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Royal Navy Submarine Museum Review Essay

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Royal Navy Submarine Museum - Gosport, United Kingdom - History and Visitor Information

Royal Navy Submarine Museum Royal Navy Submarine Museum HISTORY

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is located a stone’s throw away from the busy historic Portsmouth docks. As home to HMS Alliance and four other submarines including the Royal Navy’s first submarine, Holland I, the museum takes an interactive approach to history; visitors can walk in and around the five submarines, experiencing for themselves what life on one of the vessels would have been like during their deployment.

Five submarines make up the museum’s collection: Holland I, the first submarine commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1901; HMS X24, which saw service during WWII; the German torpedo submarine Biber; and HMS Alliance, commissioned in 1947. Each submarine is paired with a gallery of information pertaining to its history, giving children and adults alike the chance to see the history they are reading about.

Visitors can partake in forty minute guided tours of HMS Alliance given by a submariner who will regale his audience with stories of life below the sea. Or you can wander by yourself as the children explore the newly opened ‘Horrible Science of Submarines’ exhibition.

The museum also contains an extensive collection of historic photographs and artefacts available for visitors to browse, including medals, equipment, art and personal effects of those who lived and served onboard the vessels and ones like them.

Throughout the year the museum hosts a variety of talks, presentations and readings by a variety of guests. Whichever time of year you choose to visit there is bound to be something for all the family.

Contributed by Isabelle Moore

Royal Navy Submarine Museum TOURIST INFORMATION DIRECTIONS TO Royal Navy Submarine Museum

Take the M27 to J11 and get onto the A27. Next turn left on to the A 32 (Gosport). Follow this road all the way down to the port district and turn left onto Haslar Road. By Train: By Train: The nearest station is Portsmouth Harbour, trains run from London Waterloo – a short ferry journey can then take you across to Gosport.From April to October the Portsmouth Harbour waterbus runs from Gunwharf Quays direct to the Submarine Museum.


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Royal Navy Submarine Museum

Royal Navy Submarine Museum

There will be limited entrance to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum attractions and galleries on 1st July between the hours of 1pm-3pm, this includes disruptions to the waterbus service, please check ahead before travelling .

Discover the story of the Royal Navy under the sea at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, which is the only submarine dedicated museum in Europe. Telling the story of the Royal Navy’s submarine service, visitors can go onboard the submarines and meet a real submariner to hear his stories about living beneath the waves.

Set on the site on the submarine service’s 20th century base on the Gosport side of Portsmouth Harbour, the museum is home to the Royal Navy’s very first submarine Holland 1 and the only surviving WW2 era submarines remaining in the UK, the mighty HMS Alliance and midget X24.

This family friendly museum has working periscopes, hands on interactive games, the “Horrible Science of Submarines” exhibition and a brand new family play centre Busy Boats Bay. Complete your visit with a frothy coffee and a sticky cake at the Harbour Stations coffee shop overlooking Portsmouth Harbour.

HMS Alliance is the centrepiece of the Museum and is the official memorial to the courageous men who fought in similar boats for the freedom we enjoy today. The submarine experience is brought to life by a guided tour enhanced by the first hand experiences of retired submariners, many of whom served in this class of boat.

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Haslar Jetty Road, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 2AS


The Royal Navy Submarine Museum

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum

08:54 GMT 06 Aug 2001, updated 08:54 GMT 06 Aug 2001

Anyone out there claustrophobic?' asks former torpedo officer Sid Day. It is a relevant question seeing as 20 of us are crammed into a small, dark, oily-smelling tin otherwise known as a submarine.

As it turns out, no one puts their hand up. But when Sid turns off the lights and starts playing tapes, we hear enemy depth charges exploding all around us.

That causes a definite ripple of panic through the ranks of us trippers. We have come to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, near Portsmouth, where the high point of any visit is a tour around a working submarine, in this case the HMS Alliance.

The sub is actually perched on a pedestal some 10ft above sea level, but once you've slammed the hatch door shut behind you, it is not hard to imagine you are 300ft below sea level, being hunted by a German destroyer in World War II.

It is especially the case when you start hearing - through loudspeakers - the sound of a sonar beacon homing in and the growl of the enemy warship's propellers.

Thankfully, at this point, the lights come back on and Sid regales us with some light-relief anecdotes. There were, for example, plenty of discomforts involved in a life under the waves. Bread went mouldy, soap (a special saltwater variety) would scour the skin, and as for personal hygiene, the only thing people took off when they went to bed were their shoes. You and your crewmates would wear the same clothes for weeks, with not even a change of underpants.

'When this klaxon went, you had no time to get dressed,' says Sid, pressing a red button and producing one of those urgent dive-dive-dive alarms you hear in war films.

Not easy, of course, when there are 65 of you on board, and most are sleeping in three-tier bunks along a narrow corridor. One can only guess what the crush must have been like in a life-or-death situation.

When we emerge into the sunlight - and back on to dry land - we agree that the best part of the tour was having a genuine former submariner conducting it.

This year is the centenary of the Royal Navy Submarine Service, and, while it is being marked by the unveiling of the first ever RN submarine (Holland I, restored after 80 years at the bottom of the sea), the museum's star attraction is still its guides.

For while Sid is spinning his yarns inside HMS Alliance, back in the museum proper, former sonar operator Dave Sullivan is holding forth on the subject of Jolly Rogers - the pirate flags traditionally flown by RN submarines to mark a successful mission. 'This one's more neatly sewn than some others,' says Dave, looking at the one belonging to World War II submarine HMS Ultor. He explains that nuns helped the crew with needlework.

And, as visitors ply Dave with more questions, Sid shows others how to abandon ship through the escape hatch. It's all priceless stuff - and yet access to this dark and fascinating world costs just £4.

Travel facts The Royal Navy Submarine Museum can be contacted on 023 9252 9217, or visit website

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Royal Navy Submarine Museum

Royal Navy Submarine Museum

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 .

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.
*German World War II midget submarine Biber .
*LR3 - a deep-sea survey and rescue submersible .

Historic and Modern Galleries

Entitled "From Pirate to Peacekeeper", these include:

*A huge collection of submarine s and torpedo es
*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 - Have a go at being a Submarine Captain

*A film show then..
*A guided-tour of Alliance by an ex- submariner
*you are then free to explore the rest of the site

Have you ever.
*been in a W.W.II submarine?
*Pictured yourself cramped in a tiny miniature submarine about to slip under an enemy ship?
*Thought about escaping from a submarine trapped many hundreds of feet below the surface of the sea?

The museum offers visitors the opportunity to climb aboard a real submarine, to discover true tales of heroism and to relive a life under the sea through the personal effects of the crews.

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum attempts to cater to adults and children.

Other nearby attractions

Other attractions in the Portsmouth Harbour area include:

* Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with its historic ships and the Royal Naval Museum
*other Museums, such as Gosport 's Explosion!
*The Gunwharf Quays shopping centre with over 70 designer outlets and 20 cosmopolitan bars & restaurants.

* X-craft
* Royal Naval Submarine Service

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010 .

Royal Navy Submarine

Royal Navy Submarine: 1945 to 1973 ('A' class - HMS Alliance) Owners' Workshop Manual

Author. Peter Goodwin
Publisher. Haynes
Year. 2011
Reviewer. Daryl Carpenter

I have a love-hate relationship with Haynes. The English publishing giant, well-known for its do-it-yourself automotive manuals which have left thousands of Americans trying to figure out where the car's their car's "bonnet" is, has taken a different tack over the last decade. Along with their "real" manuals, they've published a whole slew of faux "workshop manuals" on vehicles that are either fictional or close-to-impossible to actually own. These range from the Millennium Falcon. to the Tiger tank, Routemaster bus, Lancaster bomber, and Gemini spacecraft.

Gimmicky novelty book format aside, a lot of these books are actually quite good, sometimes exceptionally so. They manage to combine historical, technical, and operational details into an attractive package, and are often quite detailed and informative without being dry and overbearing. I currently own an embarrassingly large collection of these books, so when I found out early in 2014 they were going to be doing a "manual" on the Type VII U-boat, I was thrilled.

Imagine my disappointment when the book was actually published, and it contained very little of the in-depth technical details that makes this series so fascinating. There were almost no technical diagrams, and the book was riddled with goofy historical and technical errors. Jump forward to April, and Haynes publishes their "workshop manual" on the A-class submarine Alliance. the centerpiece of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the only surviving World War II British submarine. After the U-boat manual fiasco, I was awfully skeptical about any more naval titles from Haynes.

Here's the good news: Royal Navy Submarine is better, sometimes substantially so, than the U-boat manual, in pretty much every way. Peter Goodwin is a former Royal Navy submariner and acclaimed naval historian, and having written a Haynes manual on the HMS Victory in 2012, delivers the goods this time around. This book feels like a genuine apology to this submarine geek and Haynes fanboy. Although it contains brief sections covering the development of Britain's submarine fleet, Alliance 's operational history, and what it was like to live and work aboard, the bulk of this book is a straight-up technical reference.

Along with descriptions of many of the boat's major and minor systems and how they work, are procedures for carrying out evolutions such as diving the boat and firing torpedoes, and dozens of detailed color technical diagrams from the BR.1963 series technical manuals used by the crew. The overall level of detail is quite impressive, more than you'd probably expect from a "novelty book." A quick flip through this book reveals procedures for starting and running the high-pressure air compressor, diagrams of the air conditioning plant and distilled water system, exploded views of the propeller shaft and stern glands, a 17-step procedure for cleaning the centrifugal oil separator, specifications for the boat's guns, advice on periscope maintenance, and a breakdown of the crew complement in 1956.

Unlike the U-boat manual, this book is very carefully put together and geared more towards people interested in the "hows and whys" of what makes a submarine work. There's even an entire chapter of step-by-step operating procedures, a chapter on the boat's recent �7 million restoration, and numerous photographs of the restored interior. The detailed procedures, diagrams, and descriptions elevate this title and make it a fascinating reference for serious submarine buffs. I'm glad that Haynes is finally getting away from the fluffy novelty books that has marred this series in the past, and producing works that stand up to actual scrutiny. I've been really enjoying Haynes' output this year, their somewhat mediocre "manual" on the Chinook being the only real disappointment so far.

There are, unfortunately, a couple of minor hiccups. Haynes has been sacrificing the production quality of their books recently. This one has no endpapers, the pages are glued directly into the spine without any stitching, and the last page is glued directly onto the back cover. I'm not sure how much abuse it can actually handle. For a technical study of a submarine, there's precious little on the boat's radar, sonar, and radio systems - barely a page, in fact! Bizarrely, all of the centigrade-to-Fahrenheit conversions are out of wack. Finally, I noticed a couple examples of photographs and diagrams being repeated in different parts of the book.

A couple nagging flaws aside, THIS is the book I was hoping the U-boat manual was going to be. It's not certainly not a true "workshop manual," but it contains a lot of useful technical material in a refreshingly colorful and modern style. There aren't many detailed technical books on World War II submarines out there, but I can easily recommend this one, along with John Lambert's "Anatomy of the Ship" book.

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum review

by Sarahjh2

Last July the school my son goes to went away for a few days to the Isle Of Wight, they asked for parent volunteers to go along to help with the kids, I had nothing planned so I thought that it would make a nice break away for a few days.

Anyway to cut a long story short, the holiday break was really good fun and when we were on our way home the itinerary included a visit to The Royal Navy Submarine Museum. I selfishly thought that the kids would be pretty bored looking around old naval memorabilia and submarines. How wrong could I have been!

The school visit was pre-booked by the Head teacher, so it had all been paid for. The museum offers school and group discounts.

We had a tight schedule so we were whisked off by an ex Submariner who acted as a tour guide

for a tour of HMS Alliance, a decommissioned submarine that takes pride of place in the museum .

No one could believe their own eyes as we all filed into the inside of the submarine, many of the kids, including me! felt really nervous and claustrophobic. The accommodation space lies between the fore end and the front control room and though the tour guide was quick to tell us that the sub mariners got used to the cramped and overcrowded conditions it really made everyone think how on earth they managed, submerged for weeks and weeks on end in such confined conditions.

The Control room is awesome! even scary, hundreds of dials and buttons. The kids were just amazed with it all! Some of them would have been sat at the controls given half the chance!

While the submarine was on patrol water was always in short supply, so the.

      men on board washed the worst of the dirt off using a communal bucket of water and then had a more thorough wash in a basin. The kids were laughing when the tour guide told them that with very early submarines all the sewage was blown out to sea! but HMS Alliance had a sewage tank onboard which was blown periodically.

      HMS Alliance has eight- cylinder, four- stroke supercharged Vickers diesel engines, rated at 2,150 hp at 450 rpm.

      The kids that I thought would be bored were `all ears` taking in everything that the tour guide was telling them.

      He explained the `attack` strategy and explained how the periscope worked.

      Whilst touring the submarine you experience the atmosphere, smells and sounds have been cleverly recreated, you really get the vibes.

      The submarine tour took over an hour and was emotive and educational, a great lesson for the kids and
      a good story to tell their parents when they got home.

      We had very little time left, so the Head Teacher decided that a quick look at the museum would be most appropriate, information on many submarines, artifacts, photographs, the history of the submarine service and a full list of those who lost their lives while serving on submarines was all there to see. Very interestingly there is a Victoria Cross on display, the kids had never seen one before, so another new experience for them.

      The one thing that touched me were the collection of letters to `loved ones`, as the men headed out to sea they left the letters for family, girlfriends and wives in case they lost their lives at sea.

      Time had well and truly run out for us, there was a lot more that we could have spent time looking at and enjoying.

      You never know they might take another school trip to the Isle Of Wight next year!

  • The Royal Navy Submarine Museum - The Mexile

    The Royal Navy Submarine Museum

    Once upon a time I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I must have been 11 or 12. I liked dinosaurs, I liked digging holes in the ground and I liked puzzles. I also felt that having any sort of career with ‘ologist’ at the end could only be a good thing. There was also the sadist in me, looking forward to taunting people who couldn’t spell the word palaeontologist. I never did become a palaeontologist. It turned out that one needed to study for more years than I was prepared to do and that I only liked digging holes so deep. I’ve also discovered that some ologists, some as scientologists, are not such a great thing. And computers came along with their dastardly auto correct spelling feature dashed my hopes of faulting my friends spelling.

    I moved on to a new dream. I wanted to join the Royal Navy. It was more realistic, offered the chance to see the four corners of the world and is traditionally a very sound career choice for a 17 year old Brit. I sent off for my application pack, filled it out, stuffed it in the envelope and per chance went on a sea fishing trip before I got to post them. I was very sea sick. Not a little, but very. I didn’t feel right for two weeks and couldn’t fish on a canal without getting nauseous for two years. I didn’t step on another boat for about fifteen years, until a trip in Nicaragua. Most people get their sea legs after a few days or weeks. Some, like Charles Darwin, are simply ill for the full duration. Which boat would I be in? I didn’t want to find out. I never did join the Royal Navy.

    But I still have a fascination for the Royal Navy. I recently went to see the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Portsmouth. There are a lot of naval museums and ships in Portsmouth. I’d already seen HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. But not the Submarine museum, and seeing as they’ve just recently opened their all new, prize exhibit – well, it seemed worth the trip. The exhibit is HMS Alliance, the last remaining British submarine from World War Two.

    The museum is also home to Britain’s first ever submarine, a diminutive and rather rusted little undersea demon. You can venture inside both subs. HMS Alliance is an impressively complicated beast, with pipes, handles, dials and switches from floor to ceiling along its entire length. You’re welcomed aboard by a uniformed and suitably bearded old sailor who once called the boat home. It’s nice to have a short introduction and explanation of life aboard a boat by someone who actually served on it.

    Submarines are notoriously cramped creatures of the deep. It wasn’t quite as cramped as I had assumed. Sure, there were plenty of opportunities for me to whack my skull on metal, but I could stand up straight with a few inches to spare. But life as a submariner was never my cup of tea. In the end I switched allegiances to the RAF, and did actually manage to get in. Although that was not a long lived career choice either. I have plenty more photos on Flickr of the submarine and Portsmouth, of course. Just click here .

    If ever you have the chance to visit the Submarine Museum, you’ll need to catch a boat across the harbour. There is a free waterboat on offer to ticket holders, but you must have a ticket for the entire Historic Dockyard. A simple Submarine museum ticket will not do. The boat runs hourly and is often full. My suggestion, regardless as to whether or not you have the full ticket, would be to catch the Gosport Ferry that is near the train station. It isn’t free, but for £3.10 you get a return ticket on a more spacious vessel that runs every 7 and a half minutes at peak times, every 15 minutes off peak.

    My dreams of being a palaeontologist, Royal Navy seaman and RAF air traffic controller were never fully realised. I did fulfil one dream though, and lived abroad teaching English for a few years. Some dreams do come true. But reality is what it is. I never dreamt of a career selling home insurance to the over 50’s.

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    I always find it interesting to talk with people about what they wanted to be when they were in school — and what then happened. My first professional dream was to be a veterinarian to earn enough money to buy a circus. I abandoned that goal in high school when I decided to be a lawyer as a stepping- stone to becoming a politician. Instead, I ended up in the Air Force and eventually practicing corporate law. And leaving Oregon to live in Mexico? It was just one of those things that happened.

    I went to a circus when I was about 5. I got scared by the clowns. I never wanted anything to do with circus’ again.

    Working with giant, voracious reptilian predators with dagger like teeth was not scary. They were all dead.

    Interesting post amigo – I always wanted to somehow make music – and I did! Living the Dream – a good thing 😉

    I don’t think that there are very many people who grow up to be what they wanted to be. You’re a very lucky chap!!

    Interesting post! How about the returning to Mexico dream? I remember reading about that long ago and thought the move was imminent! In my early teens I was pretty keen to become a cricket pitch curator! that never eventuated, saludos

    The returning to Mexico dream….if it had all been entirely up to me, we’d be having this conversation in Mexico!!

    Armchair General MagazineRoyal Navy Submarine Museum

    The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is located next to what used to be the main base for British Submarines – HMS Dolphin.

    The museum sits just inside the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour. opposite Portsmouth itself. Portsmouth has been the main Naval base in the UK for the Royal Navy for centuries. The natural harbour provides superb protection and defence for the fleet.

    Although HMS Dolphin has since closed and the submarines are now based elsewhere, the museum maintains its links with the region and the strong Naval flavour of the area in general.

    As usual with these sorts of Museums, there are activities for children to undertake, as well as a small café if you fancy something to eat or drink.

    The following photos were taken using a Sony DSC-P12 Cyber-Shot digital camera at 5.0 Megapixels, although since reduced in size for this article.

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    You will find the following link of interest:

    RN Submarine Museum –


    Occupying a relatively small and irregularly shaped area of what used to be a large Naval base, the museum is not laid out in a particularly logical fashion, with the exception of the historical displays in one of the halls. However, you tend to overlook this point when inspecting the actual exhibits, since they are so interesting.

    It took a long time for the Royal Navy to come to terms with Submarine warfare. the use of Submarines used to be regarded as "dirty" and "unfair" by senior RN commanders, however once they got used to the idea and accepted Submarines as part of the Fleet, they embraced the concept whole-heartedly.

    As a result of this, there is a strong tradition and history associated with RN Submarines and this is evident as you walk around the site.

    This is the second time I have been to this museum, and it’s changed a bit since my first visit. The facilities have been improved, and some of the exhibits have been renovated. This is clearly an ongoing process and I understand that they have some exciting projects in hand. including the renovation of a British X-Class Midget Submarine.


    Before my visit today, I was unaware that, apparently, Alexander the Great once descended to the "bottom of the sea" in a glass bottle.

    However, I think it’s generally accepted that the true era of the submarine began much later.

    This is a picture of a full-sized replica of the "Turtle". an American man-powered submersible that was used against British ships in the Revolutionary War. Designed by David Bushnell, it had a drill attached to the top, which would be used to plant explosives in the bottom of enemy warships. Sneaky eh?

    Since this is a Royal Navy museum however, we won’t dwell on the "Turtle" too much, we’ll move straight on to the very first British Submarine to enter service. the Holland 1.

    The Holland 1 was designed by Irish-American, John Philip Holland, who had originally envisaged the design as a vessel intended for use AGAINST Britain and the Royal Navy. Apparently he had no problem with selling the rights to the British themselves, and Holland 1 was launched in 1901. Here’s a picture looking towards the stern.

    The Holland 1 was petrol-powered with batteries below its single interior deck for travelling underwater. It had a riveted hull 7/16s of an inch thick. Here’s a shot of the propeller.

    Having been sold for scrap and foundered in 1913, she was found in 1981. She’s been restored beautifully and, despite the observation and access holes cut into the sides, she looks pretty much as she did when in service. This picture was taken from the stern looking forward.

    You can actually go inside this historic vessel. although it’s incredibly cramped, and this was without a full load. Here’s a picture looking forward. You can see the single torpedo tube.

    And here is a picture looking aft. I don’t think they had the plasma screen TV on board when she sailed though (!).

    Holland 1 now sits in a custom-designed hall paid for with money from the British National Lottery Heritage Fund.