Insight into life at sea for Peterhead Probus

Hugh Livingston.
Hugh Livingston.

Imagine being in a tin can measuring 426 feet long, with a 33 feet diameter, displacing 8,500 tons and containing a nuclear reactor, travelling 200 feet under the surface of the sea!

Hugh Livingston, president, welcomed Douglas Armstrong, to the first Peterhead Probus Club meeting of the season on Tuesday , September 23,

After very brief biographical details, Douglas focused his talk on his life as a mariner.

He told members about his initial training in the Royal Navy at HMS Fishguard to HMS Caledonia at Rosyth and receiving his Submarine Dolphins in 1986 from Prince Charles, reaching the rank of chief engineer in eigh years.

It was his responsibilities on HMS Resolution, one of the Polaris submarines, which provided a highly interesting insight into what is asked of men, women and families in the provision of a 24/7 nuclear deterrent for this country.

Douglas talked about the skills required by all on board, the shift patterns and the long periods at sea without any out-going communications.

He also touched on the psychology of mariners living in close proximity to each other for weeks at a time, the friendships forged, but, also the strain on family life living apart.

He said that secrecy and isolation are required at all times, with constant readiness in case the orders come in to fire any or all of the 16 missiles carried.

The training and qualifications received are second to none and are most welcome in later civilian life.

After a fascinating insight into a mariner’s life, William MacLeod thanked Douglas on behalf of club members for being able to spend time with them.

He said it was obvious from the questions from the floor that members had thoroughly enjoyed his interesting and highly informative talk.

The next meeting of Probus Club will be held on Tuesday, October 14, in the Palace Hotel at 10am.

The gues speaker on this occasion is Kevin Oliphant.