@WreckerL did you know him?Commander Roger Guy, born Dec 22 1935, died July 19 2018
Commander Roger Guy was a naval apprentice who rose from the ranks to become an outstanding nuclear submarine engineer during the Cold War.
In 1975/78 Guy was engineer officer of the nuclear-powered submarine Swiftsure, when she spent most of her time carrying out covert patrols in the Barents Sea, monitoring the Soviet Northern Fleet including the aircraft carrier Kiev.
The need for absolute reliability of all equipment was paramount, and Guy provided deeply researched and practical solutions to whatever problems arose, delivering advice with confidence and, despite his gruff exterior, flashes of humour.
When the nuclear reactor needed to be shut down, his calmness and professional knowledge ensured that the submarine spent the minimum time at periscope depth using her diesels and batteries and was able to resume her patrol without being detected. He was appointed MBE.
Roger Noel Guy was born in Penzance on December 22 1935 and was brought up by his seamstress mother after his father died when he was four. A sea cadet, his first seagoing jaunt was an unsupervised, ill-equipped, eight-hour row from Newlyn to Port Leven and back. He was educated at Penzance County Grammar School, but his family was too poor for university to be an option, so he joined the Royal Navy as a shipwright apprentice aged 16.
He was top apprentice in his entry at the engineering school, HMS Caledonia, and went to sea in the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, where his qualities were soon recognised and he became an upper yardman, passing out of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as a sub-lieutenant in 1960.
After serving in the carrier Hermes and the destroyer Finisterre, Guy was sent to study at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, and sit for the exams of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, before specialising as a submarine engineer.
From 1966 to 1968 Guy was engineer officer of the diesel-powered submarines Astute and Oberon, but while in Singapore he was transferred to Rorqual to supervise extensive repairs when she arrived after a poor refit in Britain and a very difficult eastward passage, involving a fatality in the engine room.
Roger Guy on board the submarine Rorqual
Guy returned to school to qualify in nuclear engineering and from 1969 to 1972 was assistant engineer of the nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarine Conqueror, overseeing her building and introduction into service.
He quickly showed himself to be the ideal submariner – reserved, respected and effective, and a good companion to his shipmates. From 1972 to 1975 he was naval operations overseer at the naval test reactor at Dounreay.
After Swiftsure, Guy’s next challenge was Valiant, known, after a series of technical incidents in her first two commissions, as the “black pig”, where he confirmed his reputation for sorting out a whole set of very persistent problems which had plagued Britain’s older nuclear submarines. After promotion to commander he was Squadron Engineer Officer, from 1982 to 1985, of the 3rd Submarine Squadron based at Faslane.
A particular problem required the redesign of seawater coolers essential to the functioning of the propulsion systems – an extreme challenge in the confined spaces of a submarine, and one to which Guy contributed his initiative and experience. He was appointed OBE in 1985.
Next he was head of submarine commissioning as a serving officer with Babcock Engineering at Rosyth Royal Dockyard, and chairman of the Reactor Test Group there.
When the dockyard was taken over by Babcock in 1987, he remained initially on loan from the Navy and then as an employee of Babcock until his retirement in 1998.
Guy, who spoke with a soft Cornish accent, was the model of the West Country pirate-submariner, with a swarthy complexion, black hair and bushy beard. Nevertheless, he fought tirelessly for Rosyth, rather than Devonport, to be given the Trident submarine refit facility.
In retirement, he and his wife devoted much time to local politics. He served five years as a Conservative councillor in Fife. He was chairman of the North East Fife Conservative and Unionist Association and of the How of Fife Rotary.
He read widely in history and biography, with a particular interest in other cultures and religions, loved classical ballet and opera, and was a much sought-after partner at Scottish country dancing.
Guy married Jeanette Paris in 1958. She survives him with their son and daughter. Another son predeceased him.
Edited to add photograph