All aboard for the REAL navy lark

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Not some far flung island but Port Creek alongside Eastern Road, Portsmouth, earlier this week. I counted more than 50 plastic bottles along with other man-made filth.

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A Submariner’s Tale by Chas Cooke tells of his life under the waves in the Royal Navy’s diesel and Polaris submarines from 1972. (

He served 16 years, 13 in submarines, or boats as the service calls them. He only served in one surface ship, or skimmer as the submarine service calls surface vessels, HMS Ark Royal.

I must tell you that if you are of a nervous disposition don’t read the book as it is as near to the knuckle as it gets about life below decks, (and below the surface) in the Royal Navy.

Portsmouth and HMS Dolphin, Gosport, are mentioned often of course, as are the Scottish submarine bases.

I cannot even begin to write some of the anecdotes Chas has written about, but suffice to say, they could not have been made up.

Some will have you crying with laughter and others wondering what the hell the navy has come to. It is all taken in good part though so don’t be put off.

A brilliant read for ex-submariners, surface men and civilians alike but do be ready for some salty tales.