UNDER PRESSURE: Living Life and Avoiding Death


UNDER PRESSURE: Living Life and Avoiding Death

RICHARD HUMPHREYS    Book Number: 88797    Product format: Hardback

Humphreys was a crew member on the Polaris nuclear submarine HMS Resolution from 1985 to 1990 and this memoir starts with his first gruelling training at HMS Raleigh on the banks of the Tamar, followed by specialist induction at Gosport which ended with four pressurized ascents of the 100-foot submarine escape water training tank, an infamous and dreaded ordeal which Humphreys managed in spite of his terror. Before starting service on Resolution, a nuclear submarine capable of destruction on a scale unseen in any modern conflict, Humphreys was security-vetted by a jovial character whose appearance belied his job. Asked whether he had ever been a Communist Humphreys cheekily replied with the Russian "Nyet". Resolution was a British-designed sub, longer than a football pitch, narrow and forbidding, and Humphreys became the quartermaster. He takes the reader through his life on board in fascinating detail, working six hour shifts and often falling asleep on the "graveyard watch" from 2 am to 8 am, using music, shadow-boxing, and press-ups to stay awake. Constant awareness of the proximity of total destruction could cause nightmares, and the sleeping quarters were extremely cramped with no privacy. Illustrious visitors included the actor John Mills and Margaret Thatcher, who went the wrong way and got yelled at with a few Navy expletives. An exercise bike was available, though there was a strict ration on water for showering, and the oxygen extracted from sea water was sometimes cranked up during exercise to get rid of stale air. 298pp, photos, diagrams.
Published price: £14.99
Bibliophile price: £6.50


Additional product information

ISBN 9780008313050
Browse these categories as well: War Memoirs, War & Militaria, Transport

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