Monday, April 14, 2014

"Hunter Killers" and the Canadian Submarine Service

HMS Astute
On March 27th I wrote a brief item about Hunter Killers, Iain Ballantyne's book subtitled "The Dramatic Untold Story of the Royal Navy's Most Secret Service". Ballantyne devotes a section of the book to the A-class diesel-electric submarines of the 1950-60's. Those included HMS Alderney, Astute, Ambush and others who spent time with the Sixth Submarine Squadron (SM6) based in Halifax.

Of note were the activities of Alderney and Astute during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The two RN boats remained under Canadian operational control as they waited to detect Soviet submarines bound for aggressive locations off the American eastern seaboard. And Canadian admiral Ken Dyer sent his antisubmarine fleet to sea, in spite of a lack of direction from the "dithering" Canadian government.

The deal between the Canadian and British governments that kept SM6 in Halifax also involved 200 Canadian officers and men who would train and serve in the Royal Navy--a group that would later prove their value in a new Canadian submarine service.

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