Submarine Courageous Cold War Warrior The life and times of a Nuclear Submarine

Compiled by Michael Pitkeathly ex Warrant Officer Tactical System and Edited by Captain David Wixon RN (ret)

This is the story of HMS Courageous (SSN06). Commissioned in 1971 as the sixth nuclear powered attack submarine built for the Royal Navy, she completed 21 years’ service.

Courageous did not fire a shot in anger but was heavily involved in Cold War strategic and tactical operations against the Soviet Navy, the Falklands Campaign, and in the development of new weapons and sensors for the submarine flotilla.

The Courageous story is told by members of the Ship’s Company of all specialisations and has been put together by Michael Pitkeathly over several years. He was a member of the crew on first commissioning at Barrow in Furness.

Recurring themes are the unspoken interdependence and relaxing humour of those who serve in an unrelenting hostile environment. Then there is the total commitment to deterrent and surveillance operations of all types and the strong links with the US submarine force.

Domestically there are long absences from home and, towards the end a growing irritation with a sometimes-insensitive inspection regime.

For those who wonder about the reality of life in a British nuclear submarine this account is fascinating reading.

Captain Richard Sharpe OBE Royal Navy

Commanding Officer, HMS Courageous 1974 – 77

Editor Jane’s Fighting Ships 1987 -2001

The above is taken from the inside of the front cover and say’s it all I think.

In 2002 Courageous was taken out of lay-up, renovated and is at present in Devonport Dockyard and open to the public for pre-programmed tours and well worth a visit if in the area.

The book is available via Amazon

2 Comments

Chas Cooke

The book is available in both paperback and kindle format through amazon.co.uk and it is easy to find by searching on the author’s name Pitkeathly. Some people have offered the opinion that the book is on the slightly higher price range, however, the original hardback edition was published with many pictures and nimages and we felt that, to omit those images, would detract greatly from the book. As the amazon price depends partly upon the file size and number of images this did increase the price, however, we hope that the images make it a worthwhile experience.

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