The world of Submarines

A recent talk (15th November) to Largs Probus Club members really went down well as Submariners Jim McMasters and Andy Knox spoke on the history of the Submarine Service.  Jim gave a potted history of submarine development from its first tentative steps in 1578 when Bourne’s Submarine established neutral buoyancy; through movement when submerged in 1620; weaponisation with the introduction of a battering ram in 1650; first propeller in the American Civil War of 1776; first torpedo in 1866; electric battery on Holland1 in 1899; overseas capacity with the D Class submarine in 1908; snorting system in 1940 and the reliance on battery and diesel generation until the introduction of nuclear propulsion. Progress was slow because the Officer Class of the Royal Navy in 1900 deemed the use of submarines to be un-British and the men who operated them were given the disrespectful title of “The Trade”. He advised that the use of the skull and crossbones by returning to port submarines first occurred in 1914 with an E9 Class vessel and Jolly Roger flags are used to this day; HMS Conqueror being the first to add a nuclear symbol. 

Andy spoke on the nuclear generation of submarines with the Introduction of the Dreadnought Class in 1959. He advised that that the Royal Navy took over the nuclear deterrent from the RAF in 1968 and a nuclear submarine has been patrolling every single day since 1966, with direct communication to the Government. The longest time spent under water being 196 days. Future nuclear submarines of the new Dreadnought Class will have 12 missiles giving more room for male and female crew. He advised that fourteen Victoria Cross recipients in WW1 and 2 were members of the submarine service.  Ray Young in his vote of thanks referred to his own seven years’ service in the Royal Navy and the need to acknowledge the bravery of those who serve beneath the waves.

Largs Probus Club next meets in the Willowbank Hotel on Wednesday 22nd November when Keith Bruce will speak on Scot – Beneath the Surface.

Men over the age of 50 who are retired, or nearing retirement, are welcome to join the Club by completing our Contact Form.