Tag Archives: Royal Navy Submarine Museum

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

Discovered WW1 British And German Submariners Solidarity In Gosport


The personal photographs from a WW1 Royal Navy submarine commander have revealed the mutual respect he shared with his German adversary. Curators at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire discovered this story after recently taking possession of a remarkable personal photograph album from Lt Cdr Samuel Gravener, Commanding Officer of HMS E2 which included photographs of a German submariner and his family.

Ninety – eight years ago, on 29th April 1917, HMS E2 was on patrol in the Mediterranean when she sighted German U-boat UC37, who herself was about to destroy an Italian sailing ship off Marsala, Sicily.  Gravener, E2’s Commanding Officer, fired a torpedo at UC37 which hit but failed to detonate. The Officer of the Watch onboard UC37 that day was Fritz Boie.  Fourteen years later, the German submariner, Boie tracked down Gravener and sent him a letter which concluded “So I send you now my kindest regards, hoping you are still alive and well off”. That was the start of an exchange of letters and family photographs by the two former adversaries.

Bob Mealings, Curator at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum said, “This is a wonderful discovery of opposing sides uniting through their submariner experiences.”

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum recently purchased Samuel Gravener’s photograph album which included copies of the original letter and original photographs of Boie and his family, along with three contemporary crew photographs.

The photo album will be on temporary display in the Submarine Museum which is open every day to visitors and includes a visit to the historic WW2 era HMS Alliance, X24 and the Royal Navy’s very first submarine Holland1.

For more information please visit http://www.submarine-museum.co.uk or call 023 92510354.

Source – About My Area