VC awarded to first hero of the submarine service

HMS Shark, right, tied up at HMS Dolphin

HMS Shark, right, tied up at HMS Dolphin

A magnificent photograph looking south over Portsbridge with the Hilsea arches in the background. 		                   Picture: Barry Cox Collection

Where there’s a wheel there’s a way – straight down Portsmouth tramlines

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HMS Dolphin at Gosport was the home of the Royal Navy Submarine Service from 1904 until 1999 and the location of the Royal Navy Submarine School.

The picture, taken about 1938, the submarine next to the jetty is HMS Shark which was bombed and sunk off Norway in July 1940.

Norman Holbrook, born in Southsea in 1888 and educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, the submariner assumed his first command of the petrol-driven boat A13 based at Dolphin in 1913.

When war broke out he was commanding B11 which was built in 1906 and considered obsolete.

On December 13, 1914, B11 dived under five rows of mines in the Dardenelles and successfully torpedoed the Turkish ship Mesudiye.

Treacherous currents and enemy torpedoes and gunfire did not prevent Holbrook from bringing his boat and men safely back to the Mediterranean.

B11 surfaced after being submerged for an incredible nine hours.

Lt Holbrook was a local and national hero and was the first submariner to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

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