Iain Mackenzie MBE

Iain Mackenzie MBE

National Chairman, Submariners Association

A year under my belt as your Chairman, it’s actually 18 months but a full productive AGM 22 to AGM 23.  Sir James Perowne graciously accepted my invitation to step into the enormous steaming bats left by the sad passing of our Patron Lord Boyce.  Sir James has, as many of you will remember already proved his worth to the Submariners Association when he preceded ‘Chuckles’ as our President.  As they say, “Promotion is quick in the Mob”.  Welcome back Sir James.

 On a sad note Niall “Chuckles” Kilgour announced his retirement as our President at this year’s AGM.  Time to put his feet up and give 100% off his attention to Janie.

Niall, you gave so much to the Submarine Service when you were serving, you continued in that vein as a Veteran and, most of all as our President.  Thank you Niall.

Jim Perks is our new President.  I served with Jim as his Coxswain and know full well of how supportive he is in everything he does.  Jim was also a major player in the concept and eventual forming of The Submarine Family (TSF). – Welcome Jim.

Due to Covid, one could say I was conspicuous by my absence at this year’s AGM.  But not so!  Thanks to modern imagery my photograph magically appeared on the AGM PowerPoint presentation.  Not only that, but all the VIP’s were also blessed with their own copy to stare at whilst eating dinner!  I apologise to Lady Nicola, Janie, and Lulu.

A Nuclear First – we got the AGM done and dusted in under an hour – 46 minutes I think?  It was presented well and thanks to ‘One Member One Vote’ (OMOV) was fairer, democratic, gave each member a chance to reflect on the Recommendations and Proposals and make their own choice.  It is hoped that at next year’s Conference we will have technology on our side in making it available to all via a video link.

Covid proved one thing, it showed that the Submariners Association Committee (SAC) works well as a team and if one team member falls by the wayside others step up to the mark.  Taking advantage of that link, my heartfelt thanks goes to Ron Gordon the National Secretary.  Ron you have supported me in the difficult times when I first became Chairman, we discuss all issues presented and encouraged each other to the correct path.  But most of all you staff my written word. Ron was my Divisional Officer when I served as a ‘Swimboy’ in the SETT, the difference is now you don’t use the RED pen!

I wish I could be better versed to explain the importance and hard work the National Secretary does.  Branch secretaries will have some idea of what I am trying to say.  For those who are concerned of Ron’s ability he did not staff this, so blame me for spelling and grammatical errors.

The good news on the Website, it is up and running.  You may look at it and think ‘Really’?  But I can tell you this is just the basic website.  Gary Strange has spent a lot of his personal time building the website.  For the critics amongst you I have a few questions:

  • Who owns the Website?
  • Who decides what contents goes on the Website?
  • Who can improve the Website?

The answer to all those questions is YOU!.  It is unfair to expect Gary to take responsibility for questions 2 & 3.  It’s your website and we must all take responsibility for how it looks.  Gary is passionate about making this Website one of the best, most informative and most of all, appealing to sign into.  He cannot do it alone.   If you have any ideas please contact Gary direct on or Graeme McCabe on

TSF is progressing, with one downside. Because it is an online service, to join you have to have an email address.  There is no way round this as your email address is your identifier to link you into the system.  If you do not have an email address or don’t want to get one, as stated you cannot be a member of TSF.  BUT, you are still a member of the SA, that will not change.  Due to the complexity of us belonging to TSF we cannot charge annual subs, but you can make a donation to the SA if you wish.  The SA is still open to new members who don’t have email addresses.

The biggest advantage of TSF is that it introduces the young serving Submariners to the SA.  I’m not saying they will join branch meetings but when they retire it is a more natural progression to become involved with the SA.

When I first joined the committee 15 years ago, I remember the biggest challenge then was how do we encourage leavers from the service to join the SA.  In fact WO COXN John Hendren – as the then Serving Rep on the Committee, used to visit every boat and explain to the crew about the SA.  In those days most serving submariners had never heard of the SA!  We were constantly trying to get recognised on the Discharge Routine.  TSF has solved that problem!

Final word (hoorah).  Belfast 24 AGM/Reunion details will be sent to all branches, posted on the SA and TSF Websites shortly.

 Iain Mackenzie

National Chairman

Submariners Association