RIP Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, Royal Navy officer, Battle of Britain survivor and test pilot who flew a record breaking 487 different types of aircraft. [more inside]
"One evening, I wander into the control room at about midnight. The watch officer and sonar operators are discussing an important philosophical question: would it be more painful to be struck by a whole tuna or a tin of tuna? This is never resolved. These epistemological issues can be sustained over weeks." Guardian journalist Stephen Moss spends a week aboard HMS Triumph, a nuclear-powered Royal Navy fast-attack submarine, and picks up some slang while he's there. Photographer Gary Calton was also there to document life aboard the boat.
More than 1000 diaries kept by surgeons of Britain's Royal Navy between 1793 and 1800 have been cataloged by the National Archives, and are now available for public study. [more inside]
Royal Navy Field Gun Competition 1997: Take it apart and put it back together, again and again, and fast. A history of the event.
The Letter of Last Resort. At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying powerful ICBMs ... there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister. In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career ... and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided.
Devil and the deep blue sea. A devil-worshipping non-commissioned officer in the Royal Navy has become the first registered Satanist in the British Armed Forces. Chris Cranmer, a naval technician serving on the Type 22 frigate Cumberland, has been officially recognised as a Satanist by the ship's captain. That allows him to perform Satanic rituals aboard and permits him to have a funeral carried out by the Church of Satan should he be killed in action. A spokesman for the Royal Navy insisted that Mr Cranmer's unconventional beliefs would not cause problems on board ship. "We are an equal opportunities employer and we don't stop anybody from having their own religious values". Followers of the Church of Satan live by the Nine Satanic Statements, which include Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek”
Just Nuisance, Able Seaman. The only canine enlisted in the Royal Navy, Just Nuisance served from 1939 to 1944 in Simon's Town, South Africa (on his papers his occupation was listed as 'Bone Crusher' and his religion 'Canine Divinity League [Anti-Vivisection]'). Providing a great source of morale to sailors stationed there he would escort them on train trips and make sure they made it back to base after a night on the town. Of course being a sailor himself he was privy to a few brushes with the law as well by traveling on the railways without a pass (punishment: Confined to the banks of Froggy Pond, Lily Pool, with all lamp posts removed) or sleeping on an Officer's bed (punishment: Deprived of bones for seven days.). Married, and survived by five children, on his death he was afforded a funeral with full military colours. You can read his biography (which spawned a television series), or merely pay respects at his statue next time you're in Simon's Town.
Help Wanted : Naval Chaplain for Her Majesty's Navy. Frustrated with the prospect of designing web pages for the rest of your life? Well, this might be for you.