Tag Archives: HMS Alliance

Gosport knitters make giant scarf for submarine HMS Alliance

Local knitting group Priddys Purlers revealing part of the giant scarf in front of HMS Alliance

Knitting groups including the Priddys Purlers are taking part in the project

Knitters across Hampshire are making a giant scarf to wrap around the last surviving British WWII submarine.

It is to highlight the final stage of the £7m restoration of HMS Alliance, which has corroded after decades of exposure to sea water and dampness.

The 60-metre (196 ft) scarf for the conning tower is being made by more than 200 knitters from Gosport.

HMS Alliance, based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, will be relaunched in Spring 2014.

The knitters have completed 40 metres (131 ft) and have appealed for more wool to finish it off.

The scarf will be unveiled in time for Christmas

Source – BBC News

Ready, steady cook! Submarine museum event’s a smash hit – Video clip


    image of snow covered countryside

    Click on the picture for Video clip

CHILDREN had the chance to bake and learn about food that sailors on a submarine would have to eat.

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Haslar Road, Gosport, invited children of all ages to take part in a summer activity.

Sammy Sardine’s Summer School had children discovering the food that sailors ate on board a submarine during the Second World War.

On board HMS Alliance, children got to see a Frog in the Bog, also known as Toad in the Hole, illustrated by the museum’s Horrible Science of a Submarine exhibition.

Gareth Brettell, education manager at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, said: ‘Everyone had a great time cooking the different cakes inspired by the submarine.

‘They got to pick their favourite that others had made, then they had the chance to cook their own.

‘They enjoyed making their little cakes with different parts of the submarine in different flavours and ingredients.

‘We had a tropical fruit cake and a coconut and chocolate cake which the kids loved.’

As well as the cooking classes, families who visit the museum can also learn old ways to communicate.

Kids will have the opportunity to learn Morse code, semaphore and how to write using invisible ink.

Once they have mastered this, they can write secret messages and send a signal across the museum.

The communications day is on August 13.

Gareth added: ‘There is something for everyone this summer

Source – The News

HMS Alliance – Submarine close to surfacing again


The HMS Alliance refurbishment at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport. Standing on top of the submarine

In less than three weeks the refurbished hull of a Second World War era submarine will be revealed for all to see.

Piece by piece the scaffolding surrounding HMS Alliance at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, in Gosport, is being taken down.

The final section is due to be removed early next month.

It will be a major milestone in a project that has already seen many.

Sitting atop her home on a concrete cofferdam, she will, for the first time in decades, be looking her best.

A gleaming black finish – itself painted on top of anti-corrosive paint and a holding coat – will mask the major work embarked upon in October 2011 to restore her.

Alliance had suffered such corrosion that huge parts of her were damaged so badly they had to be replaced, rather than repaired.

Bob Mealings is the curator at the museum and calls sections of the submarine, which is not yet finished, ‘a real work of art.’

But he added if this project had not been started, the ‘irreplaceable’ submarine would have been lost to the public.

‘Eventually I think she would have been in such a poor state you couldn’t have opened her to the public,’ he says.

‘She would have become a health and safety hazard to people surrounding the submarine because bits were dropping off.

‘And also she would have been an environmental hazard because the rust and the paint coatings, all of which are not supposed to be in the water, gradually dropping off and contaminating the sea around us.

‘And she is the only surviving Second World War submarine – she’s irreplaceable.

‘It would have been a major loss for UK maritime heritage, for naval heritage and indeed for Gosport, as the town that is essentially the historical home of the British submarine service.’

She is also a memorial to the 5,300 British submariners who have lost their lives in service.

At the end of £6.7m project in March 2014, Alliance will have been bought another 60 years.

To get to that stage, the restoration so far has been nothing if not extensive.

Around 40 tonnes of new steel has been put into the boat to replace parts that were beyond repair.

Bob adds: ‘The restoration itself has included absolutely everything.

‘Down at the bow, by the bow’s keel, we’ve had to restore from the bottom of the keel all the way up and all the way down.

‘All of that has been blasted back and repainted and a lot of welding repair work carried out.

‘The bow is a very good example of the challenge of producing a really good restoration in terms of the quality of workmanship.

‘To actually roll steel plate and weld it in that [compound curve] shape is a real work of art, it’s real craftsmanship.’

The work has been guided by the 1945 original build drawings, supplied to the museum by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness.

But that has not made it plain sailing for Portsmouth-based firm ML UK which has carried out the work.

Getting access to certain parts has been difficult.

That included the ballast tanks, which could only be accessed by cutting through the hull.

‘There are dozens of ballast tanks aboard Alliance,’ says Bob.

‘Every one of them has had to be opened up, blasted and repainted in order to preserve the interior.

‘The shot blasters have had to go in there and blast all the rust away, the painters have had to go in there and paint.

‘Some of the work in the confined spaces has been challenging.

‘It’s in the nature of the way submarines are constructed, they’re not the easiest thing to work on and maintain.

‘There’s so much machinery crammed into confined spaces.

‘Simply obtaining access to various parts of the submarine has been one of the challenges of the project.’

A major consideration during the restoration work has been safeguarding against any future corrosion.

And that has meant protecting the boat, which is on the historic ship’s register, against birds.

The A-Class’s casing has more than 100 distinctive free-flood holes.

But each one of them is now covered with mesh to stop it becoming an aviary.

Bob said: ‘A lot of the superstructure of a submarine is free-flood, so when it dives, water floods into these spaces, which is obviously meant to happen.

‘The problem with a preserved historic submarines is that birds like to go in there and nest.

‘Every one of these free-flood holes, and they’re all over the hull of the submarine, has to be meshed over.

‘It’s a shame because it’s a very distinctive feature of a Second World War submarine to have all these holes but a bit fatal when you’re trying to protect it.’

‘Birds contaminate the boat with their guano but they also make it unhygienic to work on.

‘At the height of the problem there were probably 200 birds nesting or associated with the boat.

‘Now we’re down to a handful of stragglers.’

Instead, regular groups of visitors can be found aboard, being shown around by one of the museum’s many volunteers.

When the programme of work is completed, visitors can see what it was like for 65 crew and six officers that used to be on board.

A state-of-the-art sound and lighting system will bring the boat to life.

She is open for visitors now and museum staff are keen to share their enthusiasm for her with others.


JUST as museum staff want the submarine to be open to the public, so is the restoration work itself.

An army – or crew – of volunteers has been taken on to help with the work.

Roy Furse, a former member of the Fleet Air Arm, is a conservation volunteer.

The 67-year-old, from Seafield Road, in Portchester, will be working on bringing some of the electronic equipment back to life.

He was busy in a workshop at the museum when he spoke to The News.

He said: ‘I’ve been working on the submarine.

‘I’ll be working on the electronics, which is quite exciting, trying to get some of it working again for lights and visual effects.

‘I worked at IBM for 28 years in project management and needed something really different and this is it.

‘It’s keeping the past alive, and people not involved with the sea can come and

see what it was all about years and years ago.’

Mr Furse has been volunteering on the project for three months.

Volunteers are given initial training but are given space to fit into the project.

Curator Bob Mealings added that the museum hopes the volunteers involved will stay for the long term to help with the upkeep of the fully-restored vessel.

He said: ‘We’d like people around to help us maintain the submarine in the long term.

‘There are all sorts of projects on board the boat, which we won’t get a chance to sort out before March next year when we relaunch.’

To volunteer on the project, call (023) 9251 0354, extension 231.

Fundraising events

EVEN after getting £3.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, refurbishing a submarine is a costly business.

Bosses need around a further £200,000 to hit the project’s target.

Those behind the £6.7m project run fundraising events to bring in more cash to pay for the work.

And this week a travelling speaker, with the stage name of Eric, will be talking at the museum to help bring in the cash.

Fresh from a world tour, which included Australia, London and Leicester, the former submariner will talk about the secret world of submarines.

Tickets cost £10 for the show on Thursday at the museum.

Then on Thursday, July 18 from 7pm to 9pm, the museum’s own archivist will give a talk.

George Malcolmson will give his talk, Donald’s Navy 1900 – 1945, about the seaside artist Donald McGill.

And on Thursday, September 12 a dinner aboard HMS Victory will raise cash for the ongoing restoration.

Diners are invited to enjoy fine dining and fine wines on Admiral Lord Nelson’s Lower Gun Deck in aid of the restoration appeal.

The night will be in full naval tradition style and will end with a prize auction.

All tickets can be bought online at supportusalliance.co.uk or by calling (023) 9254 5036.

To support the cause further, become a friend of the museum on rnsubmusfriends.org.uk

Source – The News

UK – Periscopes Are Returned To WW2 Submarine In Gosport


The periscopes of the historic HMS Alliance were returned by a giant crane today as part of a £7m conservation project to restore the only surviving WW2 era A-class submarine sited at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire.  The periscopes have been conserved by the Babcock International Group at the submarine base Faslane in Scotland.

HMS Alliance was equipped with two 40ft periscopes, one for general use and one for attack. The Attack scope is made of bronze and dates from the submarine’s construction in 1945. Both periscopes were removed last year for restoration. The returned periscopes will be fully functional and allow visitors to HMS Alliance, the opportunity to view Portsmouth Harbour where the historic submarine is based.

Bob Mealings, Curator at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum said, “Before the restoration visitors on-board HMS Alliance could not use either periscope. Now they will for be able to look through the scopes for the first time in thirty years. The views will be amazing.”

The Museum’s restoration contractor ML UK Ltd, based in Portsmouth, will be using two large cranes to re position the historic periscopes. The periscopes will then be set for the best view in elevation and power.

The conservation project to restore HMS Alliance will be completed in Spring 2014, meanwhile the Submarine Museum is open to visitors, however HMS Alliance will be temporarily closed while the periscopes are refitted.  HMS Alliance will reopen Tuesday 21 May.

For more information on the Saving HMS Alliance Project, visit www.submarine-museum.co.uk

Source – About My Area

Royal Navy submarine HMS Alliance restoration under way – Video Clip


The restoration of a World War II submarine is expected to be completed next year.

HMS Alliance, based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire, is undergoing a £6.75m revamp.

The project, which was awarded £3.4m by the Heritage Lottery Fund, still has a shortfall of £200,000 and efforts continue to raise the cash.

Work on the 1940s submarine, which will be a memorial to 5,300 British submariners who gave their lives in service between 1904 and the present day, started in October 2011 and expected to finish in



HMS Alliance is a Royal Navy A-class, Amphion-class or Acheron-class submarine, laid down towards the end of the Second World War and completed in 1947. The submarine is the only surviving example of the class, having been a memorial and museum ship since 1981.

The Amphion-class submarines were designed for use in the Far East, where the size of the Pacific Ocean made long range, high surface speed and relative comfort for the crew important features to allow for much larger patrol areas and longer periods at sea than British submarines operating in the Atlantic or Mediterranean had to contend with. Alliance was one of the seven A-class boats completed with a snort mast – the other boats all had masts fitted by 1949.


From 9 October 1947 until 8 November the submarine undertook a lengthy experimental cruise in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa to investigate the limits of the snort mast, remaining submerged for 30 days.

Between 1958 and 1960 Alliance was extensively modernised by having the deck gun and external torpedo tubes removed, the hull streamlined and the sail replaced with a larger (26 feet 6 inch high), more streamlined one constructed of aluminium. The purpose of these modifications was to make the submarine quieter and faster underwater. Following the modifications the wireless transmitting aerial was supported on a frame behind the sail; but was later replaced with a whip aerial on the starboard side of the fin which could be rotated hydraulically to a horizontal position.

The original gun access hatch was retained however, allowing Alliance to be equipped with a small calibre deck gun again when serving in the Far East during the Indonesian Confrontation of the earlier 1960s.

In May 1961 the pennant numbers of British submarines were changed so that all surviving submarines completed after the Second World War were now numbered from S01 upwards, and Alliance was given the number S67.

On or around 30 September 1971 a fatal battery explosion occurred on board, whilst at Portland.

From 1973 until 1979 she was the static training boat at the HMS Dolphin shore establishment, replacing HMS Tabard in this role. In August 1979, she was towed to Vosper Ship Repairers Limited’s yard at Southampton to have her keel strengthened so that she could be lifted out of the water and preserved as a memorial to those British submariners who have died in service. Since 1981 the submarine has been a museum ship, raised out of the water and on display at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

Damage to the stern of Alliance in 2008


Although listed on the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, in recent years as many as 100 pigeons have been nesting in the submarine, causing extensive corrosive damage. She also sits on cradles over sea water, adding to problems of corrosion and preventing easy and economical maintenance to her exterior. Urgent restoration work is required to save the boat, and a major restoration program is underway, which includes reclaiming land beneath HMS Alliance using a cofferdam and backfill. This will also provide easy access for future maintenance and new viewing platforms for visitors, additionally opening up the conning tower and casing. A new HMS Alliance gallery is also part of the project to help ensure visitors fully appreciate the significance of this submarine and what she represents. It was announced on 30 May 2011 that HMS Alliance would share in a £11 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Alliance will receive £3.4 million to repair her bow and stern and address extensive surface corrosion.

HMS Alliance on display at Royal Navy Submarine Museum
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Ordered: 1943 Emergency war programme
Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness
Laid down: 13 March 1945
Launched: 28 July 1945
Commissioned: 14 May 1947
Decommissioned: 1973, static training boat until August 1979
Identification: Pennant number: P147 (S67 from 1961)
Fate: Museum ship/memorial since 1981 at Royal Navy Submarine Museum
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,360/1,590 tons (surface/submerged) 1,385/1,620 tons after streamlining
Length: 281 ft 4.75 in (85.7695 m)
Beam: 22 ft 3 in (6.78 m)
Draught: 17 ft (5.2 m)
Propulsion: Two 2,150 hp (at 450 rpm) supercharged Vickers 8-cylinder diesel engine, Two 625 hp electric motors for use underwater, driving two shafts
Speed: 18.5/8 knots (surface/submerged) 18.5/10 knots after streamlining
Range: 10,500 nautical miles (19,400 km) at 11 knots (20 km/h) surfaced 16 nautical miles (30 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h) submerged 90 nautical miles (170 km) at 3 knots (6 km/h) submerged
Endurance: 36 hours submerged at 2.5 knots
Test depth: 500 ft (150 m)
Complement: 5 officers, 56 ratings (63 ratings after modernisation in 1960)
Armament: Six 21-inch bow torpedo tubes (including 2 external dry close fit) Four 21-inch stern torpedo tubes (including 2 external dry close fit) 20 torpedoes carried (externals could not be reloaded at sea) Mark V mines could be launched from the internal tubes External tubes removed during streamlining/modernisation. One QF 4 inch Mark XXIII deck gun on S2 mounting One 20 mm AA Oerlikon 20 mm gun on Mark VII mounting Submarine was briefly fitted with a twin Oerlikon on Mark 12A mounting. All guns removed during streamlining/modernisation.

Source – BBC News, Wikipedia, Youtube