The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Graham Rogerson is a man with many faces—from Freemason to bellringer, from electrical engineer to world traveller. But it was his life in the Royal Navy that was the subject of our talk last night on Voices from the North.

Infant island of Surtsey, Iceland (formed 1963-67)

Infant island of Surtsey, Iceland (formed 1963-67)

His first ten years in the navy were spent onboard surface ships and included involvement with the Bay of Pigs. He was in the right place at the right time to see an island being formed off the coast of Iceland. This was later reported in National Geographic Magazine.

With the onset of the Cold War, Britain began to build up subsurface mobilization. Graham was drafted to serve on nuclear submarines. His talk on the initial training and life on board a hunter-killer submarine makes fascinating listening.

When I asked Graham how he felt about nuclear bombs and energy in light of New Zealand’s anti nuclear stance he gave an impassioned response. He feels nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should not be dismissed carte blanche. But he is vehemently opposes atomic weapons and bombs, quoting Oppenheimer’s response in the wake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I urge you to listen to Graham’s account of a life under the sea most of us will never experience.

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