Gosport's MP Caroline Dinenage, has had many interesting and exciting invitations as part of her Ministerial career, but none more unusual than the recent morning spent on board a Royal Navy submarine as part of her portfolio as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities & Early Years.
Caroline was invited to visit the boat to meet the female submariners among the crew. A ban on women submariners based on health fears was lifted in 2011 and in 2014 three women become the first female submariners in the 110-year history of the Submarine Service.
Caroline was especially keen to accept the invitation because of her Gosport constituency's close historic links with the Royal Navy. Indeed HMS Dolphin at Fort Blockhouse was the former home of the Royal Navy Submarine Service from 1904 to 1999, and location of the Royal Navy Submarine School before it moved to HMS Raleigh in Plymouth.
After the visit Caroline said:
'The Gosport constituency has such strong historic links to the Silent Service, so it was a great pleasure to have this opportunity to visit a submarine for myself and meet some of the impressive crew.
It was a special privilege to meet the female submariners, real trailblazers in what was formerly a completely male profession. It was a delight to experience the skill and professionalism with which they approach the challenges of the very unique environment and lifestyle under the waves!"
Caroline made the visit alongside the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel and Veterans, Mark Lancaster and Lieutenant General Richard Nugee CVO CBE Chief of Defence People (CDP).