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John McCracken

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An officer stands with his head bowed

A man sits with medals John McCracken came from a family of serving men. His own father served in World War I and II. As a result, it's no wonder that John joined the Navy himself at the age of 18 and served for six years between 1956 and 1962. During this time, he was on patrol for 90 per cent of the time as a submariner, spending up to seven weeks at a time underwater.

Being a submariner required much precision and attention. John was always acutely aware that all it took was one man's mistake for everyone else to die. Despite the pressure, John never recalls feeling fear. Instead he found it calm 200 feet below the surface.

John's fondest memory of his time at sea is his visit to Edinburgh where they took a bunch of doctors and nurses out on the submarine. "You never heard so many complaints in all your life," John recalls. "It was really enjoyable to hear how the other half learned how we lived."

Now, after half a century, John looks forward to Remembrance Day each year. "I've lost a few people and friends from the forces. I think everybody needs to be involved in Remembrance Day."