I have a very tall story. Unbelievable as well.

Discussion in 'The Lamp and Sandbag II - The Tall Story Strikes B' started by TamH70, Jul 15, 2010.

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  1. Many years ago, I was out walking one day near Stevenston in Ayrshire, now twinned with Baghdad, Gaza and the West Bank when I saw with my own two childish eyes a very funny submarine sailing on the surface on the Clyde Estuary. What was funny was that unlike normal submarines, which I had seen before, this one seemed to be sailing backwards. Its long bit, which usually should be behind the sticky up bit - I were but a lad and didn't know that sailors call it either a conning tower or a sail, seemed to be the thing making the wave at the front, and its short bit was trailing a wake at the back. What was even stranger was the couple of smaller ships with it were travelling in the same direction and their pointy bits were definitely at the front as they were moving.

    Like I said, I were but a lad, and it was a good few years ago when I still had hair and most of my teeth so I put it down to just being a funny looking submarine.

    Got a bit older, read some books on the subject and saw a couple of films.
    Turns out the submarine I thought I saw was a Typhoon. Russian SSBN, called by them the Akula.
    In other words, an enemy boomer. During the Cold War.
    In Scottish waters no less.
    I told you it was unbelievable, but I will swear on whatever holy books you believe in that this was many years before I saw "The Hunt For Red October" or even heard of Tom Clancy. My literary heroes were Sven Hassel, Leo Kessler and J.T. Edson at the time anyway.

  2. Submarine made of rock was it? I'd reckon what you saw was Horse Island, a low lying lump of rock with a stone beacon at one end. It sits just outside Ardrossan Harbour and is a friend to navigators everywhere after the chimney at Inverkip power station is no longer visible.

    I say this because I happen to know that the only Typhoon class sub to enter the Clyde went all the way to harbour submerged. At the time, I was on secondment to the CIA. One of the Soviet Typhoons came steaming down the UK/Faroes/Iceland gap with half the Murmansk fleet in pursuit.

    The Septics sh@t themselves, thinking the captain had gone mad and was about to shoot his load, errm, of missiles. Fortunately, at the regular, weekly CIA briefing at the White House I managed to convince the President that the sub captain might be trying to defect and bring his sub in as a gift for us. Apparently, his wife had been killed by a negligent surgeon whose crimes went unpunished because he had friends in the communist party.

    Anyway, I boarded the Typhoon with a small contingent of American military types straight from central casting only to find that a KGB mole, posing as a cook, was at large in the boat. The resultant gunfight caused a radiation leak in the reactor. We needed a place to land where hideous birth defects and deformities caused by our leaking reactor would not be noticed. Ardrossan Harbour was the obvious choice. As we surfaced in the inner harbour, there was quite a commotion aboard the Red Lion ferry, I can tell you.

    Years later, I told my story in a bar to a bloke called Tom. He made a bloody fortune.
  3. Even then I knew what the difference was between a big bit of rock that doesn't move, and a very big **** off submarine about yeay long with a close escort of at least two smaller ships that did move. Looking back, they were either destroyers or frigates.

    Besides, this was way to the left of Ardossan when I saw it. I was about twelve at the time and concepts like north, south, east and west were still a bit shady to me. Bad enough I was still almost unable to tell time using that spawn of satan thing known as an analogue display without confusing me still further with cardinal points of the compass.

  4. Tam,
    So glad you posted this, I have had this image etched in my conscience for years now and never dared to tell the tale for fear of confirming my booking in the padded room.

    I too, was a young lad when this incident occured. I was serving on the HMS Lubthlis that was docked RNAS Ayr for repairs. On the day me and another gunner (I was an Anti aircraft gunner so usually on the poop deck birdwatching!) witnessed the biggest Submarine sailing down the Estuary.

    Due to my Trg as the ship USSR Equipt Recognition Instr I knew it must of been a red vessel, but not sure (until recently) of what typr of Sub it was. I raised the alarm and reported to the Capt so he could witness the event.

    Capt Lattaill called "action stations" and reported the incident to Naval Comd. Being only a young lad I cannot confirm what the orders where but within 20 Mins (ish) we were at full speed to intercept the Russian Fleet.

    On seeing our approach it seemed the Russians were not up for a scrap (thank god as all our live natures were in Ammo storage due to the repairs being undertaken) The Capt along with the Marine Gp boarded 3 Raiders and headed off to speak with the Sub OC.

    Due to me speaking fluent Russian (my Mother was born in E London) The Capt ordered me to go along. Once we boarded the Sub OC apologised for the univited arrival of the Fleet and stated his reason for being in the Clyde was not an Hostile one.

    After a brew it emerged the Sub crew had all came down with a severe bout of food poisioning and could not carry on at Sea. They needed medical help and were willing to be escorted at all times during their stay.

    Without going into full detail, the Sub Crew were then taken to NHS Ayshire and they all made a full recovery around 4 days later. We made good friends with some of the crew during this time and shared many a beer whilst the Sub was docked. I kept in contact with Chief Warrant Slockbol for many years after this event until he was murdered by a Chetzian Sniper during a medal parade.

    This was probably the most memorable time of my whole career, I was awarded the Naval Cross for my part and spent a lovely day at Balmoral.

    Good times.
  5. Now that certainly is interesting! I'm sure Tam will be delighted to hear the other side to the story.
  6. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Wow this incident really brings back some memories.

    Many years ago my uncle worked at Barrow building submarines, I remember him telling me about a massive fcuk up they had when one of the lads accidentally fitted the propeller on the front of one of the boats by mistake (he used to be in the RAF apparently and was used to the propeller being at the pointy end I suppose.) Anyway due to Labour government cut backs at the time they didn't have the cash to repair it and the boat was put into service. After a few years it was deemed to be too dangerous and was hastily sold off to the Indians for a nominal fee. I remember watching it leave harbour as a young AB, escorted by two Indian destroyers as it made it's journey to Bombay. Weird looking thing it was and I can see how some might mistake it for a Ruski boomer.

    Anyway I managed to get a phot of it that I took while I was doing my PADI open water in the estuary.

    Edited to add: It was being followed by a police whale at the time hence why it is firing a torpedo out of it's arse.
  7. :D photoshopped? absolute comedy!
  8. Ravers does it again!

    Tam - you must have been on a sugar high having scranned too many deep-fried Mars Bars?
  9. I remember that - I was the second bloke on the conning tower balcony...

  10. I believe you, Tam. I believe you saw a British bomber being towed backwards by tugs between RNAD Coulport and Faslane.

    On an historical note, a Russian Kilo and a Polish Kilo both visited Faslane in 2001 for a birthday party.
  11. But I still think it was an Akula. Thing was mahoosive!
    As for deep fried mars bars? Nah, chips and fish is as far as I went back then. Preferably from the fish and chip vans that used to trawl up and down the streets of Stevenston looking for trade.

  12. IIRC there were a couple of panic reports in the press in the late 70s and early 1980s claiming that Soviet submarines were landing spies on the west coast of Scotland because it could not be patrolled properly by the RN. However, I suspect that, if true, they would have used a smaller class of submarine. Then again, as spies can easily move around with false documents, perhaps they were landing stuff that could not come in the diplomatic bag, so perhaps they did need a larger submarine. It would never happen now.

    Someone at the door, back in a t

  13. Tam,
    I can put your mind at rest after all these years but having school dinners at Glencairn primary normally steamed cabbage and the likes I needed the bog so dragging my feet scuffing my clarks shoes from neilly's in New St I finally came to the bog were apon mounting the pan I huffed and puffed until I squeezed out a massive shite which curled out unbroken and disappeared round the u-bend. Now this was in the days before they built the sewage treatment plant down the bottom end/Ardeer where the story goes when the missionary's first arrived to spread the word of god it was they themselves who found that were spread across the dinning tables of the locals (still looking at some of them down there nothings changed!) my shit HMS turd slipped anchor and made a silent run for the sea. not long afterwards there was local reports on West sound radio between Lou Grant and the innate warbling of Sidney Divine of what was believed to be a massive floundering basking shark down by the slip at Ardeer beach. By the time the experts got there it had got there to rescue it into deeper water my shite had slunk off looking for new victims to terrorise.

    What you saw that day was my turd going going for a "paddle doon the watter" it looked massive as you'd been over Auchenharvie park looking for magic mushrooms for making a mushie tea but had got greedy and necked a few till you got home. Ripped out your tit's you found yourself on North shore sticking used johnnies on your fingers that's when you seen the tug boats trying to break up the shite before it rammed the Arran ferry. They failed!

    However small parts started breaking off and the remainder floundered and broke up against the retaining wall of the outdoor pool at Saltcoats but not before completing one final mission of scaling the retaining wall and entering the small pool ...but that's for an other day story was massive in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald (inbetween the obituary column and an add for a Yugo 45 T&T'd with saw dust in the gear box from McMasters motors for £350

    And I'm surprised your still alive eating from the chip vans that plied their trade in Stevenston ....Greasyano had a van and a chippy just next to where the grange bingo was shut down by the environmental health cockroaches on the wall. When his baby died the town rejoiced called it revenge for the shit he'd served over the years. Then there was fag ash ralf's now called dominico's but there's a dirty bastard working in there black as **** and when she lifts her arms you can see the underarm hair.....nice
  14. That must have been the inspiration for the following:

    Oh jobbie, slitherin' doon the bend,
    Weel may I larn tae call ye friend;
    Ye were ma tea.

    Whit's jobbie noo,
    wis kipper then,
    bar whit's in me.