THE first stage of a multi-million pound restoration project on the only surviving British Second World War-era submarine has been unveiled.
Visitors got to see the restored HMS Alliance at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.
After a 28-year operational career, decades of exposure to sea water and dampness had caused severe corrosion, which had left the submarine in a terrible state.
The Alliance Conservation Project set about an ambitious £7m conservation project, funded partly by a £3.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore her back to her former glory.
Chris Munns, museum director, said: ‘This is an exciting milestone in our conservation project. It is a major part of our maritime heritage and the memorial to the bravery and sacrifice of the 5,300 British submariners who have died in service.’
Terry Fearnley, 65, from Gosport served onboard Alliance from 1968 until 1971 as a stoker. He is now a guide at the museum.
He said: ‘I’m over the moon, I have watched the restoration project since they first started 18 months ago. Most of the hard work was underneath but she is looking beautiful.
‘It’s hard to put into words how I feel, I just have to look at her and all the memories come flooding back.’
Terry was joined by other Alliance veterans Bill Handyside, Mike Draper and Dennis Wade for the official unveiling.
This marks the completion of the second phase of the overall Alliance Conservation Project.
Bill Sainsbury, event manager at the museum said: ‘This is not the end, it is a milestone.
‘We are hoping it will be completed by next spring although we are having a break over the summer so that people can visit.
‘It is not the end, but it is really exciting.’
The submarine will be open for visitors throughout the summer holidays. For more information call (023) 9251 0354.