The Periscope Well


HM/SM Otter
The periscope well is located in the deck of the control on the old A class submarines and is approximately seven feet deep. When the periscope is lowered in goes into the well. In harbour doing maintenance in the well the periscope is raised and two safety pins are inserted to keep it from creeping down on the person below. Once in training we were told of an incident that occurred many years ago, a dockyard worker was in a periscope well and had failed to insert the safety pins. The hydraulics were seeping and the periscope silently and very slowly began coming down. By the time the worker realized this, it was too late. The bottom of the scope was already at the top of the well and he could not get out. There is always a lot of noise in a refitting submarine so no one heard his screams as he was slowly crushed to death.

I thought about that this morning as I slipped into the tunnel of the MRI unit. A sudden wave of nausea swept over me and I felt claustrophobic, I quickly shut my eyes and somehow managed to endure the 15 minutes in that narrow tube. Strange how with age we seem to lose the ability to cope with such simple things. However, I do recall I never felt at ease when I had to descend into a well to do maintenance and was always relieved to re-emerge onto the deck of the control room safe and sound. All happened a long time ago yet funny how certain things can provoke such memories.

God Bless and keep reading.

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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