Royal Naval Submarines 1901 - Present
By Maurice Cocker
Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime 2008 144 Pages
PDF 49 MB
The Observer's Directory of Royal Naval Submarines was first published in 1982 just after the Falklands War, where submarines played such a decisive part. Having owned a copy from that time, I know what a very useful and informative book this is for anyone interested in the submarine service from its inception in 1901 to the present day. I am very pleased that it has been updated to cover the last 25 years including the introduction of the Trident deterrent weapon system and the brand new Astute class the first of which is going on sea trials this year.
In 1900 the Royal Navy was slow introducing submarines in the Fleet as it recognized early the threat they posed to the might of the Battlefleets and therefore the risk to the supremacy of the Royal Navy at that time. Once they had embraced the new technology, developments moved fast and within ten years had, with the introduction of the E Class, a boat that has many of the characteristics of a modern diesel powered submarine. The young service, known at that time as "The Trade", as it was no occupation for a gentleman, acquitted itself well in the First World War and the foundations of over 100 years of success were laid. The centenary of the submarine service was celebrated in 2001 with a major update to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport which is sited near the Alma Mater of the submariner, HMS Dolphin, now a tri-service medical establishment sadly without any submarines alongside.
As I joined submarines in 1969, the nuclear age was coming into being and a look through these pages reminds me how quickly the Royal Navy built up its nuclear fleet. In the 1960s ten nuclear powered boats were built, crews were trained and successfully went on operations in support of the Cold War, whether deterrent patrols or anti-submarine operations against the Soviet Navy. This is in addition to 15 conventional boats of the P & O class also commissioned in the 1960s; a total of 25 new submarines in 10 years. In the 25 years since this excellent book was first produced, we have built only 12 new submarines, 8 nuclear and four diesel, and those were sold some before being even commissioned. Our present numbers are too low, but I am pleased to report that the quality remains high and the Astute class should be a significant advance on any that have gone before.
I commend this most useful book.
Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE President Submariners' Association