A small personal remembrance

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Nov 11, 2004
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I'm not out to make a big deal of anything here guys, but I just wanted to let this out and felt that this was as good a place as any.

One year ago today a major fire broke out aboard the submarine HMCS Chicoutimi (formerly HMS Upholder) just days into it's maiden voyage as a Canadian vessel, en route from the Royal Navy base at Faslane, Scotland to Halifax, Nova Scotia. As you likely already know, fire on a submarine means disaster. The smoke fills the space very quickly and will overcome personnel in seconds if reaction isn't immediate. There was only one fatality in the fire, and that was Lieutenant Chris Saunders. I knew him personally. I worked for him for a time, and as perhaps can only happen in the sub community where officers and non-commissioned types like myself can do it, I became somewhat familiar with him on a slightly more personal level. I considered him a buddy, like a lot of guys did.

He didn't die a hero. He just tragically didn't get a breather mask on quickly enough and was overcome by the thick smoke. He seemed to be recovering after the incident, but as is often the case with cases of smoke inhalation, he worsened very suddenly. He died on the Royal Navy helo that was rushing him to hospital in Silo, Ireland.

Anyhoo, this is just my own tiny little remembrance of an incredibly decent guy. He didn't fight in a war or go out in some blaze of glory, but his absence is felt by the guys who knew him and worked with him. We miss him. Here's to ya Chris. :salute:


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A sad loss. Losing a good man is just as bad as losing a good soldier. :salute:
Really shity luck Skim. A mate is a mate, the loss is just as hard and in peace time and perhaps even worse you expect the concequences during a punch up but not just going about your duties.
Have you heard anything from the enquiry as to the problem with the electrics?
Thanks boys.

trackend said:
Have you heard anything from the enquiry as to the problem with the electrics?
We've all been fully briefed on it. It was a combination of things that led up to the fire, but the main hardware issue turned out to be unique to that boat. The other boats were thoroughly inspected again to be sure of course, and a few other changes were made. I can't really get into details, but they're as safe now as they're ever going to be.
I have lost more friends to training accidents than actual combat, and a loss is a loss....my condolences....
Skim wrote
I can't really get into details,
Understood Skim I'm at least pleased they found the causes.
Intermittent ones as you know can be real bastards and may only appear occasionally
Ive spent months waiting for the right conditions to find them so although sadly it won't bring your mate back, as you say it can at least be attributed to a definite cause and be prevented from reoccurring

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