The 'Thursday Night WEO Show', broadcast to the ship's company of HMS REVENGE during a deterrent patrol, June 1978. Consisting of a mock outside broadcast of a 'Snap Queen's Inspection Into Tailoring Standards' (SQUITS) of the ship's company of submarine, HMS REVENGE.
Life on a submarine can often be boring. Periods of time are spent underwater, between 8 and 12 weeks when on deterrent patrol, and the men are often inactive with limited sense of passing time. One way to break the boredom was for the crew to assemble their various talents for a variety show, to be performed live or broadcast over the boats internal speaker system. Reflecting a military tradition of comedy in the relief of boredom and tension during front line service, the broadcast harks back to a tradition of concert parties or in print “Wipers Times”, yet contain elements of the “Navy Lark” and “Goon Show” popular at the time of recording. It is incredibly rare for a recording of one of these shows to survive. As part of the boat's entertainment programme the 'WEO Show' was recorded by the Weapons Electrical Officer of HMS REVENGE during a nuclear deterrent patrol in June 1978. It name-checks many of the ship’s company, providing the listener with a personal guided tour to a moment in the life of a submarine and its men.
This performance was written and performed by Lieutenant Commander F G (Eric) Thompson, the Senior Engineer Officer, as part of his weekly on-patrol entertainment, 'The WEO Show', transmitted on the submarine’s internal speaker system. WEO stands for Weapons Electrical Officer and, tongue firmly in cheek, the show gives pride of place to his own Electrical Department. It was recorded and broadcast while on deterrent patrol in June 1978. Earlier in that patrol, REVENGE had suffered a major steam leak in the Engine Room which was dealt with successfully by the Engineers. For their courage and professionalism in preserving the integrity of the patrol, Acting Leading Mechanic John McWilliam was awarded a Queen’s Gallantry Medal, Lieutenant Commander Thompson was awarded an MBE and four other Engineers were were awarded Oak Leaves for gallant conduct.
The tape was produced in the submarine’s SRE office using a hand held microphone, a cassette recording of the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines for musical sound effects, and an open reel tape recorder.