Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine HMS Alliance reopens hatches after £ 7million refurbishment

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Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine HMS Alliance reopens hatches after £ 7million refurbishment

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The HMS Alliance – the only surviving British submarine of World War II – has reopened its hatches following a major £ 7million restoration project.

The 281-foot submarine, based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, has been fully restored with a new interpretation, new lighting and new soundscapes to form one of three major exhibitions marking 100 years of unseen history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Onboard tours now begin with a new film narrated by British Hollywood star Ian McShane, highlighting life on HMS Alliance from WWII through the Cold War until the 1970s.

Makeover: HMS Alliance, based at the Royal Submarine Museum in Gosport, reopens to the public this week following a £ 7million refurbishment project

Panoramic view: The submarine, the only surviving British WWII era submarine, sits close to Portsmouth Harbor

Panoramic view: The submarine, the only surviving British WWII era submarine, sits close to Portsmouth Harbor

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New look: Portsmouth harbor can be seen from the submarine’s working periscopes and, to the right, through the redone hatches

With new skins, lights, sounds and smells inside the submarine, as if the crew had just disembarked, starting Thursday, visitors will be able to discover more about each decade of the submarine’s service over the years. 40 to the 70s.

Former submariners will lead the tours, offering anecdotes and insight into their time in the Navy.

And tourists will also be able to look through the working periscopes to see Portsmouth Harbor and meet submariners who will tell their own personal stories of working under the waves.

Chris Munns, Director of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, said: “A visit aboard HMS Alliance is going to attack all the senses and really bring to life what it is like to work and live on a submarine.

“We are very proud of the HMS Alliance and delighted that it has been saved for future generations. “

A memorial to 5,300 British submariners, HMS Alliance was designed during World War II for service in the Far East, launched in 1945 when victory was achieved.

Transformation: HMS Alliance underwent a £ 7million conservation and restoration project

Transformation: HMS Alliance underwent a £ 7million conservation and restoration project

During her 28-year career, she held the world record for the longest submarine dive, remaining submerged for 30 days, in 1947, served in the Cold War and was retired in 1973.

In 1981, the submarine – the only surviving copy of the Royal Navy’s Class A submarine – became the centerpiece of the museum on the Gosport waterfront.
It closed its doors last year to undergo conservation work.

Guide John Buffery, of Gosport, who served on RN submarines during the Cold War, said of HMS Alliance: “This is the last WWII submarine that the public can see. visiting and walking through and what we did during the renovation was we tried to reflect it as it was in his professional life in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. ‘

Describing life on board, he added: “It smelled a little bit bad, gasoline, the smell of diesel permeates, penetrates your clothes, penetrates your hair, penetrates the pores of your skin, hygiene n it wasn’t much of a problem, we got dirty, we wore the same clothes, we weren’t wearing a uniform, we wore t-shirts, shorts, sneakers, all the old rags that we would throw out next.

“Untold Stories”: Former Submariner and Volunteer Guide John Buffery aboard HMS Alliance

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£ 7million makeover: The HMS Alliance opens to the public on Thursday. The left shows the stern raised off the ground and, on the right, an aerial view

Another submariner, Bill Handyside, now 86 from Portsmouth, recounted his experiences as a fireworks engineer in the engine room aboard HMS Alliance from 1956 as part of the exposure.

He said, “When you’re on the surface you roll around and feel sick and it’s horrible and you can’t wait to get down and once you get down it’s beautiful and it’s stable.

“Most of the time we worked hard and we played hard, when we got ashore we drank a lot.”

He added: “Everyone says the submariners were volunteers, when I left the navy I looked at my discharge papers and they said I volunteered but I didn’t. didn’t and most of my friends didn’t, we were drafted into submarines, there was no such thing as volunteers.

Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East England, which awarded a £ 3.4million grant to the tourist attraction, said: “We are delighted to have made a significant contribution to the restoration of HMS Alliance.”

A ticket to the HMS Alliance, which costs £ 12.50 for adults, also includes the Royal Navy’s first Holland 1 submarine and the only surviving WWII midget X24 submarine.

Visitors to the National Museum of the Royal Navy will be able to visit three new attractions with just one ticket: £ 28 (adults) and £ 21 (children). Visit www.nmrn.org.uk Where www.visitengland.co.uk.


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