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  1. On Saturday 30th March, I appeared at Glasgow's 'Aye Write' Book Festival in the iconic Mitchell Library, one of Europe's largest public libraries, and it did feel good to be 'on stage' for something I had written. Even better, I had a full-house audience of about sixty in my venue. That may not seem a lot but the organisers were thrilled as a very well-known TV sports personality, flown up from London specially, had achieved an audience of only eight.

    A particularly pleasing aspect of the event were that a young university graduate (Nottingham, I think) who had applied to join the Navy and had read my book, turned up to meet me. How wonderful to think that an old git like me can still connect with a very much younger generation. (The young man has since been accepted into the Royal Navy and is currently undergoing officer training at Dartmouth). After my presentation, I was asked to autograph books sold - all very humbling. (Waterstones were selling the books).

    Glasgows Aye Write festival

     As I am accustomed to public speaking, facing an audience held no terrors for me. My only anxiety was whether or not my Powerpoint audio/visual slide show would run on cue on the Library's system. It did. Phew! I have nightmares about technical hitches in the middle of carefully constructed presentations. (I'm trying to find out how to put this slideshow into my website; watch this space).

     

     

  2. Sometimes phone calls bring good news. In early November, I received a call from the Secretary of the Maritime Trust, an organisation which spans all aspects of maritime activity ranging from fishing, commercial shipping, cruise liners, research vessels, yachting, lifeboats, harbours, wreck hunting, ship design, marine nature reserves and marine conservation through to the activities of the Royal Navy. In short, everything to do with the sea. My book, On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service, had just been shortlisted to the last four out of thirty-eight entries for the Mountbatten Best Book Award 2108. 'Could I attend the Awards Dinner in Drapers' Hall in London. Of course I could!

    This was truly a grand event with lords and ladies, MPs, industry VIPs and no less than three First Sea Lords in attendance, one being Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce who joined the Navy with me and provided the Foreword to my book, though that was pure coincidence. In the event I was runner-up to a brilliant book called 'The Wreck Hunter', and had to take the stage to receive a Certificate of Merit from the current First Sea Lord. I have to thank my old submarine colleague Command Rupert Best for having nominated the book.

    I have incuded the list of other entrants plus a copy of my Certificat of Merit under Publishing.

  3. Through my American publishers, I was interviewed about my book on US radio. The interview was live over Skype telephone and lasted an hour. Here is the link:

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/delphi-vision/broadcasting/audio/podcast/2018/2065-2_Sep-26-2018-Wed_Commodore-Eric-Thompson_Warriors-for-Peace_rec-09-26-2018_0.mp3

    The interviewer, Donna Seebo, was a most impressive lady who runs her own commercial radio station. I was being interviewed on a book programme called, 'Warriors for Peace'. I liked the title.

    Donna had clearly done her homework and read my book. Her questions were very well informed and penetrating but whe was clearly 'on my side' and was most complimentary about the role that I and my fellow submariners have and still are playing in the maintenance of peace.

    She ended the programme by reading a poem I wrote in honour of my fellow submariners. It was the first time I had ever heard this ot any other poem of mine being read by anyone and there it was going out internationally over US Radio. I was greatly moved by Donna's reading of it and by the power of my own verse (he said modestly). You can hear it at the end of the link above and it is in my book towards the end (page 258) but for convenience, here it is:

    PEACE BE WITH THEM

    In the bowels of a beast with a heart of steel,

    in Neptune’s black abyss,

    stand sixteen silent sentinels

    on watch o'er Britain's peace.

    And through the black abyssal deep, each day of every year,

    the Reaper ploughs the ocean,

    and sows his seeds of fear.

     

    In the bowels of the beast with the heart of steel

    where the nuclear cauldron boils,

    a hundred brave submariners

    attend their awesome toils.

    Whilst snug in quilted feather beds, full fifty million sleep,

    and spare no thought for those at sea,

    nor pray their souls will keep.

     

     

  4. Dear Reader,

    I have had a number of requests to add people to my website newsletter address list, which is flattering but, alas, the publication of my book 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' in February triggered such demands on my time that the website had to be ignored. I shall now try to update it for you but this may take some time.

    Thank you for your interest,

    Eric

  5. In June, I was invited to be Chieftain of the Helensburgh Pipe Band Competition, which involved fifteen bands, four of which were school bands. My duties involved leading the parade at the start, presenting prizes and taking the salute at the end as the massed bands marched off. I have often been thrilled by watching the massed pipes and drums at the Edinburgh Tattoo from high in the stands but this time I was at eye level as the bands marched straight up to me and about turned within touching distance. It made the hairs on my neck stand up.

    Pipe Band Competition - massed band

    As I was not a clan chieftain and not entitled to wear eagle feathers in my hat, I decided to wear my submarine beret with my Submariners' Association cap badge. That seemed appropriate as the Submarine Service is in effect the local regiment in Helensburgh.

    Chieftain - Pipe Band Comp 2018

    By coincidence, a few weeks later, I happened to be visiting Aubigny-sur-Nere, near Orleans in France. This is where the Stewart kings lived in exile and the town is more Scottish than most Scottish towns. It was the weekend of their annual Fete Franco-Ecossais and the town was throbbing with people in all manner of kilts, including traditional plaid versions, but none of them were Scottish. This was the French end of the Auld Alliance. There was also a parade of seven pipe bands, none of which were Scottish. There were four Scottish-style bands from Paris, Geneva, Britanny and Aubigny as well as two traditional Breton bands and one from Asturias in Spain, the latter winning my prize for elegence as the ladies wore long skirts and seemed to float up the main street rather than marching. I was please to note that one traditional Breton band had pipes that were clearly 'Made in Scotland'.

    Asturian pipe badnd

    A Breton pipe Band

    Made in Scotland

    Aubigny sur Nere pipe band

  6. An analytical review of all information released by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization on the acoustic signal associated with the loss of the Argentina Submarine *ARA SAN JUAN* confirms the following:

    ● That acoustic signal originated near 46-10S, 59-42W at 1358Z (GMT) on 15 November 2017. *It was produced by the collapse (implosion) of the ARA SAN JUAN pressure-hull at a depth of 1275-feet*. Sea pressure at  the collapse depth was *570 PSI*. 

    ● The frequency of the collapse event signal (bubble-pulse) was about *4.4 Hz*.

    ● The energy released by the collapse was equal to the *explosion of 12,500 pounds of TNT* at the depth of *1275-feet*. 

    ● That energy was produced by the nearly instantaneous conversion of potential energy (sea-pressure) to kinetic energy, the motion of the intruding water-ram which entered the SAN JUAN pressure-hull at a speed of *about 1800 mph*.

    ● The *entire pressure-hull was completely destroyed* (fragmented/compacted) *in about 40 milliseconds* (0.040s or 1/25th of a second), the *duration of the compression phase of thecollapse event* which is half the minimum time required for cognitive recognition of an event.

    ● Although the *crew may have known collapse was imminent, they never knew it was occurring*.

    ● *They did not drown or experience pain. Death was instantaneous*.

    ● The *SAN JUAN* wreckage *sank vertically* at an *estimated speed between 10 and 13 knots*.Bottom impact would not have produced an acoustic event detectable at long range*.

     â– The open questionis: ... *Why was no corrective action - such as blowing ballast - taken by the *SS SAN JUAN* *crew before the submarine sank to collapse depth?* 

    According to Argentine Navyspokesman Gabriel Galeazzi, the Commanding Officer of the *SS SAN JUAN* reported a *"failure"* in thesubmarine's *"battery system"*, The time of that report was 0730 on 15 November, assumed to have been GMT. Subsequently, the problem was reported to have been *"fixed"*. 

    The *SS SAN JUAN* intended to submerged and continued its transit north. The*SS SAN JUAN* *pressure-hull collapsed at 1358 GMT on 15 November*.

    In the case of the loss of the US nuclear submarine *SCORPION (SSN 589)*, hydrogen out-gassed by the main battery exploded at 18:20:44 GMT on 22 May 1968 *incapacitating/killing the crew with an atmospheric over-pressure in the battery well, estimated to have been 7-10 times the fatal value*. The pressure-hull was not breached. This assessment was based on analysis of acoustic detections of the event and damage observed in pieces of the fragmented battery recovered from the wreckage at a depth of 11,100 feet by the *US submersible TRIESTE*, e.g., microscopic, spectrographic and x-ray diffraction analyses. (There was no flooding of the pressure-hull before the battery exploded.)

    *USS SCORPION (SSN)* lost power and sank slowly over nearly 22 minutes to collapse at a depth of 1530-feet at 18:42:34 GMT on 22 May 1968.

    There is the possibility that a similar sequence of events occurred aboard the *SS SAN JUAN*. If the wreck is located and efforts are made to recover components, emphasis should be placed on the battery system.

    Bruce Rule

    Lead acoustic analyst at the US Office of Naval Intelligence