THIS WEEK IN 1981: Newest ‘recruit’ of navy’s Silent Service

Chief petty officer W Murphy, right, introduces, from left, David Shepherd, Scott Macdonald, Shaun Thomas and Darron Hancock to the forward torpedo room of HMS Finwhale
Chief petty officer W Murphy, right, introduces, from left, David Shepherd, Scott Macdonald, Shaun Thomas and Darron Hancock to the forward torpedo room of HMS Finwhale
Southwick: Judging by the blackout black and white bands on the post on the left, this picture was taken during the Second World War.

NOSTALGIA: Put that light out! Zebra posts kept wartime drivers on road

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When Scott Macdonald, 11, applied for a submarine training course, enclosing his own design for an escape and rescue system, the Royal Navy Submarine School, Gosport, promptly invited him to start his career in the Silent Service six years early.

‘He won’t be allowed to sign his papers until he is 17 but we can’t afford to let his sort of enthusiasm go to waste,’ said a spokesman at HMS Dolphin, home of the 1st Submarine Squadron.

So Scott and three friends, David Shepherd, Shaun Thomas and Darron Hancock were given an intensive introductory course in the patrol submarine HMS Finwhale.

For the four boys, it was an exciting change from the classroom – and they were planning a quick return to the submarine world when the Gosport base held its next open day.