Royal Navy ('The Andrew')

Just been presented with a bottle fo Glenfiddich from the BBC for winning their Burns Poetry Writing Competition

From school I went to Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth to win my Commission; then to the Royal Naval Engineering College Manadon (now demolished) for an Honours degree in Electrical Engineering, and later to the Royal Naval College Greenwich for a post grad diploma in Nuclear Reactor Technology. After my sea time in submarines, I became a specialist in sonar, homing torpedo development and stealth technology, the very stuff of 'Hunt for Red October' for which I could have written the script. For that, I took a Masters degree in Acoustics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

As a creature of the Cold War, I served in HM Ships Vigilant, Hermes, and Barrosa and HM Submarines Andrew, Otter, Osiris, Conqueror and Revenge in which I was awarded an MBE for leadership during an emergency on patrol. After numerous staff appointments, I finished my Naval career in senior management ending up as Commodore in charge of the high profile HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, home base for the UK's nuclear-powered attack and strategic nuclear deterrent submarines.

1943 - HMS Intrepid sinking in Port Lakki, Leros

My father's ship, HMS Intrepid, being sunk by German bombers at Port Lakki in Leros. The second wave of bombers can be seen approaching in the photo below. The second victim was the Greek Navy's Queen Olga. This was in September 1943 when I was in my mother's womb. Leros is the fictional Navarone in 'Guns of Navarone'.

With the help of the Greek Resistance, my father and most of Intrepid''s crew escaped via a Turkish merchant ship, Free French destroyer, overland trip from Beirut to Alexandria, thence back to Coatbridge via a hazardous passage through the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic sea areas which were still under German threat. I had been born by the time my father returned home.

Intrepid had a busy war. She rescued troops trapped on the Dunkirk beaches; laid mines off the German coast; escorted shiploads of tanks up to Murmansk for the Red Army; searched for the mighty German battleship Bismarck; sank a U-boat; participated in the deadly supply convoys to starving Malta; covered the Allied landings in Italy; escorted the surrendered Italian fleet from Taranto to Malta before heading up to her grave in Leros. 

Lest We Forget

The graves of Intrepid's dead in Port Lakki, Leros