Tim Lightoller, a retired Royal Navy captain who was the first commanding officer of the HMS Turbulent, was the guest of honour during the decommissioning ceremony organized by the RN. Close to a dozen of the former commanding officers were also present, in addition to Lady Deborah Cassidi, who was the sponsor of the vessel. Large numbers of the former and current crew of the vessel were also present.
Capt Lightoller reminded everyone of the role played by the HMS Turbulent during the cold war era, when it was deployed to monitor the Soviet submarine operations in the Northern Atlantic. Even after the cold war period, the submarine took part in various serious military conflicts, including the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya.
During the Iraq war, the submarine had fired more than thirty Tomahawk subsonic cruise missiles. After the deployment in Iraq, the vessel also took part in operations in Libya on a 268 day deployment. The vessel fired a large number of missiles, to provide cover to the NATO operations.
The HMS Turbulent was built by the Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd in Cumbria (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions). The 5,300 tonne vessel is capable of attaining speeds of up to 32 knots. The vessel is operated by a crew of 130 servicemen, including 18 officers. In addition to the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, the submarine is armed with the Spearfish wire-guided heavyweight torpedoes.