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Holy Lock Scotland

updated 03/03/2009

Holy Lock Scotland and Rota Spain were the Key's two overseas "home ports".  Each of these sites had a submarine tender moored either at anchor as in Holy Lock or along side a pier as in Rota.  Being anchored in the middle of Holy Lock created its own set of problems as any time you wanted to go ashore you had to wait for a launch to take you, the same with returning to the tender.  Holy Lock was a very pretty site with high hills surrounding most of the lock.  The town of Dunoon was the closest town of any size.  At the time I served, the Scottish people were very friendly towards us submariners, however the weather was not.  It was usually raining or going to rain, not much in between.  The Key was tied up next to the USS Canopus when it caught fire.  You can read about that in Sea Stories.  I've also added a true sea story of my time in Scotland at the bottom of this page.  Send in your pictures or stories of Holy Lock or the surrounding countryside.

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Steve Rosen and Bob "Fonebone" Reese in Holy Lock

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Holy Lock 1970/71 submitted by Gary Youngwirth.  Dry dock in the background

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Next to the tender in Holy Lock 1970/71/  Looks like Mike Pomarez on duty.

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Clyde Lewis in Scotland

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Can't remember name, blue crew 1971 in Scotland

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Key in floating drydock in early 1971 in Holy Lock.


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The next 6 pictures were sent in by John Zlotucha, gold crew 67 -71

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Mike Robinson getting ready to throw a line.

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Hamil, Ivan Meixell, Jeff Trexler 1968ish Holy Lock


True Scotland sea story submitted 03/03/09 by Russ Christie MT1 70 - 75 Blue Crew.  This should give you an idea of what the Scottish people were like to us navy guys...

1970/71- I had a rare day off in Holy Lock so I put on my dress blues and headed to Dunoon for some shopping.  To get there you took the launch from the tender to the beach, then down to the piers to catch a ferry to take you over to Dunoon.  I got on the ferry and once we got underway, I walked over to the railing, leaned over watching the countryside go by when suddenly I felt a quick tap-tap on my back.  I turned around and all I saw was a middle-aged woman walking down the aisle away from me.  So I went back to the rail figuring she must have just bumped into me by accident.  A few minutes later, tap-tap on my back.  Again I turned around and another woman was walking past me.  She did not say a word, just kept walking.  Now I'm from a big city and I know when I'm being screwed with, so I lean back on the railing, this time in wait.  Not long thereafter comes the tap-tap, this time I spin around quickly and ask the woman going by, "What do you think you're doing!" in a rather sarcastic tone I might add.

She stops, turns towards me.  She is probably in her mid to late 50s wearing a heavy coat and a bandana to protect her from the cool wind.  She smiles at me and says, "During the war (WWII), we would tap each of the stars on the sailors back.  It was our way of saying, thanks Yank and good luck."  It left me speechless.  All I could say was Thanks.  I went back to leaning on the rail, this time with a tear in my eye.  I was stunned by this random act of kindness.  It left a very lasting impression as I have a tear in my eye while I'm writing this.  If I could relive any single event in my 8 year navy career, it would be this one.