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: 60 | April 2018

InDepth60 1



Hello everyone and a Happy Easter to you all. Spring is here and the Winter Olympics over and done with but now it’s the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup still to come! I hope you’re not overloaded with sport. April 2018 brings the 100th anniversary of the St George’s Day Raid on Zeebrugge on 23rd April 1918. Submarine C3 was deliberately run into the support structure of the viaduct linking the ‘detached’ Mole at Zeebrugge to the mainland at the start of the raid. The Submarine (manned by a volunteer skeleton crew) had been packed with explosives was then blown up successfully destroying the viaduct. This was to prevent reinforcements reaching the defenders of the ‘detached’ mole. The skeleton crew succeeded in evacuating the boat before the explosion. There were no fatal casualties but several of the crew were wounded whilst escaping, all were rescued and returned home safely and were decorated for their bravery. The Captain of Submarine C3 (Lieutenant Richard Sandford) was awarded the Victoria Cross, his First Lieutenant the DSO, and his crew of four ratings were each awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. Submarine C1, similarly prepared and manned, should have taken part but was delayed and returned home. The other significant Anniversary was the formation of the RAF on 1st April 1918 when 55,000 Royal Naval Air Service personnel, all their Aircraft (some 3,000), all their Airships (103) and all their Air Stations (126) were transferred lock, stock & barrel to join the Royal Flying Corps in the new ‘Independent’ Air Service. Whether it was a good idea or not I’ll leave others to argue about. The Chairman will tell you all about the Reunion & Conference in his report. You will find all the usual articles in this issue – WWI Submarine & Submariner losses, Books, Submarine related articles, the K26 story etc plus the latest V.C. Blue Plaque Report and quite a lot of recent news about RN, RAN, RCN & USN submarines. Please read and enjoy. Comments and suggestions are always welcome - but why not send in your story? All Submariners have at least one to tell!

Barrie Downer


Issue No. 61 of IN DEPTH is due for publication on 1st July 2018. Contributions for the next Issue should be with the Editor by 15th June 2018 to ensure your story/article is considered.

Chairman’s Report

Friends and Fellow Submariners,

Well that’s the first quarter of the year gone and hopefully the horrendous weather with it! The first full Bank Holiday of the year has just finished and I’m sure we are all looking forward to the summer months ahead.  I have heard it said about the month of March; “In like lion, out like a lamb” That doesn’t seem to apply this year.

Since the last issue of our excellent Association Newsletter the main event has been the Annual Reunion and the National Council Conference (NCC) which took place in Derby on the weekend of Friday 23 – Sunday 25 March.  I have personally received excellent feed-back regarding the Yew Lodge Hotel and its staff who looked after us very well indeed.  Rooms were spacious and clean, and the food was of a very high standard throughout the weekend.  Bar prices were very favourable too.  What more can we ask for?  It has been mentioned that the hotel was not in a city/town centre and that can’t be denied.  We were honoured to have Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce with us for the weekend as well as RASM Rear Admiral John Weale and his wife Julie.

On Friday evening after a tasty buffet meal we were entertained by a singer of very high quality.  The entertainment was once again sponsored by Ambuscade Consulting Limited and Stuart Brown.  This Company also sponsored the Saturday Dinner wine and port.  We are very grateful for their munificence!  The Saturday evening meal is always a highlight of our Reunions, an opportunity for all of us to sit down together and have a meal – it’s what families do!  This year was no exception and imagine the surprise when the Corp of Drums of the Band of the Royal Marines entered and carried out a Mess Beating!  This incredible demonstration of precision drumming at the highest level was greatly appreciated by all present.  A real spectacle.  The speeches and traditional toasts which followed the meal were all greatly received and set everyone up for a great night of dit-spinning and drinking. (In moderation of course!).

Saturday morning after the church service we assemble for the NCC and this year there were Delegates from 28 branches and many more Observers.  This event was honoured to have present Lord Boyce, RASM, DRASM, CWO(SM) as well as our President Rear Admiral Niall Kilgour.  The procedure for the NCC is a well-trodden path and once the seating arrangements and the Roll Call were all completed we got on with the business. Starting with a minute’s silence for departed colleagues.

The President’s address was short but interesting and he assured us that he looked forward to and enjoys the debates which take place.  The Minutes of last year’s meeting were Confirmed and the Actions from that NCC were confirmed too.

Next on the Agenda was the ratification of three roles, National Secretary, National Treasurer and National Membership Secretary.  The reason for such a large change in these posts is the passing of Keith Bishop in July.  The three men left the room and the voting took place.  The result being that Ian Vickers, Nigel Mellor and David Woolterton were ratified in the respective roles.  We thank them for their commitment and dedication and wish them success in their jobs.

There were four Proposals to be debated and decided and as all of you have had full descriptions of these sent to you I will not write them fully here.

Proposal 1 was from the Norfolk branch and was that we relocate the National Submarine War Memorial from London to the National Memorial Arboretum.  After a lively debate the voting was as follows:

FOR  6             AGAINST  18               ABSTENTIONS  4       This Proposal Failed.

Proposal 2 from the Scottish branch was to allow members of other navies, qualified as submariners, to join the Submariners Association as Full Members.  This again resulted in a passionate debate with the voting as follows:

FOR  5             AGAINST  20               ABSTENTIONS  3       This Proposal Failed.

Proposal 3 from the Scottish branch wanted National Subscriptions reduced from £15 to £10.  The debate was short and to the point!  The voting on this issue was as follows

FOR  3             AGAINST  22               ABSTENTIONS  3       This Proposal Failed.

Proposal 4 again from the Scottish branch was that branches should appoint 3 Office Bearers:  A Chairman/woman, a Secretary, and a Treasurer and that an Associate Member should be permitted to hold the office of Branch Secretary.  It was very quickly pointed out to the proposer and seconder that this was in complete contradiction of Clause 10 of the Rules and Constitution.  The voting on this issue was as follows:

FOR  4             AGAINST  21               ABSTENTIONS  3       This Proposal Failed.

This completed the debating on the Proposal put forward and we then moved on to the Recommendations put forward by the NMC.  You have all seen the Recommendations in full, so I will not repeat them here.  The Rules of Debate for a Recommendation differ slightly from the those for proposals in that the wording of the Recommendation may be altered slightly by Delegates providing it still reflects the original intention of the Recommendation.

Recommendation 1 was, in essence, to re-write Clause 4 of the Rules & Constitution.  This Clause deals with annual Subscriptions and their payment etc.  There was a good debate and a change to the wording was suggested and accepted.  The change was to paragraph 2 and was that a Lapsed member would not have to submit an Application Form unless 6 years had passed since lapsing.  When the final wording was agreed and everyone who wished to speak had spoken the vote was taken.  Voting was as follows:

FOR  23            AGAINST  1                ABSTENTIONS  3       This Proposal Carried.

Recommendation 2 was that Full Membership of the Submariners Association be offered to officers and ratings who have commenced formal submarine training in the recognised training facilities.  This radical change to our recruitment policy and membership criteria had the potential to be very divisive, however the ensuing debate and voting revealed that the vast majority of Delegates accepted the need to embrace change and recognised the training of SMQs was far more detailed and superior to that which we, the older generation, received.  Modern digital training methods meant that when an SMQ arrived on his first boat he/she was fully conversant with the majority of equipment and installations.  It was a lively debate and eventually it was agreed that no changes to the wording of the original Recommendation was required.  As the final wording was agreed and everyone who wished to speak had spoken the vote was taken.  Voting was as follows:

FOR  21            AGAINST  3                ABSTENTIONS  3       This Proposal Carried.

This completed this section of the NCC and the Chairman thanked all Delegates for their contribution to some very lively and passionate debates where everyone made their points of view with passion but courtesy and respect to others.

Indalo in Spain has confirmed that they would be honoured to propose the toast to the Submarine Service at the 2019 Reunion Dinner.

We next moved on to the election of Officers.  There was only one name put forward for the post of National Chairman therefore Jim McMaster will continue in that role for a further 3 years.

There were two volunteers for one vacancy on the NMC and a secret postal ballot was taken.  The result being as follows:

Andy Bain (Dolphin branch)                      22 Votes

Mark Smith (West of Scotland branch)     17 Votes

Andy Bain is therefore welcomed on to the NMC.  We thank both men for their commitment and hope that Mark will try again at the next opportunity.

The meeting was addressed by Rear Admiral Weale OBE - RASM who informed everyone that the new Scottish Submarine Heritage Centre has now opened in Helensburgh and we should seriously consider as an Association how we wish to engage with this worthy enterprise.  He then surprised all by announcing that SMQs will be given their Dolphins before they had passed their Part 3 on a boat.  This was a great surprise to everyone present and I will endeavour to get the full details of this plan and send it out to all branches when possible.

After 3 hours the NCC 2018 was closed and we all made our way to the Rum Barrel to draw a very well-earned tot!  Thankfully there was a substantial amount of ‘Queens’ passed round.  God bless her!

I believe that this year’s Reunion and NCC were thoroughly enjoyed by all and I thank everyone for their participation and contribution.  Details of next year’s event will be publicised very soon so don’t miss the chance to attend!

Our next big event is the Embankment Parade which will take place on Sunday 4th November in Middle Temple Gardens.  I have already written and invited HRH The Duke of Cambridge - Commodore-in-Chief of the Submarine Service to attend.  My letter has been acknowledged and the invitation will be considered when the Royal Diary is finalised.  I will keep you informed.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a very enjoyable summer and I look forward to meeting up with you soon.

In the meantime

Keep on Keeping on.

A full copy of this version can be downloaded from the below link in PDF Format.
Latest InDepth No 60

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 60

InDepth No 59


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

Nigel Mellor Esq
17 Wyke Way
Shropshire TF11 8SF
07427 159476
N. Mellor Esq

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

Barrie Downer Esq
37, James Watt Terrace
Barrow in Furness
LA14 2TS
01229 820963
B. Downer Esq

InDepth Newsletter

A full copy of the previous version can be downloaded from Here: InDepth No 59

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The Submariners Association is an Association of ex and serving Submariners which seeks to maintain the special bonds of friendship, loyalty and comradeship, together with a pride in the Submarine Service, formed during service in Her Majesty's Submarines.

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