Royal Navy Submarine Museum
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport is a museum tracing the international history of submarine development from the age of Alexander the Great to the present day, and particularly the history of the Submarine Service from the tiny Holland 1 to the nuclear-powered Vanguard class submarine. It is sited here due to HMS Dolphin shore-establishment.
The museum's collection began life as the Submarine Branch Collection and opened in 1963, housed above St Ambrose Church in HMS Dolphin. It was difficult for the public to gain access due to security considerations and the fact that people were not aware the museum even existed. The museum was officially recognised by the Ministry of Defence in 1967, along with the Fleet Air Arm Museum and the Royal Marines Museum. The first full-time curator was appointed for the museum the following year. The museum was officially registered as a charity in 1970, and has seen many changes since then. In 1978 the museum was moved outside HMS Dolphin’s confines, allowing full public access. It was at this time that the Royal Navy’s Training and Static Display submarine, HMS/m Alliance was donated to the museum. £410,000 was raised to pay for the submarine to be lifted out of the water and put in place at the museum.
The complex that we now recognise as the Royal Navy Submarine Museum opened in August 1981 with HMS/m Alliance as the principal exhibit. Over the years since, more submarines and submarine memorabilia have been added to the collection. In 1983 the museum gained a new display building and members of the public were allowed into HMS Alliance. In 2001 the museum opened a climate controlled building that houses Holland 1. Visitors to the museum today can take a tour of HMS/m Alliance with a submariner guide, explore the interactive science gallery, step on board the Royal Navy’s first submarine Holland I (built in 1901), wander around the museum exhibits or just stop for coffee and cake at the Harbour Stations Coffee Shop.
Submarines and other submersibles
These submarines may be viewed on site
- HMS Alliance, a full-sized hunter-killer post-war submarine now raised out of the water on stilts
- Holland 1 – the Royal Navy's first submarine
- X24 – the only X-craft to see service in World War II and survive.
- Biber (No.105) – German World War II midget submarine. It was restored to working condition by apprentices from Fleet Support Limited in 2003 under the guidance of Ian Clark. The restoration featured on Channel 4’s salvage squad.
- LR3 – a deep-sea survey and rescue submersible.
- Maiale – An Italian human torpedo
- JIM suit – atmospheric diving suit
- Cutlet – an early ROV
- Turtle – a replica of the first submarine ever used in combat
Historic and Modern Galleries
Entitled From Pirate to Peacekeeper, these include:
- A huge collection of submarines and torpedoes
- the periscopes of HMS Conqueror of Falklands War fame through which one can see Portsmouth Harbour
- Remembrance Corner which commemorates those who devoted their lives to the Submarine Service
- Submariners' medals, including the Victoria Cross of Edward Courtney Boyle
- Children's activities
- Control Room trainer - Submarine command simulation
- Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with its historic ships and the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth
- Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower
- Royal Naval Submarine Service
- Submarine Force Library and Museum (United States)
- Naval Undersea Museum (United States)
- Whitman, Edward C (2003). "Royal Navy Submarine Museum Preserving a Notable Collection of Artifacts and War Stories". Undersea Warfare. U.S. Government Printing Office (19). Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- Tait, Simon (1989). Palaces of Discovery The Changing World of Britain's Museums. Quiller Press. pp. 130–132. ISBN 1870948009.
- "Submarine Sandwich Course for Portsmouth Apprentices". maritime journal. Mercator Media Ltd. 1 Dec 2003. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
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