Iain Ballantyne

Iain Ballantyne


Iain’s writing assignments have taken him flying over the Norwegian Arctic with the UK’s Commando Helicopter Force, on patrols with the Royal Marines in Ulster’s so-called Bandit Country (during the Troubles) and into sea minefields off war-torn Kuwait and even into the Bosnian war zone.

Winner of a British Maritime Charitable Foundation (BMCF) Special Recognition Award for his ‘consistent and unwavering contribution to raising maritime awareness over the years’, as a journalist Iain Ballantyne covered the front line activities of navies around the world.

Aside from being one of the few writers to voyage beneath the waves in a Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine, he has also visited closed zones in Russia, including Murmansk, Kronstadt and the Crimea.

When it comes to writing on naval history Iain’s action-packed account of WW2 sea combat, ‘Killing the Bismarck’, garnered a Mountbatten Maritime Award Certificate of Merit while his ground-breaking ‘Hunter Killers’ was the first book to tell the truth behind several dangerous episodes in the Cold War under the sea.

A one-time London-based defence and diplomatic correspondent for a national news agency, Iain has contributed to coverage of naval and defence issues in The Sunday Telegraph, Western Morning News and Scotland-on-Sunday, as well as prestigious publications published on behalf of NATO and the Royal Navy.

In addition to being founding (and current) Editor of the global naval news magazine ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review’ Iain also produces HPC Publishing’s popular ‘Guide to the Royal Navy’.

Aside from regularly commentating on geo-political naval affairs and maritime history for regional television and radio, Iain’s other varied pursuits in the past have included movie reviewing (for newspapers, magazines and radio) and co-devising a six-part wine game show (broadcast on the UK’s Channel 4). Iain also for some years worked on numerous projects for London-based Grosvenor Film, both in project conceptualization and script-writing.

Iain’s public speaking engagements have included giving a talk on the pursuit and destruction of battleship Bismarck at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and, most recently, a very well received talk on the same topic at the Naval & Military Club, St James’s. Earlier this year (2016) he spoke on issues surrounding renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent to the Defence Society of Westminster School.

Iain Ballantyne @IBallantyn

superb view! https://twitter.com/CovertShores/status/1218821520065277952

“In selecting this name, we honor the contributions of all our enlisted ranks, past and present, men and women, of every race, religion and background.” -@SECNAV https://twitter.com/usnavy/status/1218905809880522754

Une première dans l'US Navy: le prochain porte-avions pourrait porter le nom d'un matelot noir, Doris Miller, héros de Pearl Harbor, Navy Cross, † 1943 dans le torpillage de son navire par un sous-marin. Mise en chantier du futur CVN-81 prévue pour 2023, entrée en service 2028. https://twitter.com/NavalInstitute/status/1218584404639014912

What We're Reading - 17 January 2020. Featuring @iballantyn, @FelicityCloake, Deepa Anappara, John Galsworthy, @jeaninecummins and @amy_may... http://bookbrunch.co.uk/page/free-article/what-we-re-reading--17-january-2020/ (Free to view)

The National Memorial to Robert Falcon Scott and his men, Mount Wise, Plymouth. https://twitter.com/onthisdayrn/status/1218046131768262656

Some declassified 1958 diagrams illustrate production plans for the Polaris A-1 missile and George Washington-class submarine.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

People were paid for these gags in the middle of WW2! https://twitter.com/spyhistory/status/1217827694324408320

‘We need more money’: US Navy’s top officer says the service needs more of the DoD budget https://trib.al/8ooEvAe

@simonharley @WarshipsIFR The red line shows where the SSBN was cut in half. It's hard to say if this one is Yankee or Delta I, II or III as these project shared the same engine room layout & technology. Circled is a propeller shaft that's slightly angled due to the asymmetrical engine room layout.

There’s much to marvel at in this photo of a submarine. My favourite is the sink at the top.

Today in 1943, HMCS Ville de Quebec (K242) sank German U-boat U-224 west of Algiers, in the Mediterranean Sea. She used depth charges and Oerlikon cannons, finally ramming the submarine between her conning tower and forward gun. There was one survivor.

The meeting that ended the #ColdWar🇷🇺🤝🏻🇺🇸Malta🇲🇹Dec2÷3 1989
🇺🇸Pres. George H.W.Bush
🇷🇺Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev
CG BelknapCG26🇺🇸
CG Slava106🇷🇺
@MaltaGov @USNavy @WarshipsIFR @on_warfare @IBallantyn @wachteldean54LV @cynaegeirus @CanbulatP @AnnQuann @Saturnax1

The Battersea shield, found in London in 1857 while dredging the Thames. Discovered with other Roman/Celtic weapons and skeletons it was thought to be lost fighting Caesar in 54bc. Now believed to be a ritual offering that predates the romans, it sits in the British museum.

This piece by former UK Ambassador to Syria, Iraq & Saudi Arabia, who was also UK Foreign Office Director for the Middle East & N. Africa, touches on some naval aspects, in addition to posing wider foreign policy questions

USS Farragut @USNavy 'tail-gated' in Gulf... As if tensions in the Gulf were not already high enough, the Russians get up to their old tricks by having what they regard as a bit of cheeky fun, but which could have ended very badly https://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=111827#.XhmkJ1yHewg.twitter

On Thursday, Jan. 9, while conducting routine operations in the North Arabian Sea, USS Farragut (DDG 99) was aggressively approached by a Russian Navy ship.

Russian ship tailgating USS Farragut (DDG 99) in the North Arabian Sea.


In @thetimes, @james_rogers contends Britain’s strategic policy is ‘obsolete’, requiring the Johnson government’s upcoming security, defence and foreign policy review to reconfigure ‘outmoded assumptions’ informing British foreign policy choices. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/global-britain-the-uks-policymakers-need-new-operating-assumptions-qxfqdchkr

The January 2020 @WarshipsIFR issue just arrived in our mailbox, including 2 of my pieces - covering Exercise Cutlass Fury & the #HMCSKootenay gearbox explosion 50th anniversary ceremony respectively. This issue should appear @magsstore & on other Canadian shelves in February.