Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Video of HMS "Alliance" Interior

At right is a photo of HMS Alliance during her heyday. I am guessing it was while she was on active service in the Far East, judging by the camouflage paint job.
No longer in commission, the Alliance has survived some hard times to become the centrepiece of the Royal Navy Submarine Memorial and Museum in Gosport, Hampshire.
Here is a link to a recent video that shows how well the Museum has preserved and rebuilt her both inside and out.
The Alliance is a particularly interesting exhibit from my point of view, in that she was a sister to my only Royal Navy boat, the Alderney, long gone to the breaker's yard. And my next historical novel, bearing the working title "Sailor Down", is set in an A-boat.
For a look at the Amazon page for my cavalry story, "Soldier of the Horse", click here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Strange Bedfellows in the World of Submarines

Everybody wants submarines, and lots of people want to build them. But here is an online story that surprises me. It seems the Italians and Russians are working on a next-generation submarine project together. The S-1000, a thousand-ton diesel, was originally presented in 2006, but no orders were forthcoming. That doesn't stop the project though--the unlikely partners are upgrading their plans. They see the Middle East and Southeast Asia as their target markets.
Here is a Russian news story about the earlier model.
And here is what it may look like:

Last time I checked, Italy was a member of NATO, and Russia was not. It's enough to make a cold warrior's gyro topple. I bet the U.S. won't be sending the Italians any recent technology to include in the project.

My prize-winning novel, "Soldier of the Horse", is available from Amazon, here.
My next project, set in a Cold War submarine, will be out in September 2014.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Submarines--Here to Stay

There is hardly a week goes by that a letter to the editor or an op-ed column doesn't slam Canada's commitment to its navy and its submarines, and in particular the much-maligned Victorias.

They get more and more sophisticated, like all military hardware, but submarines are still basically steel hulls that can't be seen from the surface and carry a huge wallop. As a trading nation, we can ignore them at our peril.

From our own HMCS Victoria, top, to Iran's eye-catching and singular Sina 7, below, to the latest nuclear-driven hunter-killer in the hands of a superpower, no nation with seaborne commerce can not at least consider getting into the submarine business. Canada is in the submarine business, and we should be figuring out what our next step will be, not arguing in favour of tying up our now-serviceable undersea fleet.

Canadians have served in submarines since 1914, in our own boats and those of our allies. Next year will mark the centenary of the service. Watch for my next historical novel. More details to come!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Soldier of the Horse" Gallops On

I am very excited that "Soldier of the Horse", my prize-winning (see the gold Independent Publisher medal in the photo) has reached an exciting milestone. It will soon be available on "Audible", Amazon's audiobook publishing arm.

The sale to Audible was made through the good offices of my publisher, TouchWood Editions. In other news, TouchWood has now committed to publishing my next historical novel. The action in "Sailor Down" (working title) takes place in a Cold War submarine.

For a personalized, signed copy of "Soldier of the Horse," email me at bob.mackay@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Memories of Cold War Submarine Service--and Tight Shorts

Readers of this site will know something of Project Ojibwa, the highly successful effort to land the former HMCS Ojibwa ashore at Port Burwell, Ontario. She is now open to the public.
Browsing the project's website, I came across a couple of interesting photos.
In the June archive is a shot of me, along with my sister and her "Cooking Ladies" partner, when we did a walk-through of the Ojibwa. And in July, the first photo shown is of Ron Pearks, who commanded the boat 1972 to '74.
Ron came to my rescue in 1967, when I was serving as a junior officer in HMS Alderney. We were scheduled to do a cruise to Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, and since it was summer, tropical white uniforms were the rig of the day. That included white shorts, which I did not own. Ron loaned me a pair. Alas, I had put on some excess weight, what with the nonexistent submarine fitness program and the effects of good British beer. When I put on the shorts to step ashore in Gibraltar in all my glory, I had to leave the top button undone and fold down the waist in order to look barely presentable.
I am grateful there are no photos that record that particular rig.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ghostly Images of Galloper Jack

It has been some time since I posted a blog that relates to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, so I am indebted to a correspondent who lives on the Isle of Wight for this item.

Readers of "Galloper Jack" will know that Brigadier-General J. E. B. Seely commanded the CCB for most of the Great War, succeeded in April 1918 by Colonel R. W. Paterson of the Fort Garry Horse. In the photo at left, Seely is in the left foreground, a slim, upright man.

For a brief film clip of Galloper Jack recorded in 1933, click here. After the Canadian cavalry, Seely valued his neighbours and fellow lifeboatmen of the Isle of Wight. In the clip, Lord Mottistone, as he had become, is the tall figure in the white hat. At the centre of the action, as always.

Galloper Jack is a big part of my prizewinning novel, "Soldier of the Horse".  Check it out on Amazon here.