All aboard to make history.
Tuesday 13th May 2014 @ 17:00 by Anna Fletcher


Pioneering Royal Navy lieutenant Maxine Stiles from Ashton has made history by becoming one of the first female submariners in the 110-year history of the Submarine Service.

Lt Stiles completed months of training to earn her ‘Dolphins’ – the clasp worn by qualified submariners – alongside two other female colleagues.

Lt Stiles, 29, said of the training: “It’s very intense and very challenging, but that’s what makes it so rewarding.

“As long as you can do your job I don’t think they cared whether you were male or female.”

A ban on women submariners based on health fears was lifted in 2011.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond hailed their “huge personal achievement” and said it was “an historic moment for the Royal Navy and our armed forces”.

A review of concerns that submarines’ higher levels of carbon dioxide could carry risks to female health decided the fears were unfounded.

The women joined operations on nuclear-powered Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant.

Lt Stiles will continue as a logistics officer aboard the sub.