On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service celebrates the fact that I have lived through the second-half of the twentieth century and never known war. Had I lived through the first-half, I would have faced two world wars, the bloodiest in the history of the human race. But peace did not happen by accident. I (and you) have lived under a nuclear umbrella. Forty five years of my life were spent during the Cold War. 

After the horrors of the Second World War, Churchill said: 'It must never happen again.' To ensure it did not, the victors equipped themselves with nuclear weapons, weapons so devastating that they were the ultimate deterrent to a third world war. The principle was called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). 

Inspired by the heroes of the Second World War, I joined the Royal Navy in 1961, volunteered for submarines and served in Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent programme. My career spanned thirty-seven years and ended as Commodore in charge at Faslane, the operating base for our nuclear deterrent submarines. As a submariner, I was but one of thousands of men* engaged in this peacekeeping mission. (*There were no women in our submarines during the Cold War. There are now.) We were all anonymous, quietly doing our duty and far from the public eye. Heroes were not required but nor were we robots; we also had lives to lead. 

'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' is a definitive inside story of a highly secret world. It is utterly authentic, on occasion amusing and, I hope, thought provoking. It is my statement of gratitude for the peace I have enjoyed.

Below is a fifteen minute video illustrating the background to the book.

Through my American publishers, I was interviewed live for an hour on US radio (click on link below). 

The interviewer, Donna Seebo, ran her own commercial radio station and I was on her book review programme, 'Warriors for Peace'. I liked the title. The questions were well informed and penetrating. 

Donna ended the programme by reading my poem, 'Peace be with them', written in honour of my fellow submariners. I had never heard it read before and was moved by her reading - and by the power of my own verse (he said modestly). You can hear her reading it at the end of the link below. It is in the book but for convenience, here it is:


In the bowels of the 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 a 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.


'Nobody knows where the submarine goes. And nobody gives a damn.' (Graffiti in a Fleet Tender)

June 1978 - HMS Revenge on patrol

The sudden roar came as a shock. It sounded like a jumbo jet taking off.

'Steam leak in the TG room!' a voice shrieked over the intercom.

The roar said it all. This was serious.

Frank Hurley and I exchanged glances. 'Whot-da-fock!' he exclaimed.

We were in the tail end of a nuclear submarine, locked-in behind the massive steel doors of the reactor compartment. Our space was filling with steam. I was Senior Engineer and on watch. My moment of truth had come.

I pressed the general alarm three times - baaaa baaaa baaaa: 'Steam leak in the TG room,' I screamed over full main broadcast. There were one hundred and forty men for'ard, not least the Captain. They needed to know; this was a whole boat emergency. In the heat of the moment I forgot to cancel full main broadcast. The entire crew would now be entertained by my new soprano voice - strange how panic reacts on the testicles.

I knew the emergency drill by heart: Shut both Main Steam Stops. That would shut off all steam to the Engine Room. At a stroke, it would kill the leak. It was no more difficult than switching off the bedroom lights but it would also scram the reactor, the pumping heart of the submarine; the plant would automatically go into Emergency Cooling and there was no recovery from that at sea. We would have lost our power source, be reduced to a dead ship. We would have to surface and signal for a tug. Unthinkable. Revenge was a Polaris missile submarine on Strategic Nuclear Deterrent patrol. She was the country's duty guardian. We were the nation's assurance that World War Three would not happen, not on our watch. We were in our top-secret patrol position. Our number one priority was to remain undetected. Surfacing and calling for a tug would mean breaching one of the country's most highly guarded secrets - where we were. It would mean national humiliation. The credibility of our Nuclear Deterrent was at stake.

If I got it wrong now, the political ramifications would be incalculable. Jim Callaghan's Government was riven by anti-nuclear sentiment. Many of his Labour MPs were proud to flaunt CND badges in public, none more so than Michael Foot, the left wing leader-in-waiting; this could be their golden opportunity. If the Deterrent were seen to fail, British nuclear strategy would be holed below the waterline. Britain could lose its place in the UN Security Council. The Americans could end our Special Relationship. These lofty anxieties flashed through my mind as I prepared to be poached alive.

The Main Steam Stops were operated by push buttons behind my head. I hit the starboard button first. Then a split-second thought occurred. There was a fifty-fifty chance I'd got it right first time. 'Which side?' I yelled into the microphone.

'Starboard,' came a strangulated reply, the voice of Leading Mechanic 'Bungy Mack', a twenty-year-old Liverpudlian on watch below.

Thank God I had not hit the port button; we could survive on half power. But the roar had not stopped. Holy shit! The leak was on the boiler side of the stop valve! One massive, nuclear-powered steam generator was discharging its steam into my airspace and could not be stopped. We were in a race against time. The boiler had to be emptied before it killed us.


Out of the blue, Commander Rupert Best, a Cold War submarine Commanding Officer who had joined the Navy with me, nominated 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' for the annual Mountbatten Best Book Award, a national competition with 37 other titles on the short list. My book made it to the final four and I was duly invited to attend the Awards Dinner in the opulent Drapers' Hall in the City of London.admdiral It was like the Oscars ceremony.

The winner was 'The Wreck Hunter' by David Mearns (my face fell) but the very good news was that my book was voted runner up and I had to go on stage to receive the certificate (above) from the First Sea Lord.

There were two former First Sea Lords also in attendance, including Admiral of the Fleet, the Lord Boyce, who had not only joined the Navy with me but had also very kindly written the foreword to my book. (He was not involved in the judging process).

There were four others in the audience who had joined the Navy with me in 1961. That gave me the greatest satisfaction of all. Any one of us could have written a similar story of his time 'On Her Majesty's Service'. There was a tangible sense of being 'all of one company'.


Things were now moving. My agent, Ian Drury, sent me my publishing contract for signing and I was to meet my publishing editor. All very exciting but a bit scarey; the contract holds me personally responsible for any defamation of character or breach of copyright. 

Sorting out copyright on old photos was a devil of a job; two of the photographic companies listed on photos I wished to use were long since out of business but their copyright may have been sold to others or passed on in wills to family. All too difficult; I did not use such photos. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the US Navy came up trumps and allowed me use all their photographs. For this type of book, I had also to ensure that I was not breaching the Official Secrets Act. As I was well aware of what information should not be divulged, this was not a problem and MOD gave me security clearance virtually without challenge.

As this was an autobiography, real people were involved and I had to ensure that I was not guilty of libel. That was more sensitive. This was not a kiss-and-tell story and I had no desire to stab former colleagues in the back. Where I felt that offence may be caused, I used fictitious names. However, the book was about my personal character development and so it was necessary to describe difficult inter-personal challenges. I tracked down, as far as I could, all the people I had mentioned and sent them copies of the relevant manuscript pages. It was quite a task and a bit of white knuckle effort when writing to people with whom I had crossed swards.

This process could have raised real problems if too many of my victims demanded major changes. In reality, few did and several offered extra tit bits for inclusion. It was a life re-affirming experience. I found myself entering into the warmest of e-mail exchanges with old colleagues and former bosses. The most touching was a most generous reply from a former Captain who had sacked me in my first job; he had been a bete noir for about thirty years.

WARNING: Putative memoir writers beware: one former senior officer with whom I had once crossed swords, despite his name not being given in the book, took serious exception to my description of our clash (I had sent him a draft for comment) and subsequently wrote a character assassination of me disguised as a book review in the Naval Review. That entirely vindicated my description of him in the book. Two others who were not mentioned by name, recognised themselves and gave adverse feedback comments on Amazon. Fortunately, they were a tiny minority. I have received fifty five-star ratings on Amazon at the last count.


The moment every writer dreams of, on 30th June, 2017, I met my publisher for the first time. Casemate (UK) is based in Oxford and specialise in military history. I met Clare Litt, the Publishing Director, and Tom Bonnington, the Marketing Executive, in the Ashmolean Museum - clearly I was viewed as an old fossil! We hit it off straight away. 

On first contacting me, they had asked for any suggestions I had for a cover and I sent them a photograph. Now they surprised me by pulling out their graphic artist's design and asked for my opinion. I thought it was brilliant. It is a really dynamic cover, worthy of a thriller.  That's where the skill of a professional graphic designer comes in; I would have gone simply for a photograph.

Getting the cover done is the first priority for a publisher as it has to go into the book catalogues well ahead of actual publishing. My cover  appeared in Casemate's Spring 2018 Catalogue. After that, professional editors/readers attack the manuscript and may call for lots of editing. (Mine did not. My manuscript had already been very well edited). The advanced copies are then sent to the book reviewers. After that, the print copy will surface (to use submarine terminology). My publishing date was scheduled for Feb/Mar 2018, five months earlier than I had expected.

After years of slogging away on my laptop, it was difficult to believe that this was actually happening.

Then it's on to marketing.


Once a book is published, it has to be promoted. That is another task in its own right. Very large publishers may have a marketing department. Smaller publishers do not. Ultimately, the author has to much of the marketing.

In my case, I had some previous experience of media management and my younger son was in that business. Thus, I did achieve some excellent coverage in the Scottish media including TV interviews but was unable to penetrate the UK national broadsheets or TV channels. I did however get a full page spread out of the blue in the Mail on Sunday. Casemate's US office also set me up for a one hour live radio interview on a US Radio book programme.

Book festivals seem to be difficult to break into because they want well-known authors to bring in the crowds and make the festival financially viable. From my point of view, the economic benefits of attending book festivals at the other end of the country, don't add up. I did manage  to gain a place in Glasgow's Aye Write lierary festival and the Berwick-on-Tweed Literary Festival. Both were most enjoyable and I was well recieved by full audiences (very humbling).

Booksigning at the Aye Write Literary Festival in Glasgow


The full range of Amazon readers' feedback can be viewed on the Amazon website. Attached below is a selection of some of the kind words I have received (and treasure). 


'It’s been an immense pleasure and privilege to work with you on your book, one of our great recent successes. I hope Casemate may have the opportunity to do so again in the future. You need to write another non-fiction book on a military topic.    Clare Litt (Publishing Director, Casemate UK)

'Very much enjoyed On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service - both the clear writing style, the information in it and how you bring the people to life. (Still laughing over leek in the Captain's cabin.)'    Caroline Bott (Goodreads.com)                                                                                                                                                                         

'I read the book over the weekend. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it told me a lot of things I didn’t know. It was a fantastic read. The inclusion of Kate as such an anchor in the author's life and career was so well put and stood for all of us, we submarine wives.  It was a wonderful recognition of our support.'   Sally Milnes, wife of veteran submarine Commanding Officer

'I have learned more from it about submarine operations and naval matters in general than I ever learnt by sleeping with Jeff!  Well done - it is a great read.'   Bonnie Tall, wife of veteran submarine Commanding Officer

'I haven't laughed so much in ages!!  The book was a really good read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm not an avid reader, and it's quite rare for me to say 'I couldn't put it down', but I couldn't.'   Jan Martin, former WRNS Officer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

'Amazing. Can’t put it down but must get to bed. Thought I would stop at the foreword but....... Intriguingly written, I who know nothing about subs, the Cold War etc etc want to find out more!'  Jan Ditchfield (Adelaide, Australia)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

'I am loving this book and learning so much from it.'    Jenny Wilson (author) 

'I loved this book. I’ve been rather intrigued by life in submarines, so it was really illuminating to read about the highs and lows and life beyond. I even enjoyed the technical bits about torpedoes and nuclear reactors. How on earth did the author remember all the details?!  He writes with great humour and I laughed out loud several times and appreciated his excellent poetry and drawings too! The re-emergence of Cold War tensions in recent times makes this book’s themes all the more apposite! A brilliant book.'    Alison Melton, Cambridge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

'Terrific book. I enjoyed it very much and gave it five Kindle stars. I enjoyed seeing the Service through the eyes of someone passionate about.'   Angela Tyack, Brighton

'It was a huge privilege to read Eric’s book. There were a lot of laughs. Firstly may we say that Kate, the author's wife, seemed a very special lady and we were saddened to learn that she is no longer here to share the author's sense of fun. One memory of the book is the story of the leek on St David’s Day. Many congrats on such an amusing book.'   Nicholas and Caroline Bracegirdle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Really enjoying the book.'      Susan Castle, Helensburgh Writers' Workshop                                 


'I have just finished reading ‘On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service'. This might seem slightly surprising as I am a retired Army officer and also active in anything to do with getting rid of our nuclear deterrent! A submariner friend suggested I might find the book instructive. I had only intended to read the chapters dealing with the deterrent. However, as I found it so well written I decided to read the whole book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author had fascinating career. He has not changed my mind (about nuclear deterrence) but I felt at the end I knew more about submarines in general than I did before. I was moved and saddened when I read he had lost his wife at a time when both should be enjoying retirement. I thank him for writing an excellent book.'     Major General Patrick Cordingley OBE DSO FRGS (Commander of the Desert Rats during the First Gulf War)

'I thought the book brilliant and certainly an eye opener as to what the RN and submarine service was like during that (Cold War) era. It was also well written and very 'readable' - I would certainly thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in the navy. I was sorry to finish it!'   Alistair Roach (Society for Nautical Research)

'Fully enjoyed the book and reviewed it on the military enthusiast book club.'   Simon Jakubowski

'Very few autobiographies include a "laugh out loud" feature, but this does.' Tim Concannon (author)

'Am still falling off my chair having read Page 96. The best RN dit yet!!'      Mike Critchley (author, maritime tour guide, former naval officer)   www.maritmeheritagetours.co.uk   

'Much of the focus of this book falls exactly in line with my desired career path. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am recommending it to many of my new Navy-related friends! Given the secrecy of the Silent Service, knowledge about one's daily activity is hard to come by, so this book has been an absolute gold mine in making an informed decision about applying to join the Submarine Service. I would just like to thank  the author for writing this marvellous book, and for providing advice that might help my own career, particularly as I am yet to make that first impression!'   Nick Broomfield (graduate applicant for Naval Officer entry)  (PS He is now a commissioned nuclear submarine officer and invited me to his Passing Out Parade at Dartmouth. That made me very proud.)

'Have just finished reading 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service'. It has served as reassurance to myself in my ambition to join the Royal Navy Submarine Service. My thanks to the author for writing it and sharing the story of his extraordinary naval career. As a mere Officer Cadet in the University Reserve Naval Unit, I hope that my future naval career can be just as fulfilling and that I shall be able to make a difference as the author did.'  Patrick Bingham (university student)                                                                                                                              

I am not fit to clean the author's boots, but I do know that it's thanks to people like him that we are safe and prosperous.'                                                                                                          Geoffrey Hicking (savetheroyalnavy.org)

'I'm wondering if there is any way I can sue the author for inducing insomnia? After a long day having fun on holiday yesterday we retired after dinner tired out at 11h30. On reading of his adventures in Otter and Andrew, it was suddenly 01h30 and I was still awake! An enthralling read and I'm back in it now by the rooftop pool... I keep laughing out loud and having to explain why, latest being the lady asking about the obelisks at the public meeting.  So true! Riveting stuff throughout.'       Glenn Stuart, management consultant

'How much I enjoyed reading 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' over the last couple of weeks in the sun in Spain!  So many similarities with my 35 years in the Royal Marines with all its ups and downs. Congratulations on such a quality read.'  Captain John Perkins Royal Marines

'I completed my “In Depth” survey yesterday of this outstanding read and can say that it is one of my “Top Ten Ever” reads. It is now on my gift list. If I could I would MAKE every Politician/CND person read it. The best buy I have ever made.'                                                   Mike Hawkins                                                                                                                                                                                                     

'I saw it promoted in the Daily Mail and it really is an excellent read. You capture the atmosphere of serving in a submarine and the author's 'life commentary' adds another wonderful dimension. The text flows along like a full-powered nuclear submarine. It really is a fascinating read. It is brilliant.' Frank Farmer (former publisher)                                                                                                                                                                                                             

'Book and writing is PDB! Now I feel I could almost go into Faslane, stick a key in the ignition of a Nuke boat and drive it out of the Gareloch!'  Don Maclean, ex Royal Marine

 'I have just finished reading 'On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service' and thoroughly enjoyed it. Apart from being an excellent read, the book is a frank and fascinating account of the author's naval career with its numerous vicissitudes and ultimately great success. Much of it resonated with my own experience of being a 'civvy' supporter of the submarine world with which I greatly enjoyed and valued my involvement over many years.'    Peter Jukes, retired senior Civil Servant                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

'A fascinating and most enjoyable read: though aghast at some of the petty politics, although sadly not a surprise.  I am really enjoying it.'    Roger Cocks, IT Consultant

'Having just finished reading this autobiography, I have to say that it is brilliant! Being able to identify with the situations and many of the people mentioned helps, but it is the lightly de-fusing humour that adds so much to the deeper points the author needed to make and made so tellingly.'    Wren Hoskyns-Abrahall, former Naval Officer and commercial radio director

'I finished this excellent book last week. A grand read. The details of submarine routines were fascinating. I assume MoD counter-spooks and bosses gave it a thorough check!'    David Lane (best-selling author, journalist (Guardian and Economist) and former Naval Officer, Rome)

'I have just finished reading this excellent book. I found it extremely interesting, entertaining and thought provoking. I could just imagine the author in some of the situations he found himself in. Is there another book coming?'      Douglas Christie, Airdrie (childhood friend)

'It's brilliant ... especially enjoyed the leak in the captains cabin anecdote.'    David Butterfield

'Many thanks to the author for putting his life into text and furnishing me with the first book I have finished in years (other than engineering text books). His honesty and insight have given me purpose and settled my resolve to providing top quality support to HM, HMCS and RAN submarines. The last chapter had me welled up.'     David Beaven, Hawaii                                                                                         

'I found the book to be detailed, comprehensive and very interesting. It will become compulsory reading for the Submarine Service and probably the whole Navy. I wonder who will do the translations into Russian, Chinese, Indian and other countries because it will become required reading for all their Navy personnel.                                                         Ralph Taylor, Glasgow

 'I have just read this excellent book on the Nuclear Submarine Service and although I have had virtually no contact with the RN during the past 30 years, the book brought back many fond (and some less fond) memories, reminding me of all the fine officers I served with in submarines both at sea and ashore.'     Gordon Leveratt (Church minister and ex submarine officer)

'I have just finished reading this excellent book. I was at the Submarine Centenary Banquet at Lancaster Town Hall (mentioned in the book) and besides the author's after dinner speech, I certainly remember the stunning attractions of the (Russian) interpreter!'     Chris Maughan

'I purchased a copy of “On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service” and found it to be a bloody good read and, so much so that, I will peruse it again to recall the many useful didactics.'    Walker Hamilton, civil engineer, Glasgow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             'Wanted to say how much I’m enjoying the book. My son who is training to be a Weapons Technician Submariner bought it for me recently. What a great read, funny and moving. I feel as if I’m on the author's career journey with him.'   Gordon Urqhuart

'I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this book. I found it very informative and in parts amusing and moving.'                                                                                                                                                                                         David Collinson

'I enjoyed this book and take my hat of to the author. It's a brave action to place one's life on open view. The most memorable piece was the end of his last patrol when he returned to find Kate waiting for him. That was particularly emotional. So, well done for putting such feeling into the story and in so few words.   Jim Ditchfield (author)                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         'I have enjoyed reading the recently published book 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' and can thoroughly recommend it. My engineering career was spent on the construction of civil nuclear power stations and, as an Electrical Officer in the Royal Naval Reserves, Service matters, including signal reduction (degaussing in my case), are of continuing interest. So, the book was of great relevance at the technical level. However, other people, even those less interested in technical matters, and who are not members of the Service, are likely to enjoy the book as an autobiography in its own right and will come to better understand and appreciate those who endure a crowded, smelly, isolated environment for months at a time in order to protect us from aggression.'                                                                                                              J G Taylor, Civil Engineer

'I just finished binge reading 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' having downloaded it to Kindle from Amazon.  This was a great read and caused me a huge nostalgia attack. I am a former Canadian submariner. Anyway the point is to congratulate the author on a great book. I will inject it into the Canadian submarine community. Lots of good information particularly on safety, which I can use in my current position. '    Mitch Ewen, Canada

COMMENTS FROM NAVAL READERS (who served with me)

'This is simply a masterpiece! Just brilliant. It is not only the author's story but also his fellow submariners' legacy to the world. No one else could have written about our lives like he has.'    Richard Simpson, former nuclear submarine engineer officer

'Just a brief line to congratulate the author for 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service'. I really enjoyed it and, among other things, have seldom seen such a clear exposition of why we won the Cold War.'    Admiral Mike Harris                                                                                                                          

'By far the best piece of writing on our submarine story to date!  It is a cracking read ! A real page-turner with interesting comment on the geopolitics of our time. Also passionate and at times deeply moving (the passages on and letters to his wife especially so. Indeed the last chapter bought a tear to my eye). For me there was the added dimension of complete understanding of many of the personalities. Although I was 4 years behind the author, I found the depth of our shared experiences remarkable. Our careers were very similar, although for me read nuclear weapons rather than reactor engineering. Two things of note: the nervousness on joining Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth and the consistent feeling of inadequacy. I too was always so worried that I was not up to the job and experiences like the author's in HMS Otter mirrored mine in Resolution. Glad to say that eventually we both made it! I thank the author for putting into words so much of my own times.'      Commodore Tim Hare, former submarine strategic nuclear weapons officer

'It is one of the best naval Biog/recollection books I have read in the last 10 years. It was funny, touching and fascinating all at the same time, a real feeling of personal authenticity. I found the Revenge elements particularly well done – I think you were generous, touching and accurate in your writing. I get to see a lot of naval books in this job, and have reviewed for the Naval Review in the past, but I think yours is one of the best. A successor to ‘We joined the Navy’.   Captain Paul Quinn                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

'Have read the book from cover to cover thoroughly enjoyed it. The last patrol was also when I had my suspected Heart Attack and was asked if the worst happened to me did I want to be kept in the deep freeze or be buried at sea!                                                                                                                                                          Tony Asbridge (former shipmate of the author in HMS Revenge)

'Just finished devouring the book - bloody good read, thoroughly good stuff. Many thanks. Keep the bubble steady.'                           David Devins (Merseyside Submariners Association)

'I love the book and trust that it will be a best seller in it's genre. Have just finished and enjoyed every line.'    Doug Littlejohns, former submarine Commanding Officer and Tom Clancy associate.

'This book is brilliant. Brings back many happy memories of my time in boats. Can't put it down.'  Joe Gibson, former submarine radio specialist                                                   

"Cracking Read" is absolutely the right phrase.'    Commodore Jock McLees, former submarine Commanding Officer and British Naval Attache in India

'A magnificent achievement! I have thoroughly enjoyed this magnum opus. It is a page-turner par excellence, intensely readable and absolutely fascinating.'  Commodore Iain Somervaille                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Congratulations on a brilliant piece of work. I’m thoroughly enjoying it!  As Putin boasts of his new nuclear weapons, I am reminded of the introductory Churchill quote - “From what I have seen of our Russian friends …..”   Meanwhile our namby-pampy pc politicians continue to emasculate our forces.     Lieutenant Commander Roger Lovelock                                                                                                                                      

'I particularly enjoyed the coverage of the author's career once he had moved to the nuclear world - something I never experienced.  Whilst I respect, admire and always tried to embrace the same professionalism obviously required in that branch of the Service, I don't think I would have enjoyed the associated constraints implicit in such long deployments and lack of foreign port visits!'   David Mayo, former submariner and undersea technology expert

'I enjoyed every page. The author managed to avoid making it just a simple chronology by weaving into it, not just anecdotes, but also wonderful philosophical and historical insights that made the stories so much more interesting. I was so touched by the letters written to his wife Kate at the end of his patrols in Revenge, which were so heartfelt and searingly honest that I admit my eyes watered a bit on reading them! He also conveyed that feeling of insecurity and "must-not-fail." '                                                                                                Tony Taylor, former submarine Commanding Officer

'I have just finished reading 'On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service'. A very good read and brought back many flashbacks of my time on the bombers. Loved reading it but silly old sod that I am today, I cried when I read from page 257-259.'                                                                                                                                   Iain Livingston, former SSBN 'Bomber' Navigation Chief

'Fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. At last, I have been able to explain in more detail what happened on The Patrol in Revenge. We were at the height of the Cold War which, whilst not very comfortable internationally, was professionally fascinating and rewarding.'                                                     Barry Coward, former submarine Commanding Officer and author

'I have just finished reading this excellent book from cover to cover and found it almost unput-downable! A superbly written memoir which brought back memories of so many submarine events and incidents.'                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pat Walker, former submarine Commanding Officer

'The book is a gripping mix of emotions, humour, drama, and a record of the evolution of the Submarine Service.  Chapter 1 is marvellous, one of my top three favourites in TJTN ('They Joined the Navy').  There are many shafts of humour, Bungy Mack meeting the Queen Mother, being one which sticks in the mind.'     Captain Peter Baseby                                                                                           

'I really enjoyed this love letter to the submarine service. It is an excellent read and I loved the anarchic anecdotes, quite unlike a lot of submarine memoirs. It also explains the tremendous pressure the technical branches were under in the early days of Polaris and gives me a better understanding of what was going on (when I was a junior submariner). It was a book I have always hoped would be written.It was so overdue.'   Robbie Alexander ('Friends of the Submarine Museum')                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

'This book has been much enjoyed by one who was also quite ‘anchor faced’ - and proud of his service to Queen, Country and Ship. And I had some exciting moments, especially the ‘Night to Remember’ in HMS Warspite (collision with a Soviet submarine). This book is written rather more from the heart than some recent publications and further enhances my feelings of good fortune. I fully second the biook's observation that there is quite enough full time effort in just keeping afloat/dived/safe and in harmony with one’s fellow shipmates, that there is absolutely no necessity to add a war into one's work-load.'     Tim Honnor, former submarine Commanding Officer

'I am having trouble putting the book down dammit.... Now finished reading this excellent narrative full of great reminders of contemporaneous history.  An honest account of the author's career too. Congratulations on its Mountbatten Awards placing.  All including me say the book is a great read.'    Commander Peter Proctor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

'A very well written book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It highlighted the tremendous efforts and dedication of the engineers and 'back afties' who kept our boats safe and running. Theirs is an unsung story and I am so glad this book has given the world an insight into the challenges they faced and successfully overcame.'     Commodore Dan Conley, former submarine Commanding Officer and author

'I have just finished reading 'On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service' and very much enjoyed the read. This was a perfect blend of serious comment mixed with humour and lack of deference to those 'up top'. It was a heartfelt tale of trials, tribulations and triumphs over 37 years in the Navy.    Vlad Cirin, former nuclear submarine engineer officer

'The author was always one to stick his neck out and I congratulate him on his book. Brought back many mixed memories of good times and bad. I had no idea he had actually done something about the dreadful performance of our torpedoes. I liked the story about being called 'the best Divisional Officer' when he helped one of his sailors. I shall continue to enjoy his books.'    John Southorn, former submarine officer and university lecturer

'The book was excellent, a great read with humour and personal insights. I couldn’t agree more with his serious points.'                                                                                                                 Dai Faulconbridge, former nuclear submarine engineer officer

'How much I've enjoyed reading this excellent book. Not only was it beautifully written and a very good read, but it also brought back so many memories and life lessons from my own career. Congratulations to the author on a masterpiece.'  Commodore Marcus Fitzgerald, former submarine strategic nuclear weapons engineer officer

 'Thought the book was superb, well-written, funny and eminently frank.' Commodore Gale Bryan, former submarine strategic nuclear weapons engineer officer

'Have just finished reading 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' and just could not put it down! I’m amazed that the author could recall his Naval career in such detail. I found it very entertaining and also quite nostalgic at some times. Like the author, I was a nuclear engineer and was also trials commander for the Tigerfish torpedo. A highly readable and very entertaining book.'     Ian Anderson, former nuclear submarine engineer officer

'Bought this book and read it when I was on holiday.  Loved it and found some of the anecdotes and jokes right up my street.                      Commander Stephen Metcalf, serving nuclear submarine engineer

'How much I enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read, quite sharp and quite personal in parts. I could identify with everything.'                                                                                                Commander Geoff Herbert, former naval radio specialist

I enjoyed 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' very much. it brought back some memories for me. I joined HMS Resolution in build.'    John Clarke

'Have just finished 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' and would like to say how much I enjoyed it having been on HMS Renown (Port Crew) when she was being built at Cammell Laird and on two of her first patrols. I was a Petty Officer in the Navigation Centre. The book reminded me about life on board a Polaris Submarine in the late sixties and early seventies, an exciting time for me being in my early twenties and being involved with the UK's Nuclear Deterrent, and proud to have done so.'   Alan Milne

'I have just finished reading the excellent book, 'On Her Majesties Nuclear Service' (Kindle version), and I thank the author for putting the engineering side of the (Deterrent) story and the reality behind what the Polaris force did for the preservation of peace. I look forward to reading more of his books.'    Phil Huggett, former Polaris submariner

'I am thoroughly enjoying the book and would like to contact the author.'  Martin Buckley, ex HMS Otter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

'Great read and love the humour.'                                           Barry Loram HMS Dreadnought (70 to 76)

'Have just finished reading the excellent book, 'On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service'. I served with the author both in 'Monty Python's Floating Circus' and in Revenge when I was the sonar chief on board.'  David Heap                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


'I was lucky enough to catch the interview with Donna Seebo on Tuesday evening. I had not heard of her before but I found the hour thoroughly interesting. Having read the book it was obvious she had researched it well. I thought that she was respectful to both our submarine service and its contribution to maintaining world peace and also to you. Her questions were sensitive and she seemed tuned in to the humour that Americans often miss. On the other hand I liked the feeling that she put into her reading of your poem – brought a tear to my eye.'  Brian Thomas

'An excellent live radio interview. Thanks Eric you have done us proud. Donna Seebo is also remarkable and an example of the best in American journalism.'   Commander Henry Buchanan, nuclear submarine engineer

'I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this delightful book and subsequently heard the author's (US Radio) interview via the internet. Congratulations to the author on both. Looking forward to reading more of his books.    Adrian Martienssen                                                                                                                                                    

'A great listen. it brought back memories of my time on Renown (Polaris) and Warspite and Valiant (Hunter killers).'                                                                                                                                      John ( Scouse ) Rice

'Have just listened to the book interview on Radio USA. Thank you for saying it as it was, and probably still is. Book is now on my Christmas list.'   Charlie Hayward


'Dear Eric, Storm Emma has some advantages. I have hidden inside during the snow and have now read your book. Brilliant. I had no idea that you had such a varied career. Anarchic too. Lost count of the number of times you resigned. Lovely pieces about Kate. Would you be happy if I put OHMNS in for the Maritime Media Awards?  Commander Rupert Best, former submarine Commanding Officer  (He did and the book was voted runner-up in the Mountbatten Best Maritime Book Award 2018)

'Dear Eric, I’ve just finished your magnum opus, a tribute in itself as these days most books take me weeks! Many many congratulations on a magnificent piece of work. Your total recall and admirable clarity of presentation are highly praiseworthy. Not surprising, you had an uncommonly arduous career, moving between various crisis areas with increasing authority and beneficial effect. I knew a bit about signature reduction, and a fair bit about nuclear safety in all its ghastly totality, but the Torpedo story was new to me, and for that reason doubly fascinating. Your employment seems to have been unrelentingly difficult, which may or may not have been the way you liked it. You dealt with the great sadness of your wife’s illness and death with moving sincerity and economy. Overall, a magnificent piece of work which matches or exceeds your own high standards.'    Admiral Patrick Middleton                                                                                                                                                                                         

'Dear Eric, Your excellent new book arrived while I was away from home and my wife got there first. She was so impressed she told her mother (age 92) about it and it was promptly "borrowed" and read cover to cover before I was able to reclaim ownership.  I then read it, and found it compulsive reading. It brought back many memories, some good and some somewhat sobering, of the times we served together and also reminded me of many other parallels between your career and mine.  Like many of us I have not much spoken of many of my activities in the Royal Navy, perhaps inhibited by worries about security and also that people without direct experience might not understand.  It surprised me how much your book informed members of my close family, aided in large part by your clear, relatively jargon free and humorous approach (although my mother in law also said she found the glossary of terms very useful!).'      Admiral Tim Chittenden