Thursday, September 19, 2013

H.M.S. UNSEEN--Fact and Fiction--Part One of Two

Not long ago I picked up a copy of H.M.S. UNSEEN, by Patrick Robinson. Robinson is a prolific bestselling author, and for this book he had expert help from the late Admiral Sir John "Sandy" Woodward, former Perisher Teacher, Flag Officer Submarines, and commander of the Hermes aircraft carrier group in the Falklands in1982.
Robinson's novel is a naval thriller right up there with Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October", stretching the bounds of modern submarine warfare only marginally. What is particularly interesting is that there was a real H.M.S. Unseen. In his Acknowledgments, the author describes the Unseen as "a stealthy Royal Navy submarine, now being leased to an overseas government...". Quite correct as far as it goes. In the novel, the boat is leased to Brazil, highjacked by a middle-eastern terrorist, and the story carries on from there.
Reality is different. H.M.S. Unseen was actually sold to the Royal Canadian Navy, and is now proudly defending Canada as H.M.C.S. Victoria.

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