HMS Diana (D126): The ship that went nuclear

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by hackle, Jan 6, 2008.

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  1. hackle

    hackle Badgeman Moderator

    Disturbing story by Sean Rayment in today's Sunday Telegraph (6 Jan 08).

    Could have been posted in Naval History, but its a news story and there are still 60 survivors from the 300 crew of 1956. (In the same year, Diana engaged and sank an Egyptian frigate in the Red Sea.)

    See STel website for the full story. - Wikipedia entry on D126 - but no mention yet of Op Mosaic.

    tri-service British Armed Forces Federation:
  2. The whole series of reports on Operation MOSAIC are held at the National Archive at Kew under Class ADM 265. However, there are 2 reports also at the NA that show that DIANA deliberately steamed into the fall out cloud zone, to see what effect this would have on watchkeepers in the machinery spaces (ADM 1/26714 and ADM 204/2169): they were given space suit style outfits, with civvies with geiger counters standing next to them the whole time (probably in a better space suit - ask any nuclear submariner who is allowed tp have more exposure to radiation, Jack or Joe Citizen). How do I know ? I sent these reports to the NA when I worked in the MoD Records Department- and I usually read what I handled !!! These papers have been there for some time - I retired in 2003, so it's not exacly new news..........
  3. Dunno about the Monte Bellos being 'beautiful tropical islands' - no trees, no water, lots of sand, rock and thick thorny scrub. Nice beaches though.

    Monte bello have some great fishing sites, but who wants to chance eating anything you catch?
    the island is very close to oil and gas fields that were unkown at the time of the tests. i dont think much in the way of decontamination would have taken place.
    There are a few signs to warn about relics may be radioactive and not to souvenier stuff, bit i did know of one drip who took away old fire extinguishers to polish them up and sell.
  5. In addition to Diana, HM Ships Campania Cook Messina Narvik Plym Tracker Warrior and Zeebrugge together with HMNZS's Pukaki and Rotoiti and HMAS Hawkesbury also participated. Additionally we had some RN personnel serving ashore on Christmas Island on, what I seem to remember, was called HMS Resolution . Fewer than a quarter of all who served survive to this day with the youngest being 70ish.
  6. I must confess that I read stories like this with a healthy does of cynicism. there may be a grain of truth somewhere, but "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story".

    Some years back I read a similar "shock/horror" story about a "nuclear spillage" on HMS/M Resolution, which lead to a large number of malformed babies being born.
    The story was absolute b****x - I was actually serving on Reso at the time quoted and the only spillage may have been coffee in the Nav Centre.

    Rather like last night's TV programme about how close we all came to WW3 in 1983, I couldn't really take that seriously when the lady doing the narration couldn't even pronounce nuclear correctly !

    "Nuke- you- lar", indeed !
  7. But the Hiroshima and Nakasaki injuries compares with the Resolution nuclear spillage? I don't think so. The South Pacific bombs were the biggest ever. By the time you served in HM Sub Resolution some 40 or so years later, technology had advanced. You were all well protected.
    Back in in the 1950's America refused to share its nuclear secrets with the UK. We had to proceed alone. The British and Commonwealth servicemen involved were guinea pigs.
    But if you think the technological conditions in a modern day nuclear submarine are in any way similar to those prevailing in the South Pacific in the 1950's .. Dream on!
  8. Did I say they were ?
  9. What were you saying ,. or suggesting then?
  10. No servicemen (there were no women) wore any protection except some Royal Navy personnel who wore standard anti-flash hoods and gloves together with welding goggles in certain circumstances. Civilian personnel wore full radiological protection suits. Not one serviceman did.
    Given there was no risk, as HM government avers to this day, why were the civilian staff so protected. I'm still waiting for someone to collect my Dosimeter Film Badge
  11. The technology had probably not advanced as far as you think. Resolution, (first of class), was built in the early half of the sixties to the standards of 1950's design and technology. Today it takes a long time for the MoD to approve new developments and it took even longer in those days of peace, love and flower power. The Nav Centre computers, such as SINS and NAVDAC were transistor based with not an integrated circuit in sight. The most modern bit of kit was the coffee machine that was bought from the PX at Patrick Air Force base during DASO.
  12. But, one hopes no megaton nuclear explosions on board. Resolution was based on post 1950 ( British Nuclear Tests) knowledge. Christmas Island and other tests on 1930 knowledge. The USA would not release its wartime and Bikini experiences with us. It's a wonder they let you purchase a coffee percolator without your having to sign a certificate of Due Diligence
  13. The bits that were meant to go bang on Reso were very much American design. At the time of R Class design British nuclear weapons would hardly have fitted into the boat let alone several in one missile.
    Even Britain's last nuclear weapon, WE177, better known as "the 600lb bomb" was very much American based.
  14. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    You're mixing apples and oranges - the weapon tests were primarily intended to collect data about the effects of a nuclear explosion, whereas habitabilty of a submarine would have a completely different set of indicators resulting from being in relatively close proximity to a working nuclear reactor. Spillage from a reactor would involve a whole different set of contaminants and radiation to say fall out.
  15. Not at all! Having taught in a University specialising in all things nuclear ,I am aware of the difference between nuclear fall-out from an explosion and leakage from a nuclear reactor ashore or afloat. Not suggesting I understand it however.
    I do understand there is a difference. Presumably those who serve in nuclear submarines and nuclear power stations are volunteers. They know what's involved. None of the 1950 nuclear test participants either volunteered, or had any idea ,until the very last moment, just what was going on.
  16. go away!!!!!!
  17. I served on SSBN/SSNs 1966-1978, and was NOT a volunteer: most of us knew the effects of what would happen if we let our cargo go, but our knowledge of the effects of exposure to radiation was limited to what we'd been able to learn from books and programmes about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I can never remember any lecture about the effects of radiation exposure - all we were told was that we were exposed to more radiation crossing the road than we were during an 8 week patrol. One side fact - might be unique to me - but once I went nuclear, the wife had all girls - my son was born before I joined boats. Anyone else have the same happy problem ?
  18. There has been lots of ancedotal evidence about the unusually high number of girls born to submariners, and I belive a study was done sometime in the 80s that indicated men subject to constant atmospheric pressure changes were more likely to have girl children. The study mainly covered civil aircrew and commercial divers but is applicable to submariners. I have no idea who carried out this study or where to find it, all I can recall is it being mentioned by a Medical Officer. I don't know anything about atmospheric pressure variations in an SSN or SSBN, so this may not apply.

    My first child was a girl, in spite of boys being far more common in my family. My son was concieved after I had been inboard for about 8 months.
  19. This is a fairly well documented fact, it attaches to particular occupations apparently. Airline Pilots are the same. They believe it may be something to do with short sudden periods of high stress.
  20. But you knew you were being drafted to a nuclear submarine thereby having the opportunity to tell the drafting commodore just what he could do with itand failing that just go walkabouts.
    None --Not one of the 1950 Nuclear Veterans had any idea what was in store until, in my case the ship I was on ostensibly on its way to Auckland was ordered by signal to use its fire hoses , in an exercise, to wash down its superstructure. Clearing the lower deck, after giving each one a gallon of water would have had more effect-but that's another story. The next thing we knew we were guinea pigs. No ifs, buts or maybes

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