Sub tour helps bring memories to surface for Grangemouth man

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A veteran submariner took a dive down memory lane when the Royal Navy invited him on board the modern version of his former ship.

Ron Raymond (77), from Grangemouth, is one of the last living sailors to have served aboard the original HMS Astute, an Amphion class vessel launched towards the end of World War II. Last month he toured the new Astute, the most powerful attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy, which is currently docked in HM Naval Base Clyde.

Ron said: “HMS Astute is a lovely vessel. The conditions on board are a hundred times better than I was used to on the original Astute. The tour was fantastic. I’m sure I will keep in touch with the crew through the Grangemouth Submarine Association.”

Commander Stephen Walker, HMS Astute CO, said: “It was a pleasure to have Ron aboard.”

The original HMS Astute was launched in 1945 and Ron joined it in 1958 at the height of the Cold War, when he and his crewmates were ever vigilant against the potential threat of Soviet subs.

Ron said: “During one deployment we tested anti-submarine defences around the USA. The Americans had laid hydrophones around the coast and we were playing the part of a Soviet sub to test them.

“We had US and Canadian Navy ships looking for us, but managed to slip past them and fire two dummy missiles. The Captain had me sew a Jolly Roger with two missiles on it to mark the occasion and we flew it when we returned to port.”