Commander calls on public to back the fight to save historic sub

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People of Gosport were today urged to help preserve a vital piece of British history.

The rallying cry came from the former commanding officer of Second World War era submarine HMS Alliance.

The HMS Alliance Appeal, a restoration project which is aiming to raise almost 3m, will be launched today at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

Commander Rob Forsyth, who was the commanding officer of HMS Alliance from January 1970 to August 1971, called on the people of Gosport to get behind the fight to save his old submarine. He said it would honour the dead and help boost tourism.

The 71-year-old said: 'It is a vital part of our heritage.

'It is a monument to the 5,300 submariners who died in service to our country.

'Because she was built during the Second World War she is a permanent reminder of the debt we owe them.

'She is also a great example of what submarines were like during that era.

'Although she does need restoring she is in good condition and is very accessible.'

HMS Alliance is corroding so badly that the people responsible for her upkeep fear she will fall apart if nothing is done about it.

Restoration work will cost around 6m. Over 4.6m has already been raised in funds and pledges so another 1.4m is required for the restoration.

The HMS Alliance Appeal also aims to raise 1.5m on top of that to pay for a new gallery for the submarine.

Cdr Forsyth added: 'It is an important part of Gosport's heritage and brings people to the area, who will then stay and look at other parts of Gosport. If local schools and businesses could get involved and help to raise funds it will be good for Gosport as a whole.' The preservation work will have three main areas.

'They will be the repair or replacement of rusted component parts, the restoration to her pristine exterior condition and facilities for a future maintenance regime.

To provide access for low cost maintenance, land beneath the submarine must be reclaimed.

A new, dry hard standing will allow access to the whole vessel for routine exterior maintenance and also give visitors the opportunity to view the underside of the hull. Alliance was designed during the Second World War for service in the Middle East. She was launched in 1945 and had a 28-year career until she retired as the centrepiece of the submarine museum.

To find out how you can help, contact the HMS Alliance Appeal office on 02392 510354 or go to submarine-museum.co.uk

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