At the Top of the World

under the ice 002Going down memory lane once more!!


Lots of people talk about their bucket lists! Personally I have never had a particular bucket list, there were a few things I wanted to do and places I wanted to visit. However if they didn’t happen it would have not been a disaster. I did do one thing that few others can claim to have done. I surfaced through the Arctic ice cap aboard the submarine Alcide. Not a big deal if you google submarines under the ice, Numerous submarines have done this, mainly US, Russians and British but they were all nuclear submarines. It was considered a huge achievement when the USS Nautilus transitioned under the Arctic ice. Little was ever mentioned about us or other British diesel electric submarines going under the ice cap. The big difference between a nuke and a diesel was the need for the latter to surface to replenish its air supply. We surfaced under the ice in 1964, it was an amazing adventure and we played football on the surface. There was ice as far as the eye could see. We had a sentry posted on the fin with a 303 rifle on polar bear watch. We thankfully never saw any polar bears and we didn’t play football for very long either, it was damn cold!!. We had no special Arctic survival clothing in those days just our parka’s and sea boots. The conditions inside the boat was most unpleasant, with the extreme cold water temperature outside the hull and the heat inside the boat caused condensation like it was raining, I had to sleep with my oilskin coat over me trying to keep dry. It was amazing adventure that only a few other submariners from my era can claim to have done.
God Bless and keep reading.navy0008under the ice 001

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in HM Submarines, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to At the Top of the World

  1. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    Hi Ben,
    As another of the “Chosen Few” under the ice “Diesel Submariners”
    As the predecessor to Auriga arriving in Canada, HMS/M Aurochs did go under the ice in Ungava Bay in 1960/61 but did not come up through as our Superstructure would not allow us to do that. We did go under the ice to test an upwards sounding depth machine. You are right cold damp underwater and ice and it was cold and still around the ice bergs up there. Thank God we are still able to talk about it to each other.
    Keep up the time traveling.
    Neville Pearson

  2. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    Hi “FRED”.
    In passing and replying I forgot the most important memory for the day,
    “The Death Of the TOT” 44 years ago on this date. ” RIP to Pussers Rum Issue”
    Don’t cry, just wipe your eyes and be thankful

  3. irishroverpei says:

    Right or wrong and whether many agree or disagree doing away with the tot was a wise decision in my opinion. I probably wouldn’t have agreed at the time! but older and wise it was a dangerous issue. Imagine a drunk driving a nuclear submarine on the afternoon watch? However, the Navy didn’t do it right, getting rid of the rum was a lower deck hit, it didn’t affect the wardroom. All alcohol aboard ship should have been outlawed.

  4. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    I’m in total agreement with you Ben, if its good for the Goose its good for the Gander. Nothing worse than a leader being drunk in front of the crew he is supposedly leading!!!

  5. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    In passing, on our first time out of HMCS Stadacona in Halifax we Brian Vine and Myself noticed a
    billboard which read, “Drink Canada Dry”. we took it seriously for 18 months and attempted to do just that, almost succeeded but gave up and sailed back to the UK. Haven’t had a taste in over 30 years and do not miss it at all.

  6. irishroverpei says:

    Love the comment “Drink Canada Dry” I guess most of us in the 6th Squadron did their best to to fulfill that request. How sad though, the opportunities we missed out on just to go boozing. Today I think of people asking “what did you like about New York-Tokyo-Rio-Melbourne etc etc and all we can answer is– the pubs were good.Such wasted moments of our youth.

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