In Depth & News Letters

In Depth & News Letters



Official Newsletter of the Submariners Association

Patron: Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL

Issue No: 63 | January 2019

InDepth63 1

Photo:  Prince William lays wreath for Submariners who sacrificed their lives for Britain
(Picture supplied by Kensington Palace)


Hello everyone from Barrow-in-Furness! Firstly, an apology for failing to include Malcolm ‘Mac’ Flowers name in the ‘Crossed the Bar’ List in In Depth No. 62 – he is in this time..
Well, here we are in 2019. I trust everyone had a very Happy Christmas and that the New Year brings everything that you wish for. You will find all of the regular items in this News Letter although, now that we are past the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice in 1918, the Series ‘Submarine Losses of WWI’ has now reached its final report. Sandy Powell has sent in his report of the James Magennis VC Blue Plaque unveiling in Belfast and the PR team at Faslane has sent reports covering the Submariners Remembrance in November and RASM attending the Remembrance Parade in Edinburgh.
I have included an item about the recent location of the wreck of the Argentinian Submarine ARA SAN JUAN and the information provided by UK sources which helped in the finding of the submarine.
There is a short biography of Surgeon Captain Evelyn Richard Townsend – originally sent in by Michel Bowers for an earlier Issue of ‘In Depth’. Evelyn Townsend served with the Submarine Flotillas during WWI and into the 1920s. He developed the ‘Townsend Test’ used in checking for arsene gas in submarine atmospheres – it being a poisonous gas produced in small quantities when charging submarine batteries.
On the subject of biographies, I have been sent the memoirs of Lieutenant Commander (TAS) Desmond Gerrish who was involved with the early development of the Tigerfish torpedo and was also Squadron TASO in HMS FORTH in Singapore. The extract in this issue concerns Submarines and Special Forces Ops in the Far East in the 1960s. The particular relevance is that the Special Forces was an SBS team led by Lieutenant ‘Paddy’ Ashdown, RM whose death was recently announced.
Included in this News Letter are details of the 2019 National Reunion and Conference – have you booked your place yet? Did your Branch submit its Proposals by the cut off date of 31st December 2018?
That’s me for now! I’m hope you will find something of interest to read in this issue. Thanks to everyone who has contributed this time.
Comments and suggestions on content are always welcome - but why not send in your story? All Submariners have at least one to tell!
Barrie Downer


Issue No. 64 will be published on 1st April 2019. Contributions are required to be with the Editor by 15th March 2019 – contact details on this page.

Chairman’s Report

Friends and Fellow Submariners,
By the time you are reading this you will, I hope, be fully recovered from the excesses of the Christmas period and telling anyone who will listen that you won’t be doing all that again next year! In future you won’t waste money on all that food which seems to get thrown our every year; all those mini-whatsits and exotic tasty-bites. Who needs them? Who actually enjoys ‘burgers the size of a 50 pence piece or steak and ale pies no bigger that a mince pie? The shops up here in the west of Scotland shut for one day only but you still see people buying 4 loaves of bread, several gallons of milk and more potatoes than they can carry!!

We won’t be buying all that again next year! Yeah, right!! Good luck with that plan!!

Now Hogmanay, that’s a different matter entirely. I wonder how many bottles of whisky I will need to get through the celebrations…..

Have great time – you deserve it!

When Barrie Downer, our In Depth editor and compiler, sent me the wee reminder note that my Comments were due, he kindly included a list of all the articles and items he had already received for the publication. I have in mind for something to say to you, to tell you that it was a very comprehensive list of events and highlights and in fact left me with very little to write about, so I have had to search my mind for some matters which may interest you.

One item which did not appear on Barrie’s list is the major milestone of CASD-50 which will take place in 2019. Now I know from conversations I have witnessed that there is some dispute regarding when the ‘Continuous At Sea Deterrent’ began. It seems to be a subject of great angst as to whether it was in 1968 or 1969 – so let me give you a timetable of events which will hopefully make matters clear.

In October 1967 Her Majesty’s Government informed SACEUR that the UK Polaris force will be assigned and targeted once HMS RESOLUTION reaches emergency capability in March 1968.

March 1968 – HMS RESOLUTION obtains emergency capability. After this time, RESOLUTION, the only submarine available conducts a number of patrols (her missiles are live and could be fired) but the patrols are not continuous.

During this period both the RAF and Royal Navy are responsible for the strategic deterrent

30th April 1969 - Continuous patrolling begins when HMS RESOLUTION is “on station” & HMS REPULSE is preparing to relieve her.

June 1969 - HMS REPULSE “on station” after relieving HMS RESOLUTION. The cycle then continues and ‘RESOLUTION relieves ‘REPULSE in due course.

30th June 1969 - with two submarines in the cycle, REPULSE at sea and ‘RENOWN and ‘REVENGE on track to enter service the COS feel confident enough to end the transition period and transfer responsibility for the UK strategic nuclear deterrent from the RAF to the Royal Navy.

3rd July 1969 - Dennis Healey stands in Parliament and announces that the Royal Navy is now the sole carrier of the strategic nuclear deterrent and that the handover occurred on 30th June 1969.

Therefore, 50 years of continuous patrolling started on 30th April 1969 as the missiles of both ‘RESOLUTION and ‘REPULSE were assigned to SACEUR and command and control arrangements existed which enabled them to be launched should the Prime Minister authorise release.

I hope this will settle any argumenta about when CASD began!

I know that a high-level and multi-disciplined committee has been setup to arrange and organise the many events which will take place throughout the country during 2019 to celebrate this remarkable achievement. The programme of events and venues will be promulgated and widely distributed early in the new year. This is truly something worth celebrating, something every one of us should feel proud of.

I’m sure that somewhere else in this worthy document you will be reminded that the annual Reunion and NCC will take place in Leicester during the weekend of 22nd – 24th March 2019. I hope that as many of you as possible will be able to join us for the Reunion and spin a few dits whilst sharing a pint or three with old ‘oppos’. It is important that you get your accommodation and menu choices back to Mad Dog as soon as possible. Rooms are always in great demand so don’t miss this opportunity. Of course, the NCC will take place on the Saturday forenoon of that weekend and plenty of warnings and reminders have been distributed regarding submission of Proposals and names for places on the NMC. Remember the cut-off date for these is 31st December.

When I sat down to start this I could think of nothing to say and now find I have probably chattered on too long.

I would remind you as I do at this time each year that the worst of the winter has yet to arrive and that although we used to be immortal, we are now getting to that age when we really do need to look after ourselves and our neighbours and oppos. If you have a branch member who is now getting to that vulnerable age please take a few moments to check-up on him and ensure that he has all that he need to get through the worst of the weather.

I will sign off now and wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe New Year.
Lang may your lum reek


A full copy of this version can be downloaded from the below link in PDF Format.
Latest InDepth No 63

InDepth Newsletter

Here is an extract of the latest In Depth Newsletter. A full copy of this and the previous version can be downloaded from these links in PDF Format.

Latest InDepth No 63

InDepth No 62


Rear Admiral Niall SR Kilgour CB

Jim McMaster
1, Blantyre Court
Bargarran, Erskine
Renfrewshire PA8 6BN
0141 571 4094
J. McMaster Esq

Vice Chairman:

Iain. MacKenzie Esq.
46 Almora Drive
G82 1AE
I. MacKenzie Esq

National Secretary:
Ian Vickers Esq
160 Bradshaw Meadows
Lancashire BL2 4ND
01204 308539
I. Vickers Esq

Stuart Brown Esq
14 Meadow Drive
Bury St. Edmunds
Suffolk IP29 5SB
07590 195295
S. Brown Esq

Membership Secretary:
David Woolterton Esq.
2 Thornton Close
SO24 9FE
01962 734940 or 07713448734
D. Woolterton Esq

Barrie Downer Esq
The Firs, Dundalk Street
Barrow Island
Barrow in Furness
LA14 2RZ
01229 820963
B. Downer Esq

InDepth Newsletter

A full copy of the previous version can be downloaded from Here: InDepth No 62

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