Gosport submarine’s dead remembered 63 years after boat sank

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport
Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport
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Transplant - The St Mary's Hospital team undergoing pulse and blood pressure tests after a training session

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Last week was the anniversary of the Affray affair when the Gosport-based submarine HMS Affray disappeared off Alderney in the Channel Islands with the loss of 75 lives.

On the evening of April 16, 1951, Affray left these shores with a reduced crew of 50 instead of 61 along with trainee lieutenants and four Royal Marines, members of the Special Boat Service.

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport

They were on a simulated war mission. The SBS men were supposed to land and return from a Cornwall beach at night. None of the men on board was ever seen again.

Because of the number of wrecks in the English Channel, most from the Second World War, it took many months to find Affray.

Several reasons were put forward about her loss although none has ever been confirmed.

HMS Affray remains on the seabed with her entombed men and she is now an official war grave.

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport

Former submariners gathered at the memorial at Gosport to pay their respects last Tuesday.

The citation was read by Roy ‘Max’ Brand.

Meanwhile, in the third picture here we go back 101 years to 1913 and a parade of Portsmouth Territorials in Guildhall Square.

This is, of course, a very different view from the one you get from the Guildhall’s steps today.

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport

Former submariners and family members at the memorial service to HMS Affray at Gosport

Notice the trams in Greetham Street opposite and, of course, the Sussex Hotel.

How many of you miss this marvellous part of Portsmouth and the way it was? I know I do.

The final picture today is from the early 1970s and features men from the Territorial Army’s Wessex Regiment, many from the Portsmouth area and many based at Hilsea.

The picture comes from Andy August of Cowplain. He was in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary at the time and serving in both forces. He is in the back row left of the telegraph pole.