A widow shed tears of pride and grief today as her late husband was awarded a medal by the Queen for preventing a massacre onboard a nuclear submarine in Southampton.

Royal Navy officer Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux's widow Gillian collected the George Medal, one of the highest accolades for bravery, at an investiture ceremony in Buckingham Palace.

Lt Cdr Molyneux, 36, was posthumously decorated for attempting to tackle Able Seaman Ryan Donovan as he ran amok on HMS Astute while it was docked in Southampton on April 8 last year.

The father-of-four from Standish, Wigan, tried to disarm Donovan after hearing shots on board the submarine on April 8 last year, but was shot in the head.

Emerging from the private ceremony in tears, Mrs Molyneux said it had been a ''very proud and very sad occasion''.

''The Queen told me she was very pleased that she was able to present the medal herself and that meant a lot to me,'' she said.

''She asked how long Ian had been in the service, what he got up to and what he enjoyed.

''She made it very personal.''

Mrs Molyneux was accompanied at the ceremony by her father-in-law James Molyneux and sons Jamie and Arron, who were dressed in their Marine Cadet uniforms.

She said: ''If Ian had known about this he would have wondered what all the fuss was about.

''He was a very unassuming man, very proud of what he did - he absolutely loved his job and being on the boat - and he was a very, very brave man.''

Asked what she would be doing with the medal, Mrs Molyneux said she would be keeping it very safe and wearing it with pride.

Donovan was jailed for at least 25 years in September 2011 for murdering Lt Cdr Molyneux and attempting to murder Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hodge, Petty Officer Christopher Brown, and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy.

Southampton’s former council leader and chief executive, who were on the ship as part of civic visit at the time of the shooting, have also been ordered for their bravery during the incident.

Tory boss Councillor Royston Smith and chief executive Alistair Neill both tackled Donovan on the submarine have been awarded Outstanding Bravery Awards.

Cllr Smith and Mr Neill were presented the accolade at The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards, hosted by Carol Vorderman on ITV, for tackling a gunman on board a nuclear submarine last year.

This comes after the pair won the George Medal and the National Police Public Bravery Award for their spontaneous act of courage.