panel 1

A Very Special Relationship - Anglo American relations from Polaris to Trident. Dr James Jinks. Queen Mary, University of London.

‘The British Government, the Public and Nuclear Deterrence’ – Dr Andy Corbett. Defence Studies Department, King’s College London.

12:30 pm - 13:00 pm

13:00 pm - 14:00 pm 
Keynote Address – Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield. Queen Mary, University of London

14:00 pm – 15:30 pm
Panel 2

Aldermaston and the Royal Navy. Dr Richard More. Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Science and Security Studies,
Department of War Studies, King’s College London; and AWE Historian, Aldermaston

“Appropriate Units of the Fleet are Now Being Equipped” – the Royal Navy’s First Acquisition of Nuclear Weapons. Jonathan Aylen.
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, University of Manchester, and The Newcomen Society

15:30 pm - 15:45 pm

15:45 pm - 17:45 pm
Panel 3

Britain's Nuclear Deterrent: A Moral Case in Favour - Professor Nigel Biggar. Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology,
University of Oxford, and author of In Defence of War (2013)

Mixed Messages: The Purpose of Britain's Deterrence and Policy of Multilateral Disarmament. Paul Ingram. Executive Director,
British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

The Case Against Trident: A Naval Officer’s Perspective. Commander Rob Forsyth, Royal Navy (Retd). Independent Researcher.

1800 onwards. Waterbus to Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Dinner and Private View of New Exhibition

Close (Day 1)


Day 2

10:00 am 

Coffee and registration

10:15 am - 12:15 pm
Panel 1

21 Momentous Years – From British U-boat to Polaris. Lieutenant-Commander Jock Gardner, Royal Navy (Retd).
‘U-Boat to Polaris’. Naval Historical Branch, UK Ministry of Defence.

The Road to Trident. Polaris, PIP, Chevaline. A Different and More Populist View of History.
Brian Burnell. Independent Researcher

The Development of Nuclear Propulsion in the Royal Navy, 1946-1975. Gareth M Jones, MA. University of Plymouth

12:15 am - 13:00 pm

13:00 pm - 15:00 pm
Panel 2

When the Match Doesn’t Light. Commander W J Nimmo Scott, OBE, MSc, Royal Navy (Retd). Independent Researcher.

Selling Deterrence. Commodore Eric Thompson MBE MSc CEng RN (rtd) DL, Independent Researcher and author of ‘On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service’ (2018).

Commanding an SSBN. Commodore John Milnes, Royal Navy (Retd). Independent Researcher.

15:00pm - 15:15pm 

15:15pm - 16:45pm 
Panel 3

Despite Our Best Efforts … The Accident History of the UK Polaris Programme.
Dr Peter Burt. Independent Researcher

Title TBC. Commodore Barrie Sadler, Royal Navy (Retd).
Barrie Sadler Associates Limited.

16:45 pm - 17:00pm
Closing Remarks. Matthew Sheldon, Executive Director of Heritage, The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

 Close (Day 2)


Choose your conference ticket

Buy standard ticket

From £55.00

Includes entry to the conference,
lunch, teas and coffees



Buy premium ticket

From £70.00

Includes entry to the conference as well as a private view of the new exhibition, 
waterbus transfer to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, drinks and canapés.