Out of Season: Royal Navy Submarine Museum
With our next planned dive a few months off, we decided to make the most of a free weekend and headed down to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, near to Portsmouth. The highlight of the museum is without a doubt HMS Alliance, a submarine commissioned in 1947. You are taken through the submarine by an ex submariner who is able to give you a sense of what life on a submarine is like and as you are given a time slot it doesn’t get too busy. Starting with the torpedos, you move through the accommodation section into the engine room. Once you get to the engine room there are some sound effects and you get an idea about how terrifying it must be when you are discovered and about to be blown out of the water. We learnt lots but what struck me most of all is how small a submarine actually is; after a 40 minute tour I was ready to get out.
There are four other submarines including Holland 1 the Royal Navy’s first submarine which was commissioned in 1901. Besides the submarines there is a museum which has exhibits from the past as well as some stuff about what life is like on a submarine today. Having attended a talk at DiverSE a couple of years ago about the submarine escape suit, I found the information about the suit of particular interest. There is also some stuff about the connection to the pirate’s flag and also the Falklands War, about which you can watch a video by the Commanding Officer who ordered the sinking of the Belgrano. As well as all this there is an interactive area which the kids (big and small) seemed to love.