Warships Pod

20: Cdr Rob Forsyth Pt1 - Cuban Missile Crisis to Nuclear Deterrent

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Episode notes

We continue our occasional series talking to Cold War undersea warriors with the first installment of a two-episode dive into the submarine career of Commander Rob Forsyth.

Entering the Royal Navy in the 1950s, after a brief excursion into the surface fleet, Rob found himself aboard the submarine HMS Auriga, undertaking a patrol during the Cuban Missile Crisis of late 1962.

With Warships Pod host Iain Ballantyne, Rob also discusses a submerged transatlantic transit in the same diesel-electric boat, which turned out not to be the record-breaking voyage everybody hoped for (due to a messy technical difficulty).

After succeeding on the notorious Perisher- the Royal Navy’s very demanding submarine command course - we learn how Rob in the early 1970s took command of the famous HMS Alliance. The Alliance is today preserved at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire.

Aside from learning how HMS Alliance battled stormy seas on patrol in the Bay of Biscay, in this podcast episode we also hear how a rather smelly jumper received a burial at sea.

The chat then moves into the nuclear submarine world, with Rob as second-in-command of the Polaris ballistic missile boat HMS Repulse, one of the UK’s strategic deterrent vessels.

In the next episode Rob tells us about how Repulse was forced to conduct a ‘crash dive’ by a rather persistent Soviet spy vessel; the Perisher from the perspective of running the course; being CO of the hunter-killer submarine HMS Sceptre while pursuing a Russian aircraft carrier across the Mediterranean.

• Follow Rob Forsyth on Twitter @RStanleyForsyth
• Iain Ballantyne is the Editor of WARSHIPS International Fleet Review magazine.

For more details on the magazine http://bit.ly/wifrmag Warships IFR is a monthly naval news magazine, also packed with commentary and analysis and offering a dash of naval history and culture. Available from shops and direct. Follow it on Twitter @WarshipsIFR and Facebook @WarshipsIFR

Iain Ballantyne can be found on Twitter @IBallantyn

• To find out more about the Royal Navy’s submarines and submariners during the Cold War ate sea, including the exploits of Cdr Forsyth, read the book ‘Hunter Killers’ by Iain Ballantyne. More details here https://iainballantyne.com/hunter-killers/