Passing of a Legendary Submariner


Lantern Swinger
As I don’t have a copy of ‘Unbroken – Story of a Submarine’ by Alistair Mars to hand, I am recalling this passage from memory. It went something like this:

After sinking a major unit of the Italian navy in the Straits of Messina, HMS/M Unbroken came under a heavy and sustained attack from enemy escorts. After what seemed hours under depth charge attacks even the cool Lt.Commander Mars thought this was definitely the end of the line for them all. Now short of air and standing in silence in the sweltering control room Mars was handed a scribbled message on the back of a Woodbine packet which had been passed around the group to much smothered laughter. It read: “AB J. Jones D/JX 254129 requests immediate transfer to general service†This broke the tension and eventually Unbroken was able to limp away from danger to lick her wounds and fight another day.

The character who came up with that little ice breaker was ‘Mick’ Jones who served with the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta during those hectic days when it was under siege. Stories about the little leprechaun’s escapades were legendary in the Submarine Service. Belfast born and bred he was the stereotype of the devil-may-care Irishman always with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and with a zany off-the-wall sense of humour. For fifty odd years after WWII Mick was a member of the Merseyside Submariners Association and during its golden days of the Ballet de Scouse Sod’s Opera as a star performer playing reunions and naval establishments raising thousands of pounds for charity.

He was the author of many amusing and often raunchy monologues about the RN and as writer of the equally funny and informative Ping Bosun’s Log in the Merseyside newsletters the ‘Submariners Times’ Mick gave pleasure and laughter to generations of matelot’s old and new.

This is to sadly inform all hands out there who knew the little leprechaun that he peacefully crossed the bar at 0400 hours yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer. So let’s remember all those dits about Mick, the raunchier the better, laugh at the memories, be grateful for them and for the privilege of knowing him. Resurgam.

Red Sailor


Condolances Rest in Peace m8 not a submariner but the name of Lt Cdr Mars rings a bell with me reading stories of WW2.


The world is now a much poorer place with the passing of Mick, his renditions were famously heard at many Blockhouse re-unions and his immortal doudle act with Jim Bellew will be remembered for ever.

The Submariners Association will shortly be publising a book of poetry by submariners through the ages, a fair few of them were in fact penned by Mick, it is well worth a read. Iwill post a thread here if anyone is interested once publication date is known.

Fair wind on your last patrol Mick -RESURGAM -they will rise again.

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