Death of Sir Ian Mcgeoch


War Hero
DOB: 26 March 1914.

On 31 August 1936, he began his career in submarines when he took the course at HMS DOLPHIN. It was interrupted in December 1936 owing to injury and resumed on 19 May 1937.
In August 1937 he joined HMS CLYDE at Malta (1st Submarine Flotilla) as Navigator and 3rd Hand remaining with her until she returned to the UK in January 1940 after wartime deployment to the South Atlantic.

Service as 1st Lieutenant in H43 and HMS TRIUMPH was followed by COQC (Commanding Officer Qualifying Course aka Perisher), and he took command of the submarine H43 in December 1940. Appointed Spare C.O. in the 10th Flotilla, Malta, in April 1941 he was taking passage in HMS URGE (Lt. E P Tompkinson) when she sank the Italian blockade-runner FRANCO MARTELLI in the Bay of Biscay. In May he commanded HMS URSULA for a patrol, and after a period in hospital in Malta he returned to the UK as 1st Lieutenant of Ursula. Following more time in hospital and recuperation he re-qualified as a Commanding Officer and was appointed to the submarine HMS P228 building at Chatham, in May 1942. After work-up P228 joined the 8th Flotilla based on HMS MAIDSTONE at Gibraltar in time for OPERATION TORCH in November 1942. In five patrols from there and later from Algiers and Malta, P228 (later named SPLENDID in January 1943) sank six Axis supply ships and an Italian destroyer, torpedoed another destroyer, sank two naval auxiliaries and landed agents in Sardinia.
On 21 April 1943 HMS SPLENDID, while dived off Naples on her sixth patrol, was detected by the German-manned, (ex-Greek, British built) destroyer HERMES. Owing to excellent sonar conditions the submarine was unable to disengage and was at 300 feet when a third pattern of depth charges, et his time to 100 metres, caused severe damage and the entry of water aft. As the deep diving gauge hit its stop at 500 feet and the boat was down by the stern it was deemed advisable to bring her to the surface. As the crew abandoned the boat through the gun tower and conning tower hatches the HERMES obtained direct hits with her main armament and 18 out of the crew of 48 were killed or wounded, including McGeoch, whose right eye was penetrated by a metal splinter as he left SPLENDID having ensured that no-one remained on board and that the boat would sink before the enemy could board her.
As a POW in Italy McGeoch escaped, but was recaptured, and when Italy surrendered he entered Switzerland, in order to obtain the best possible attention for his damaged eye. This achieved, he made his way via Occupied France to Spain, whence he reached Gibraltar and so returned to the UK. On completion of the Naval Staff Course he was appointed Staff Officer (Operations) to the Vice Admiral Commanding 4th Cruiser Squadron, British Pacific Fleet and was present in Tokyo Bay at the surrender of Japan.
McGeoch’s post-war career included service on the Naval Staff and the command of a frigate HMS FERNIE, the 4th Submarine Flotilla (Sydney, NSW), the 3rd Submarine Flotilla, and a cruiser HMS LION, becoming Flag Officer Submarines from 1965-67 and, finally, Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland.
He retired in 1970.
Midshipman: 1 January 1933.
Sub-Lieutenant: 1 December 1935.
Lieutenant: 1 May 1937.
Lieutenant-Commander: 1 May 1944.
Commander: 30 June 1947.
Captain: 30 June 1955.
Rear-Admiral: 7 July 1964.
Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM): 27 May 1965 - 28 December 1967.
Vice-Admiral: 14 December 1967.
Awarded the DSO: 29 August 1944; the DSC: 10 October 1944.
He was made CB in the 1966 New Year's List and KCB on 14 June 1969.

Refer to ARCHIVES: A1945/29 - `A brief history of HMS/m SPLENDID' written by Admiral McGeoch.

By Museum Archivist George Malcolmson: Admiral McGeoch was involved in setting up Navy News and gained an M Phil at Edinburgh University 1972-1980. (A copy of this thesis on Polaris is held in the museum archive) He was editor of The Naval Review and a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum. He was responsible for the “War at Sea†sections of General Sir John Hackett’s The Third World War and The Third World War; The untold story
His autobiography was published by the Imperial War Museum in 1991 under the title: An Affair of Chances A Submariners Odyssey 1939-1944.

He has crossed the bar aged 93


War Hero
Remember one of his last trips as FOSM was on RESO in 67. a true submarine legend - RIP sir, you did your duty, and did it well.......


War Hero
I'm not a submariner despite the avatar and didn't know Sir Ian but I knew the legend.

RIP Sir.

Sir Ian's obituary is also in the Naval History Forum (sticky) courtesy of LanashireHussar


It was with great sadness that I learnt of his death.
In 1965 I was drafted to HMS Dolphin as ship's Company being a GS rating.
One day when working in the wire splicing shop somebody came in and mentioned they were looking for somebody to be Barge Coxswain to Flag Officer Submarines, Rear-Admiral Ian Mcgeoch. I did something they say you should never do and said I would do it, next thing I knew I as a leading/Seaman RP2 had the job and I relieved a PO Coxswain.
It was a wonderful job (can't touch me I'm the Admiral's Coxswin). We had some fun, it was never boring, I went with him to Scotland for the Queen's Review and we took over the Capt of Maidstone's boat.
There is so much to say but I always found him a perfect gentleman and he never once faulted my handling of the barge. Maybe that was why as a leading/Seaman I kept the job. Good memories and so sad. I have a page for his wartime boat HMS Splendid on my RN website "Royal Navy and Maritime Book Reviews" at\royalnavy\rnavy\rnavy.htm
Also a page for Dolphin.
Rob Jerrrad LLB LLM RN 1956-1968

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