Ambitious plans to restore and conserve the iconic World War II era submarine HMS Alliance have been announced by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, in Gosport, where the vessel has been on display to the public since 1982.
With royal approval from patron HRH Prince William, the Saving HMS Alliance Appeal aims to raise the £6m in funds required for the Alliance Conservation Project, and was launched yesterday with a World War 2 flypast from the RN Historic Flight and a display of red flares that showed that HMS Alliance is in distress and needs urgent help.
The crew of the Navy’s newest submarine HMS Ambush mixed with Rear Admiral Submarines, Mark Anderson, as well as former Commanding Officers and crew of HMS Alliance and World War 2 veteran submariner Captain “Tubby” Crawford.
HRH Prince William, patron of the HMS Alliance Appeal said he found the Submarine Museum’s ambitious plans for the famous warship “truly heartening and inspiring”.
“The programme of conservation that the Appeal will enable assures HMS Alliance’s future, promising to bring the peerless story of Britain’s submariners, past and present, to fresh audiences over the years ahead. It will remind us all of the debt we owe to the brave men and women who serve in our submarines.”
The Alliance Conservation project is the First Sea Lord’s top naval heritage priority. Exposed to sea water over cradles by the Museum quayside, her outer structure has corroded so badly that parts are literally in danger of falling into the sea below, a rusting process that has proved hard to arrest due to difficulties of access.
The official memorial to the 5,300 men who fought and died in submarines, HMS Alliance is listed in the UK’s historic ship’s register, sitting alongside the Cutty Sark, the Mary Rose, and HMS Victory in the Core Collection list. The plan is to restore the deteriorating ship to her original state and in a form as close as possible to when she entered active service.
She was designed during the war for service in the Middle East and was launched in 1945, as victory was achieved. She then began a distinguished 28-year career until she retired as the centrepiece of the Submarine Museum.
Over £4.6 million in funds and pledges has already been achieved, including £3 million pledged by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A further £1.5 million is required for a new Alliance gallery.