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5 November: Paul Hoddinott

Rear Admiral Paul Hoddinott CB OBE, spent most of his naval career in submarines, commanded HMS Andrew (same class as HMS Alliance) and HMS Revenge (a Polaris submarine). He served as Chief of Staff Submarines in the closing years of the Cold War.

Paul gave us a wonderfully interesting account of submarine warfare in the First World War in both the the Baltic and Mediterranean - illustrated with some fascinating slides.

It is doubtful that anyone present knew a fraction of the stories he told of these early submarines, referred to as "Weapons of weaker nations" and whose crews "should be treated as pirates".

These were crude machines with limited range, no sleeping quarters and sometimes offering a bucket as the only toilet facility!

Yet they made very significant impacts on the war in these two seas and were shown to be able to provide a range of functions beyond sinking enemy shipping: landing spies and saboteurs and providing intelligence.

In the Falkland's War Paul was captain of the guided missile destroyed HMS Glasgow which was hit by a shell that went straight through the ship without causing any injuries. He noted that, just as there are no atheists in fox holes, so there are no atheists in a warship under fire: the Sunday Service following this event was attended by all crew who were not on duty.

We look forward to a second visit from Paul in 2019 and hope that he will share some of his experiences, of both navy and faith, in the Falklands.