When: From 15 June 2018 until 16 June 2018, 10:00 - 16:00
Location: Action Stations
Categories: Special Events , Exhibitions

A permanent exhibition and conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Navy’s continuous at sea deterrent, Polaris, first patrol.

15 June 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of HMS Resolution, the Royal Navy’s first Polaris SSBN (Submersible Ship Ballistic Nuclear), commencing her first operational patrol. The National Museum’s response is an exhibition focussing on personal accounts and key objects and a conference at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, which will explore the history of the British nuclear deterrent.

The exhibition will be a timely opportunity to reveal the challenging nature of working in submarines, highlighting the experiences of those who serve and raising awareness about why there is a nuclear deterrent and the role of the modern Royal Navy Submarine Service. It will also celebrate the mostly unknown achievements of nuclear submarines and encourage a wider debate. The exhibition is included in the Annual All Attraction ticket.

Alongside the exhibition lies HMS Alliance, a Cold War submarine commissioned in 1947. Tours of the boat are often led by former submariners who share their real personal experiences of serving under the waves.


Conference agenda


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)


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)

Tickets for the conference are no longer available to purchase. You can visit the new exhibition at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport.

Silent and Secret: The Conference