The Rotary Club of Alford & Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire, UK • Established 1978 • Home club of Rotary International Past President Bill Huntley

News: A Talk From a Submariner


A great advantage of being in Rotary is learning from the wide range of speakers who regularly join us for a meal before giving their presentation. Often the subject is related to Rotary itself or perhaps the speaker is from a local organisation we support. However sometimes the talk is purely for our enjoyment – and who could resist hearing what life is like two miles below the waves inside a nuclear submarine?!

So for our last talk of 2017 we thank Bernard Casserley for joining us, along with his wife Susan, to tell us about his career as a submariner. Bernard must have been a good person to have on board because he seemed entirely relaxed about what we all felt sure must be a terrifying place to live, work and sleep. In fact he volunteered to be a submariner having spent several years on ships feeling seasick – apparently not an issue under the waves.

Bernard and his colleagues would leave the UK on a tour and return three to four months later having never surfaced. No outward communications are made in that time though family members are able to send a short telegram once a week.

A single ‘charge’ of fuel keeps the nuclear reactor going for around 7 years, air is recycled and water is desalinated from sea water so the limiting factor for the boats tour is how much food can be kept on board to feed the 140 crew.

Some aspects of life on-board sound very unappealing, like sleeping in the same, unwashed, sleeping bag for four months at a time. However I never imagined the boat would have a bar serving draft beer, allow the smoking of cigars, or show a different movie for each day of the tour. How much of that is still true today we didn’t ask.

Interestingly enough when returning from a tour on a submarine you aren’t allowed to drive for two days as your eyes haven’t focused on anything more than a few feet away for months and need time to adjust.

If you’d like to attend talks like these, while volunteering your skills to help others, why not consider joining Rotary?