Iain Ballantyne has spent time at sea in most types of warship, from nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, to destroyers and frigates. Past assignments as a writer have also taken him from the frozen wastes of the Arctic to minefields in poisoned waters off war-torn Kuwait and even on a brief foray into the Bosnian war zone.
Iain was one of a select few journalists aboard the carrier HMS Ark Royal when the pilot of a Sea Harrier shot down over the Balkans was rescued by Special Forces and returned to the ship.
More recently, Iain was aboard a Royal Navy frigate during a NATO counter-terrorism exercise in the Mediterranean and the same year (2008) visited US Navy and British warships facing down the Iranian and Al-Qaeda threat in the Northern Arabian Gulf.
Aside from being aboard the frigate HMS London (in 1991) when she was nearly hit by a practice torpedo launched by a Soviet submarine, during his visits to the USSR in its dying days Iain also came across a previously secret Russian prototype submarine at Balaclava in the Crimea. His report and photographs of the vessel when published were a world first.
During other Russian forays Iain twice visited the Kronstadt naval base (a restricted area). One memorable interview session with a Russian admiral involved 16 vodka toasts to 'the beautiful women of the world.'
In 2007, Iain's work in the maritime arena was saluted with a Special Recognition Award from the British Maritime Charitable Foundation (BMCF), for making 'a consistent and unwavering contribution to raising maritime awareness over the years'.
In addition to being founding (and current) Editor of the global naval news magazine WARSHIPS IFR (1998 – Present) and HPC Publishing’s popular ‘Guide to the Royal Navy’ (2002 – Present) Iain continues to write for newspapers and other magazines.
His input for several years also infused and informed stories on naval affairs in the Sunday Telegraph and most recently (2014) in the Sunday Times.
In 2010 Iain's WW2 era book, 'Killing the Bismarck' won a Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution Certificate of Merit.
The citation, by a distinguished panel of judges, declared ‘Killing the Bismarck’ to be ‘a book of intense drama, compiled with painstaking accuracy and vividly portrayed through the meticulous accumulation of first-hand witness accounts’ to make it ‘authoritative and compelling.’
Iain is an Associate Member of the HMS Warspite Association. His first book (published 2001) was a profile of the legendary battleship Warspite, primarily told through the experiences of her sailors and marines in two world wars, but also including a look at the exploits of the nuclear-powered submarine of the same name.
In June 2014, in recognition of his work on behalf of naval history, and in particular telling the story of Cold War submarines and submarines, Iain was presented with an award during a special ‘HMS Warspite and Buddies in Boats Reunion’ at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
His other books include ‘H.M.S. London’ which told the story of British warships to carry that names since the 17th Century, including the Type 22 frigate that was at one time commanded by Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement.
Iain Ballantyne’s latest book, ‘Hunter Killers’ (published by Orion), is the first work to tell the truth behind several dangerous episodes in the covert undersea confrontation between British and Soviet submarines and their crews during the Cold War.