Salty stories from old sea dogs

Recently retired Commander Eugene Ryan of the Naval Service was interviewed by Marian Finucane last week (21st January).

Cdr Ryan spoke about his experiences throughout his long career including how well he was treated by the Royal Navy when attending courses in the UK at a time when the conflict in Northern Ireland was at its height.

I had a similar experience myself while training as a naval diver at the Royal Naval base, HMS Drake, in Plymouth in 1974.

The Irish Navy was just beginning to form its own diving school at the time.

The ability to carry out a ship bottom search was an important skill for a naval diver.

This was principally to learn how to search for limpet mines but also to inspect and clear any blockages on hull equipment including the propeller.

As part of our training we were due to view the hull of a warship and submarine in dry dock to familiarise ourselves with the various pieces of equipment on the hull.

That day, however, myself and the three other Irish trainees were confined to quarters after the IRA carried out the M62 bombing which killed twelve people including a Corporal, his wife and their two children aged two and five.

Confining us to quarters was a precautionary measure but, thankfully and much to our relief, we suffered no negative reaction whatsoever.

Later in the course, and on a lighter note, we were due to attend a lecture and film on the procedures employed by the Royal Navy to protect their ships from enemy divers when at anchor.

Given the political situation there was some worry about revealing top secret information to us but in the end the lecturer simply requested us not to pass on anything to subversives and, of course, we agreed.

1 thought on “Salty stories from old sea dogs”

  1. Interesting stuff. Still close to the bone there when you mentioned the murder of those children by that ira scum.
    But anyway, just wondering if you could put a “+1” Google+ link up on your posts so I can repost more easily.
    I no longer use facebook.
    Thank you.

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