On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service

Eric Thompson

One of the first ever memoirs by a Royal Navy nuclear submarine officer, this is the inside story of the men who ensured that 'Mutually Assured Destruction' was maintained at all times during the Cold War.
Publication date:
September 2020
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
32 b/w and colour photographs
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612008943

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
In Stock

Regular Price: £14.99

Special price £11.99

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• Paperback edition of the well-received On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service

During the Cold War, nuclear submarines performed the greatest public service of all: prevention of a third world war. History shows that they succeeded; the Cold War ended peacefully, but for security reasons, only now can this story be told.

Eric Thompson is a career nuclear submarine officer who served from the first days of the Polaris missile boats until after the end of the Cold War. He joined the Navy in the last days of Empire, made his first sorties in World War II type submarines and ended up as the top engineer in charge of the navy's nuclear power plants. Along the way, he helped develop all manner of kit, from guided torpedoes to the Trident ballistic missile system. In this vivid personal account of his submarine operations, he reveals what it was like to literally have your finger on the nuclear button.

In his journey, the author leads the reader through top-secret submarine patrols, hush-hush scientific trials, underwater weapon developments, public relations battles with nuclear protesters, arm-wrestling with politicians and the changing roles of females and homosexuals in the Navy. It is essentially a human story, rich in both drama and comedy, like the Russian spy trawler that played dance music at passing submarines. There was never a dull moment.

Behind the lighter moments was a deadly serious game. This, the inside story of Britain's nuclear deterrent, reveals the secretive life of submarines and the men who served on them; they kept their watch, and by maintaining the threat of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction' helped keep Britain and the world safe.


This book is highly recommended, not just for the detail and historical perspective it gives, but also for the lightness of the writing. This reviewer could almost sense Eric Thompson smiling wryly as he put his memories down on paper or computer screen.
Navy Books

This is a personal memoir, but a superior one. As well as being a cracking read, Thompson puts his professional experiences in their wider context which is why this book should have broad appeal. There is much to learn here about the RN's submarine service and about the UK's nuclear weapons policy.
Naval Review

...it is refreshing to learn what really happens directly from a knowledgeable and reliable source.
Baird Maritime

A well-written book offering readers a fascinating glimpse into the little-known world of the modern Navy and its submarine service. Littered with amusing stories and anecdotes, Thompson's writing entertains as well as informs.
Love Reading

Both witty and serious, his [Commodore Eric Thompson's] social commentary is as insightful as those of a maritime nature. This book is not just easy but fun to read. The language alone is worth the trip. At the end, readers with submarine experience will be comfortable "knowing' Commodore Thompson; those without dolphins will have more than a taste of that experience.
Naval History Book Reviews