THE country’s only Second World War-era submarine is due to open to the public as a £7m project comes to fruition.
HMS Alliance, based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, will be ‘patrol ready’ as she opens her hatches on April 3.
An invite-only ceremony will thank people in the community who helped her on the journey since work began in September 2011.
Chris Munns is the director of the museum, in Haslar Road, Gosport.
He said: ‘It’ll draw a line under all of that work.
‘It means the submarine will be open again to the public. We’re looking forward to it very much.
‘We want to make it clear that we’re very grateful to people in Gosport who have helped us get to this stage.
‘It’s really a community event for Gosport on April 3.’
During the time the submarine has been shut, people have helped in a variety of ways – from boosting publicity by making a courgette model of the submarine, to knitting a huge scarf for its conning tower. Those quirky events have attracted huge publicity and funding for the A-Class submarine, launched in 1945 and commissioned into the navy two years later.
And dozens of volunteers have painstakingly repaired items from the submarine, from lockers to light fittings.
On the day there will be an outdoors theatrical production featuring a 15m model of Alliance, with school pupils making it come alive.
They will show off life on the submarine, imitating cooking, sleeping and, of course, using the periscope.
And there will be projections on to the model of real submariners telling their stories – along with fireworks.
Alliance will be kitted out with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems to fill the boat’s decks with the noise of clanking machinery and shouting submariners.
Mr Munns added: ‘We are very confident it is going to open spectacularly well and are very confident the people of Gosport will enjoy it.’
The ceremony will be over by 2pm and the submarine, which is also a memorial to 5,300 submariners who lost their lives, will open to the general public.
The museum itself remains open. For more, see submarine-museum.co.uk or call (023) 9251 0354.