Reviews & Links

This is a revised and updated version of a limited edition book prepared to raise funds for the, sadly unrealised, Submarine Heritage Centre that was to be built at Barrow in Furness and centred on HMS ONYX that was the only Royal Navy diesel submarine to operate in the South Atlantic during the Falklands.

October. 2016.

There's a new paperback about to come off the blocks at NavyBooks. Chas Cooke's 'A Submariner's Tale', £10.99. previously only available on Kindl

Summary: A true voice of submarining in the 70s and 80s, ex POTI Chas Cooke tells his story of life in submarines with verve and relish, including details of ‘how it was’ that some might perhaps leave unsaid when describing their underwater life.


Recommended read.

                                                    'The Silent Deep'

Review by David Saxby.
A very detailed and erudite account of not only covert submarine operations but also the political chicanery behind the scenes that shaped the deterrent forces procured by the government. As an ex diesel submariner during the Cold War I found out about incidents that I had no former knowledge, so a fascinating read for me.

Following Harry Gilmour’s journey from out-of-place naval reservist on the deck of a grand battleship to experienced officer on board a World War Two submarine, Gone to Sea in a Bucket is exhilarating, rewarding and a read I won’t be forgetting any time soon. It showed me the ups and downs of life in the navy, making me laugh out loud, fear for the characters’ lives and burn with a sense of injustice at the wrongs they experienced.

David Black has managed two very difficult things with this wonderful novel: he has created a vivid and authentic vision of the past, and sketched a lead character who reminds us that heroes are just normal people in remarkable circumstances who make the right choices because of who they are.

Filled with action, excitement and hard truths, but written in a tone that reflects the humour and courage of the characters and their devil-may-care attitude, Gone to Sea in a Bucket is a coming-of-age-in-a-time-of-war story that rubs shoulders with the very best of its kind.
ISBN-13: 978-0752421131
ISBN-13: 978-0563203261 Submarine
Secrets of the Conqueror Published: 18th October 2012. ISBN: 9780571297207


 HMS Saracen
During her distinguished career, submarine HMS Saracen was responsible for sinking thousands of tons  of Axis shipping. But in August 1943 her luck ran out when she was mortally wounded by depth charges from two Italian corvettes, the last Allied submarine to be sunk by the Italians. Forced to surface, she was scuttled by her crew who were taken prisoner.  But HMS Saracen's story is more than the story of a submarine. It is the story of her crew and their experiences both before and after her loss. From the cat and mouse games of war at sea to their harrowing escape from their stricken ship, from being sent to Dachau  to finding themselves on a POW train bombed by the Americans, from being shot by the Germans to being assisted by the Rome Escape Line, from being sheltered by Italian families to joining the partisans, their stories of escape, of flight, of capture, are as varied as the men themselves. But their shared goal was to return home safely to their families and sadly some never did


Price:  $17.99 


                                          'Terror on the Alert'


 ‘Terror on the Alert’ (Touchwood Editions, £10.54, paperback) is a Cold War thriller set at the height of tensions between the West and the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis of late 1962.

Written by Canadian retired submarine officer Robert W. Mackay, the novel takes us aboard the A Class diesel boat HMCS Alert. Her mission is to seek out and shadow Russian submarines and be prepared to destroy them if necessary.

There is high tension from the start, with the main character, a junior officer named Ted, troubled by trauma-induced claustrophobia resulting from a recent car accident in which he was trapped in burning wreckage.

Ted’s condition gradually worsens and threatens his ability to function. To add to Ted’s misery, his XO is the last man on earth he would wish to have as a superior officer. There is a mutual dislike going back to when they trained together.

At sea, though, the business of hunting hostile submarines seems to overcome such differences. When a Soviet boat is detected a deadly cat-and-mouse game ens
Without doubt Mackay exhibits a compelling writing style and brings his experience as a submariner to bear with great effect. The way he conveys the deadly game of hunter versus hunted under water oozes suspense and is totally believable. However, events between ‘our hero’ and the XO, stretch credibility too far. aplenty."The rest of the story, particularly Alert’s encounter with her nemesis, makes for  really good ride and delivers thrills
ues and not only do tensions rise between Alert and the other boat, they also reach an explosive state between Ted and the XO.

While the Russian submarine, aware of Alert’s presence adopts an increasingly aggressive stance, the plot takes a bizarre turn for the wors with the XO running amok after secreting weapons about the vessel.


Cold war Opponent

The "Black Widow" ex Russian Foxtrot B-39 (U 475) Hunter Killer Class

Many thanks to Barry Stewart of Underground Kent and to the Black Widow's owner




 by Iain Ballantyne

 Published in hardback by Orion on 12th September 2013

 Priced £20 (eBook £10.99) 



The incredible, true inside story of the Cold War

beneath the waves

 Official Royal Navy definition - HUNTER KILLER: a submarine designed to pursue and attack enemy submarines and surface ships.


HUNTER KILLERS tells the dramatic untold story of Britain’s most secret service. It is a gripping new book that follows the careers of four daring submarine captains – also featuring some of the men who served with them - all risking their lives during exploits that have, until now, been consigned to the shadows.


Their experiences encompass the span of the Cold War, from voyages in WW2-era submarines under Arctic ice, to nuclear-powered espionage missions in Soviet-dominated seas. There are dangerous encounters with Russian spy ships in UK waters and finally, as the communist façade begins to crack, the intrepid submariners hold the line against the Kremlin’s oceanic might.

Speaking out about their covert lives for the very first time, HUNTER KILLERS is based on exclusive interviews with Cold War submarine captains. It offers the most revealing and enthralling insider account so far of the most dangerous arena of the East-West confrontation during which humanity hovered on the edge of the nuclear abyss.

Iain Ballantyne has been on both ends of a submarine attack. At the close of the Cold War he was aboard a warship forced to take evasive action in the Barents Sea when a Russian submarine launched a torpedo. He has also sailed under the waves aboard a nuclear-powered attack submarine, at one stage using the periscope to view potential targets during a combat exercise. A one-time London-based defence and diplomatic correspondent for a national news agency, Iain has contributed to coverage of naval and military issues in a number of publications, including prestigious yearbooks for NATO and the Royal Navy.


Tim Hale, myself, Doug Littlejohns, Dan Conley and Pitt.k and others have all been involved with contributions to the author, Iain Ballantyne, for this book which has also used the museum archives. The publisher has given the museum a good discount and they are selling it below list price. It is in the museum shop now and will be listed as one of their books available via the online shop this coming week. Purchasing it from there would of course be a very valuable contribution to museum funds.




                                                     32 Years Man & Buoy

 Available in paperback from Amazon ISBN 978-1-17840704-1-0 priced £8.99

Also available from Amazon as a download for Kindle priced at £6.17

In the summer of 1978, a naive young man left school with a few mediocre qualifications, no real ambition, absolutely no idea what he was going to do next, and a job in the Royal Navy wasn’t even on the radar. As for his knowledge of the Navy, the author had only seen a TV series called ‘Warship’. Just how hard could it be?

32 Years Man and Buoy charts Ian Atkinson’s Naval career through the highs and lows of basic training before spending more than half of his life serving his Queen and country. The author’s recollections are an honest and humorous account of an immensely enjoyable career. He makes some monumental mistakes along the way as he slowly matures from a barely capable Marine Engineering Mechanic to the dizzy heights of a Chief Petty Officer Submariner. 

Serving on frigates, destroyers and submarines throughout his long career, Ian Atkinson had a lot of laughs and shed a lot of tears through times that were good, bad and sometimes downright ugly. Nobody ever said it would be plain sailing.



Full description for Sea Devils: Pioneer Submariners Sea Devils is a compelling account of pioneer submariners and their astonishing underwater contraptions. Some made perilous voyages. Others sank like stones. Craft were propelled by muscle-power or had steam engines with chimneys. Some had wheels to trundle along the seabed. Others were used as underwater aircraft carriers. Here John Swinfield traces the history of early submarines and the personalities who built and sailed them. From a plethora of madcap inventors emerged a bizarre machine that navies of the world reluctantly acquired but viewed with distaste. It matured into a weapon that would usurp the mighty battleship, which had for centuries enjoyed an unchallenged command of the oceans. In its long and perilous history the submarine became subject to fierce business, military and political shenanigans. It won eventual acceptance amidst the chaos and carnage of the First World War, in which pathfinder submariners achieved an extraordinarily high tally of five Victoria Crosses, Britain's highest military decoration. Sea Devils brims with daring characters and their unflinching determination to make hazardous underwater voyages: an immensely readable, entertaining and authoritative chronicle of low cunning, high politics, wondrous heroism and appalling tragedy.


Excellent video courtesy of YouTube HMS Repulse & HMS Turbulent. Mission Patrol


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      Review:   " The Silent Deep "

Courtesy of Barrow-in-Funess website.  



Excellent video courtesy of YouTube HMS Repulse & HMS Turbulent. Mission Patrol


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                           2017. Mountbatten Festival of Music.

                                   " Anchors Away"& üp Periscope"

 Video link at:

For the first time ever the Mountbatten Festival of Music was live streamed to the world.
 The Submarine Service featured heavily this year with  two new pieces in the first half specially composed for us: Deterrence, and a new march – Astute

          H.M.S. Victorious & H.M.S. Talent in the Gareloch. 
BBC  2.6. TV  'Todays Royal Navy'
Rating the current SSNs
^  ******************************************************
 Curren British deterrent- V Class Bombers
HMS/m Alliance completes refit.
Click on this link to see some recent photos of Alliance.
If asked for a password, it is  ‘dive’.
Kind Regards
Chris Munns
Haslar Rd, Gosport, PO12 2AS
Registered charity 1142123
Help us to save our iconic WW2 era submarine HMS Alliance that is the memorial to 5,300 British Submariners who have given their lives in service. 
Please make a donation now or visit her today! 



Excellemt video footage of RCN  HMCS/m Victoria. Exercise RIMPAC.12.



 Video tour of HMCS Ojibwa being prepared for public display.

 Courtesy of Submariners Association of Canada. West.


The growth of the Submarine: Big-Bigger-Better. Holland 1 to the SSBN.

Narration by Cdr. Jonty Powis.RN(Rtd)