My memory of Seaslug goes back to when I was a Naval apprentice. We were below decks on HMS Bulwark (which was taking part in a joint RN/USN exercise) when a pipe was made (=tannoy announcement) to the effect that HMS Norfolk was about to carry out a Seaslug test firing at a remote control target. All non-essential personnel were allowed to go up to the flight-deck to watch, and all training apprentices were to be released to do so.
We all trotted up having been told that Seaslug firings were of the impressive variety -we were not to be disappointed. We could clearly see HMS Norfolk and what seemed to be her entire crew on the fo'csle; indeed just about every ship in sight was providing an audience. Suddenly Norfolk's stern disappeared in a mass of roiling white smoke, and the missile leapt upwards, rotating as it did. Then the noise hit us, a tremendous roaring scream. We saw the boost motors flick away and the sustainer motor fire. The more eagle-eyed amongst us had just spotted the target when another roar hit us -Norfolk had fired the second missile of a two-shot salvo. I saw the first missile hit the target drone, and the second hit the largest piece of debris, one of the drone's wings.
PO A Allsopp RN, in conversation with the author, 1986.
I was an Artificer on board the trials ship HMS Girdleness (a converted liberty ship) in the Mediterranean. We carried out a seemingly endless series of test firings of what became Seaslug. I can remember quite clearly that after each missile had been fired the boost motors often floated after falling back into the sea. We had to ram them to ensure that they sank in order to prevent them being recovered by anyone else!
Stuart Stevenson, in conversation with the author.
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Last Updated: 22nd September 2016.
Copyright SR Jenkins, July 2000.