Fishery vessel will mark the sinking of HMS Affray

HMS Queen Elizabeth as she started her second phase of sea trials last month. Photo: LPhot Kyle Heller

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HMS Mersey is due to pay its respect to the tragic loss of HMS Affray by attending a memorial service in Alderney.

It’s hoped the Portsmouth-based fishery protection vessel will be available to take part in a wreath laying to remember the 75 lives lost aboard the submarine on April 17, 1951.

The sinking is considered to be the worst British submarine accident since the Second World War.

But the cause of the sinking is still in dispute and has attracted worldwide attention.

Affray was on a routine training exercise when she went missing.

A fleet of about 24 search vessels from four nations searched for two months, eventually finding her on the bottom of the English Channel 17 miles from Alderney.

A memorial will be held to mark the 61st anniversary of the sinking on April 16.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy said it was hoped Mersey could take part in a wreath laying as a tribute to the men who lost their lives.

HMS Mersey is one of the three patrol vessels operated by the Royal Navy on behalf of the Marine Management Organisation to regulate fishing in UK waters.

The ships sail almost continuously in UK waters to uphold EU fishing laws and protect British fish stocks.