This is a different kind of leak. A series of files detailing some of the inner workings of the British Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine the HMS Anson were found inside the bathroom of a pub in England, soon after a busy night at the bar. 

The files were found on the floor of a bathroom stall inside the Furness Railway pub in Barrow-in-Furness, not far from the BAE Systems shipyard in the town. The HMS Anson, an Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, was built there. 

The story was originally reported by the British tabloid The Sun, was confirmed in part by the British Royal Navy, which confirmed the veracity of the files. In a statement to the press, the Royal Navy said the files “are generic training documents that carry no classified information.”

“However, we take all security matters extremely seriously and will investigate the circumstances of their discovery,” the statement continued.

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Details on the files, including images shared by The Sun, include documents marked “UK OFFICIAL – SENSITIVE” as well as information on the submarine’s hydraulics systems. A Royal Navy lanyard was also found next to the files. Per The Sun, the pub was full of both civilians and military members on a “lively” night before the documents were found.

Task & Purpose has not seen the documents beyond what was shared by The Sun.

It’s unclear who left the files inside the pub bathroom, and there is no indication they were left as part of an intentional leak or espionage. 

The HMS Anson is the fifth of the Royal Navy’s Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines. It set sail for the first time in February, to a base in Scotland to undergo trials. It is a hunter-killer submarine, 97 meters in length and equipped with Tomahawk missiles among other armaments. 

The Furness Railway pub is located approximately 20 minutes from the shipyard by foot. It was formerly a department store before becoming a pub and images of it show a clean space with framed photos and maps detailing old rail systems and the launching of past Royal Navy ships. This incident appears to be the first time documents tied to a nuclear-powered submarine were left on the premises. 

The documents do not appear to be anywhere as massive as the leak of U.S. military documents discovered this month on two Discord servers, allegedly by Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira. However, the Astute-class submarines are among the Royal Navy’s latest vessels. When the HMS Anson set sail for the first time in February, the Royal Navy called the Astute submarines “the most advanced boats ever operated by the Royal Navy.”

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