Burnley man who worked on nuclear submarines honoured by Royal Navy

KEY ROLE: Royal Navy submariner Mark McLoughlin (47) has been promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 as he celebrates 30 years of service. (s)

KEY ROLE: Royal Navy submariner Mark McLoughlin (47) has been promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 as he celebrates 30 years of service. (s)

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A SUBMARINER who worked on the Royal Navy’s flagship Trident nuclear subs during his 30 years service has won a well-earned promotion.

Mark McLoughlin (47) joined up as a teenager and saw action in Kosovo as a weapons engineering mechanic as well as working alongside the elite SAS force.

Now the lifelong Clarets season ticket holder has worked his way up to become a Warrant Officer Class 1 – the highest rank for a Non-Commissioned Officer.

His proud parents Vincent (77) and Pauline (70) were over the moon, saying: “It is the highest rank you can get as an NCO so it’s quite an achievement.

“We worry about him all the time but it was the life he chose and he has done so well in it and we are just so proud of him for it. He has excelled.”

The former Briercliffe Primary School pupil signed up to the Navy in 1981 aged 17 and has been sent on operations across the globe.

The father-of-two, formerly of Kings Causeway, Brierfield, was often at sea for three months at a time without ever surfacing.

Many of his missions were shrouded in a veil of secrecy - conducting joint operations with France, the USA, NATO and even the SAS without knowing where he had been until his return.

His father said: “He has been all over the world and even under the ice caps. He was out in Kosovo during the conflict there. They were there for back up, but they actually fired missiles in the conflict.

“He has had a lot of scary moments, but being his parents he doesn’t tell you everything because he doesn’t want to worry us.

“They had an incident a few years back when they miscalculated a dive and hit a rock and they had to be towed back from the Red Sea. It was a very narrow thing.”

With three decades of experience, Mark now works more on the operational training side – ensuring both Royal Navy crews and vessels are functioning to the highest possible standard. His father said: “He is part of a special squad that prepares the submarine and crew for action. He is like a school inspector. He has to ensure all the equipment is up to standard and all the crew are too.”

His latest mission has been helping test out the new £1.2bn nuclear-powered attack submarine HMS Astute from his base in Faslane. He has been instrumental in ensuring the crew are properly trained on the cutting-edge 7,200 ton vessel.

Mark was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for excellence and his dedication has been rewarded with a promotion to Warrant Officer Class 1 as he celebrates 30 years in the Navy.