Tag Archives: Submariner

UK – Redcar Submariner will cycle from Coast to Coast – despite undergoing intensive chemotherapy

A YOUNG submariner from the region who is battling with a rare form of cancer is to cycle from Coast to Coast in aid of a children’s cancer charity.

JJ Nicholson, a tactical submariner with the Royal Navy who is from Redcar, East Cleveland, said training for the challenge was keeping his mind off his treatment and keeping his fitness levels up.

The 22-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer, after feeling an agonising pain in his left shoulder.

“It turned my world upside down. It was the worst news ever,” he said.

“I knew there was something seriously wrong.”

He was put straight on to the most intensive form of chemotherapy and has also had to watch his mother, Debra Ford, 47, battling breast cancer for the last three years.

“I cannot imagine what she is feeling but she just keeps going on normally,” said JJ, who is based at HMS Neptune, near Glasgow with the Royal Navy.

JJ,formerly of Rye Hills School in Redcar, has been engaged to fiancee Samantha for four years. He has undergone four sessions of chemotherapy and will have six in total before having an operation to remove bone from his upper arm in October. It will be replaced with an implant.

To find out more about the Toma Fund visit www.toma-fund.org

Source- The Northern Echo

UK – Court told of Corsock throat cutting attack

High Court in Glasgow

Prosecutors accepted that Hills was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the attack

A court has heard how a former Royal Navy submariner cut his wife’s throat with a knife after thinking she was conspiring against him.

John Hills, 47, struck his spouse Karen during the attack at their home in the village of Corsock in April.

He faced a charge of assaulting her to the danger of her life.

However, a judge acquitted him at the High Court in Glasgow after prosecutors accepted Hills was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.

He said that if he had meant to kill her then he could do so”

Paul KearneyAdvocate depute

Hills – who has no previous convictions – will remain in the State Hospital at Carstairs before returning to the dock in November.

The court heard how he was working as a call handler for the ambulance service based in Nottingham at the time of the attack.

This required him to spend time away from the family home in Corsock near Castle Douglas.

He had previously been with the Royal Navy for 23 years and had also been employed as a beekeeper.

In the weeks before she was assaulted, Mrs Hills had concerns about her husband, who believed people in the village were spreading rumours about him.

He mentioned “silent phone calls” and claimed that during one he had heard the sound of a gun being drawn.

On the morning of the attack, Hills unexpectedly returned home from Nottingham in the early hours.

Mrs Hills was later making breakfast when her husband suddenly walked into the kitchen naked.

Prosecutor Paul Kearney told the court: “He then began accusing her of being behind all the silent phone calls and of being responsible for his workmates being hostile towards him.

“He was saying things like: ‘I know what you are doing’.”

State Hospital, Carstairs
Hills was ordered to remain in the State Hospital at Carstairs until a review hearing

Mr Kearney said Mrs Hills was “very afraid” before her husband suddenly grabbed her face and pushed her against a door.

She started to struggle for breath and began to panic.

Mrs Hills then spotted a knife in his hand and he used the weapon to strike her across the neck.

She managed to break free and grab a towel to stem the heavy bleeding.

Hills meantime sat down on a chair and demanded she “tell the truth”.

Mr Kearney went on: “He said that he knew she could hear him as the wounds she had were not deep enough.

“He said that if he had meant to kill her then he could do so.”

Mrs Hills eventually escaped to a neighbour’s house where an emergency call was made.

‘Profound impact’

Hills was later discovered by police at his house lying in blood with a wound to his arm.

He told a doctor that he and his wife had been having “issues” and that he suspected her of being involved in a “conspiracy” at home and at his work.

Mrs Hills was found by medics to have two deep wounds to her neck, which were potentially life-threatening. They have left her permanently scarred.

Advocate depute Mr Kearney said: “The impact upon her has, as might be expected, been profound.”

The court heard Hills was assessed by two consultant psychiatrists, who both concluded he was suffering from a delusional disorder at the time.

It was their opinion that, due to this, he did not “appreciate the nature and wrongfulness” of his conduct.

Source – BBC News

Judge Lord Doherty imposed an interim compulsion order for Hills to remain at Carstairs.

The case was continued until a review hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on 4 November.

The Malpas birthplace of Newport’s submariner hero, Commander John ‘Tubby’ Linton VC, is to get a blue plaque


HONOUR: The Malpas birthplace of Newport’s submariner hero, Commander John ‘Tubby’ Linton VC, is to get a blue plaque

A RENOWNED submarine commander from Newport who was awarded the Victoria Cross will be recognised tomorrow with the unveiling of a plaque on the house where he was born.

John Wallace Linton VC, known as ‘Tubby’, was born in Malpas and went on to command submarines during the Second World War.

He was responsible for sinking around 100,000 tonnes of enemy shipping but died along with his crew, almost certainly due to his submarine, HMS Turbulent, being hit by an Italian depth charge.

The blue plaque will be 18 inches in diameter and will read: “Commander John Wallace Linton VC, distinguished service across the Royal Navy, was born here 15 October 1905. Posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross 25 May 1943 for conspicuous gallantry whilst in command of HM Submarine Turbulent during operations in the Mediterranean Sea.”

It will be mounted on the porch of the house where he was born in the grounds of St Joseph’s Hospital.

This plaque will be the first of a series dedicated to submarine commanders.

Rick Rothwell, secretary of the Submariners’ Association, said: “He was very well thought of by all his crew.

“That goes a long way to a submarine achieving good results, the crew being 100 per cent behind the commander.

“The management committee thought it was a good idea, while there are still living contacts to the submarine VCs, to commemorate them.

“It’s a piece of history that may never be repeated. The submarine service is over 113 years of age and in that very short time it achieved 14 Victoria Crosses.”

The Victoria Cross is the highest military honour for gallantry awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Doug Piddington, 81, secretary of the Newport and Cwmbran Royal Naval Association, said: “He (Tubby) was one of the greatest submarine commanders that the country has ever seen.”

A memorial service to Commander Linton is held every year and in 2004 a Wetherspoons pub on Cambrian Road was named after him.

Source – South Wales Argus

UK – Mourners pack out funeral for ex-submariner – Video clip

THE Armed Forces are sometimes dubbed ‘the biggest family in the world’ and today proved exactly that.


Scores of mourners turned out at Fareham Cemetery, Wickham Road, to see off Rodney ‘Vic’ Silvester, a veteran who served on nuclear submarines for many years.

Vic, 67, died last week at QA Hospital after losing his fight with cancer.

Prior to his death, he had spent a short time at Woodland Court residential care home in Portchester.

Not much had been known about Vic before his death as he had become withdrawn after his friends and family had all died.

His one remaining cousin came forward to organise the funeral, but when Supporting Veterans in Care Facebook group heard that Vic faced a lonely funeral, it put out a plea for mourners.

The British Legion and the Submariners’ Association heard about the funeral and followed suit.

Today, representatives from the groups and people who had read the plea in The News turned out in Fareham.

A service was held where mourners heard about Vic’s career at HMS Dolphin, on HMS Odin and on HMS Dreadnought, before he was laid to rest.

A bugler played the Last Post as his coffin was committed to the ground.

John Harper, from Bognor Regis, is Vic’s second cousin. He said: ‘I think what these guys do is fabulous, absolutely superb. I didn’t expect such a large turn out, it’s brilliant. I would like to say thank you very much for everybody for turning out. Rod would have been chuffed to bits, so would his dad. He would have loved every bit of it.’

Roy Dixon, from Gosport, is part of the Submariners’ Association. He said: ‘We heard that Vic had passed and the information was very scant but one significant factor was that we had heard only one member of family had been in contact. So we decided that we would not let the side down, and do what we would always do and attend the funeral of a fellow submariner. I’m so pleased that the turn out is as good as this, from all walks of navy life, surface ships, bombers, diesel boats, there’s even a green beret here which is really something.’

Lisa Smith and Tamie Pye, staff from Vic’s care home, were at the funeral.

Tamie said: ‘He came out of his shell once he came to us. He was like a new man.’

Lisa said: ‘He kept himself to himself but he did like to have a good chat, especially about his navy days.’

Father Paul Miles-Knight led the service . He said: ‘It is amazing to see. At the start there was only going to be me and three others here but thanks to the wonders of the internet, the veterans got together. He would have been proud.’

Source – The News


US – Former Navy leader Adm. Frank Kelso dies in Norfolk

Adm. Frank Kelso, who died Sunday, was chief of naval operations from 1990 to 1994.

Adm. Frank Kelso, who died Sunday, was chief of naval operations from 1990 to 1994.

In the place where he was born and where he retired, he was known as a hometown hero who made it all the way to chief of naval operations, influenced men of power and maintained the humility of an ordinary guy next door.

In Norfolk, where he served pivotal years in his 38-year career, Adm. Frank Kelso was a senior regional commander who helped run operations at the end of the Cold War and during heated years in the Middle East before being tapped to run the entire Navy.

Kelso, 79, died Sunday after suffering a fall, according to Navy officials. He was in Hampton Roads visiting his son Robert, a Navy captain who was chief of staff of Navy Cyber Forces until this year. Kelso attended the high school graduation of his grandson, Robbie Kelso, who, following in his grandfather’s footsteps, will go to the Naval Academy in the fall.

“As CNO, he led our Navy through the Gulf War and the uncharted early days of the post-Cold War era with skills and dedication,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. “Adm. Kelso was a submariner, an accomplished commander and an unmatched leader known for his intelligence and integrity.”

Kelso spent nearly four decades building a career from his days as a submariner to his place at the Navy’s helm. He led forces in strikes against Libya, helped rescue hostages of Palestinian hijackers, and oversaw a difficult drawdown of the Navy at the end of the Cold War. During that period, he realigned the Navy to work more closely with the other services.

But he told a historian that despite his career of nearly four decades, he feared his name would always be tied to the 1991 Tailhook scandal, in which dozens of women were sexually assaulted during a convention of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers in Las Vegas.

“He lamented… that for many people, that may be the only thing people will remember about him – and he did so much,” said Paul Stillwell, who conducted 37 hours of oral interviews with Kelso as the director of the U.S. Naval Institute’s history division.

The scandal marked the end of numerous officer careers and ultimately led Kelso to retire early. He said he had become “a lightning rod” and hoped his stepping down would shift the focus forward.

Kelso was accused of witnessing abusive acts and turning a blind eye, something he vehemently denied, Stillwell said.

“My assessment was that was not something he would stand for, nor would he lie about it,” Stillwell said. “He was just an individual for whom I had great admiration. He was unpretentious, down to earth, and for someone who accomplished as much as he did, that was very refreshing.”

Kelso’s two sons both served in the Navy, and two weeks ago he attended the graduation of a grandson who is headed into the Navy.

Kelso led the Navy’s 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea during the 1980s, leading the operation to capture hijackers of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and the subsequent air strikes on Libya in response to state-sponsored terrorism.

He served in Norfolk from 1986 until 1990, first as commander in chief of the Atlantic Fleet and then as NATO’s supreme allied commander, Atlantic and as commander in chief of U.S. Atlantic Command.

Retired Vice Adm. Robert Dunn, who commanded Naval Air Force Atlantic in those years, said he never saw Kelso fall short of his duties as a leader.

“He always had a kind word for everyone,” Dunn said. “Good people just naturally flocked to him.”

Kelso became chief of naval operations in 1990 and served until his retirement in 1994. He oversaw the Navy in the Gulf War even as he managed severe budget cuts. Kelso realigned the Navy to meet new, tighter demands. He also supported the integration of women into more wide-ranging roles and command, particularly in the wake of Tailhook.

In Fayetteville, Tenn., where Kelso is to be buried Saturday, businesses lowered flags to half-staff for a man described as a lifelong friend and active community leader, said Ann Hatcher, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church.

“He was a remarkable man and what has always impressed me so much about him was his humility,” said Hatcher, who knew Kelso from the time she was a young girl.

“He was probably the most important person I would ever meet in my lifetime, but it was never about him. It was always about someone else.”

Source – PilotOnline.com


Royal Navy Submariner earns dolphins - the American way

A Royal Navy submariner recently received US Navy Submarine Service “dolphins”, making him just the second UK officer to qualify on a US Navy submarine.

It has been a tough process, but getting my US Navy dolphins is one of the highlights of my career and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

Lieutenant Matt Main RN

Lieutenant Matt Main has already earned his Royal Navy dolphins – the unique badge which signifies a qualified submariner – but on June 10 he was presented with the US equivalent after a gruelling 27 month training and qualification process.

Matt, a Marine Engineer (Submarines) in the Royal Navy, was presented with the US dolphins by Commander George Perez, Commanding Officer of the USS New Mexico, after his success as part of the US-UK Personnel Exchange Programme.

Fully integrated into the crew of USS New Mexico, Matt is currently the Damage Control Assistant and will become the Assistant Engineer in due course before returning to the Royal Navy.

US Navy submarine officers must qualify both forward and aft to earn their dolphins and so, for Matt, learning to drive the submarine both surfaced and submerged has been a unique experience.

“It is a real privilege to serve on this fine submarine with such a professional, motivated crew,”

said Matt.

“It has been a tough process, but getting my US Navy dolphins is one of the highlights of my career and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“The welcome I received when I reported on board a year ago was incredibly warm and I am proud to call these men my brothers.”

Commander Perez said:

“After a fast-paced, demanding year of intense operations, Lieutenant Main has earned his gold US dolphins.

“He is fully qualified to stand Officer of the Deck on USS New Mexico and will do so repeatedly over the next year as he assumes an even larger role in the day-to-day operations of the ship.

“When an officer earns his dolphins in the US Navy, it signifies that they have demonstrated, through performance as the Officer of the Deck, a thorough understanding of all aspects of submarine operations.”

Lieutenant Main was presented his dolphins during a ceremony alongside HM Naval Base Clyde. Witnessing events were the crew of USS New Mexico as well as Royal Navy colleagues.

Matt is the second Royal Navy officer to earn US Navy submarine dolphins, with the first, Lieutenant Commander Ralph Coffey, receiving his after serving with USS Providence from 2010-12.

Source – Royal Navy Website

Submariner has his long service in the Royal Navy recognised

A DEVONPORT submariner has been given an award in recognition of his long service in the Royal Navy.

Warrant Officer Jeff Griffiths has been handed the award for dedication, professionalism and leadership after concluding his 33-year career as a submariner.

 ​Warrant Officer Jeff Griffiths receives his award
Warrant Officer Jeff Griffiths receives his award

Griffiths, who left the Royal Navy in 2012, had been a key member of the team working on the UK’s strategic missile deterrent submarines. He had also been a vital part of the successful overhaul of HMS vigilant.

A veteran of the Falklands Conflict, Jeff joined the Royal Navy in 1979, working his way up to the highest non-commissioned rank.

Jeff said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed serving in the Royal Navy submarine service and I’m pleased that I will be able to continue supporting the submarine fraternity in my new civilian post.”

Captain Paul Methven, Superintendent Submarines for Royal Navy at Devonport, presented the certificate at a ceremony on Tuesday.

He praised Jeff’s outstanding service. “Jeff has made an immense contribution over many years.

“His knowledge of the systems and how to get things done is second to none and we shall miss him.”

But I’m delighted that he is remaining part of the submarine enterprise and that he’ll be able to use and pass on his experience in others in his new job”.

Source – Plymouth Herald